Dance is great for your body and soul.

Dancers and dance students alike spend countless hours in the studio trying to master their steps and technique to bring us a perfect performance. Overuse injuries are the most common form of injuries in dance. They are preventable to a certain extend, but not completely inevitable. Which is the reason we are actively seeking out a preventative program which will address the common weak areas, asymmetries and overload injuries we often observe.  Working with the preteen and teenage dancers creates extra challenges in the way of growth spurts, hormones and emotions. Common threads can usually be identified as poor recruitment of muscles, muscle imbalances and poor alignment of especially the pelvis, hips, knees and feet. 

  • Standing with the pelvis tilted too far forward and the lower back too arched

  • Weak abdominals (hard to believe but sadly true!)

  • Tight as well as weak muscles in the spine, pelvis and hips leading to snapping hips, IT Band Syndrome, Patellar tendinitis

  • Incorrect turnout in the hips - snapping hips, psoas tendinitis

  • Weak foot and ankle - leading to rolling over on ankles whether on pointe or landing from a jump or overuse injuries such as stress fractures in the foot, sesamoiditis.

  • Poor static as well as dynamic alignment of hips, knees and feet especially in weight-bearing which affects centre work, turns and jumps.

  • Breath holding - often due to a rounded upper back posture (smart phone generation!), leading to a stiff ribcage and upper back - this often makes the dancer look stiff and awkward in their movements especially their port de bras epaulement and facial expressions.

How will Pilates benefit?

  • Improves mind body connection.

  • Corrects posture and alignment in static and dynamic positions allowing the dancer to move freely in an out of challenging dance moves. 

  • Improves coordination, balance, flexibility, strength, core control and trunk control.

  • Improves turnout.

  • Strengthens spine, hips and shoulder girdle.

  • Leaves you with a sense of lengthening and more energy.

  • Changes bad movement habits and tensions.

  • Teaches how to isolate as well as integrate abdominal work, upper body, lower body work into total body movement.

  • Dance specific - embodies artistry, quality of movement and flow

  • Avoids pull of gravity on the lower extremities when exercises are performed on their back or stomach or side, therefore ideal as an injury rehabilitation tool.

  • Can be used as part of dance screening - assessing muscle imbalances, weakness and asymmetries

Aside from classical and modified mat work we teach Pilates using small equipment with balls of various sizes, foam rollers, fit rings, rotary discs and resistance bands.  For more resistance work we use reformers, towers, chair, ladder barrel and small barrel. 

References:

 

Amorim, T. & Wyon, M. Pilates Technique for Improving Dancers’ Performance. IADMS Bulletin for Dancers and Teachers. 2014;5(2).

 

McMillan A, Proteau L, Lebe R: The effect of Pilates-based training on dancers’ dynamic posture. J Dance Med Sci. 1998;2(3):101-7.

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