Competitions season is in full swing and perhaps your weekends look a little like this:
This schedule is exhausting for both body and mind, which is why it is important to take care of yourself during this hectic time of year. Read on for tips on how to keep your body performing in peak mode and your mind clear of clutter.
As dancers, our bodies are our instruments. In order to perform our best, we have to take care of our instrument. Just like a guitarist tunes their guitar, dancer too must keep their body in tune. That means giving it the right nourishment to perform at its peak. Try to limit processed sugars and simple carbohydrates during competition season. Give your body the fuel it needs with a healthy mix of proteins, natural fats, and complex carbohydrates. Eating right as an athlete is all about balance—nourish yourself with whole foods while treating yourself. And of course, remember to hydrate with water, not sodas or sugary bottled drinks.
Sleep is underemphasized as a healthy part of our daily routine. We often think we can sacrifice sleep in times of stress and work, but the opposite is true. In order for your body’s cells to rebuild and get stronger, you need time to rest and regenerate. Make sure you’re getting around 8 hours of sleep. Try to limit your screen time as you near bedtime as it will help you snooze more soundly. If you need help remembering when to get off your phone and head to bed, set a recurring reminder.
Warm up slowly
Amidst the excitement of the competition atmosphere, it is easy to get distracted. However, it is crucial you take the time to warm up properly before you get onstage to perform. Start with light cardio to get your blood flowing. Then ease into stretching once your muscles are warm. Over-stretching your muscles when they are cold can lead to muscle tears and injury.
Anxiety, stress, and nervousness are all symptoms of a busy competition season. In order to stay sane practice some mild meditation by closing your eyes and focusing on your breath. Count your inhales and exhales, or put your headphones in and breathe to the rhythm of a slow, instrumental song. Take a deep breath and have fun!
Sometimes competition season can get overwhelming with late-night rehearsals and weekends jam-packed with dance, Dance, DANCE! Take time to do something other than dance. Go see a movie with friends, get your sketchpad out and draw, or take a yoga class. Taking time away from your Art can often give you a new perspective, motivation, and inspiration.
Get a massage
Treat your body with an athletic massage on your next day off. Massage therapy dilates your blood vessels and rushes fresh nutrients to your muscle tissue for repair. A relaxing massage will help your muscles bounce back from soreness, and keep you limber throughout competition season.
Have a Dance party
I know you might be eyeing that Gold, Platinum, or 5-star rating, but remember that numbers and scores aren’t everything. Remind yourself why you got into dance, and get back in touch with the simple joy of moving to music. Close your door, turn on some tunes, and just dance. You’ll be amazed at how freeing and fun dance can be when you’re not waiting for the judges’ score.
Kelsey is a classically trained dancer and Actor’s Equity performer. She has performed for companies such as Central Florida Ballet, Tokyo Disney, Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and at sea with leading luxury cruise lines. A dancer by day and a writer by night, when Kelsey is not performing she shares her love of dance, travel, and finding a good cup of coffee on her blog Wend Away Travels. Find her full performance bio and show gallery at www.kelseyannglennon.com.
Kick up your heels and let's dance!
Broadway Dance Dreams