Dancing is one of those pastimes that takes a physical toll over time. For those who are serious about dancing, one can expect to experience at least one – if not a half dozen or so – injuries of various sorts throughout one’s dance career. And, let’s face it, knees, hips, shoulders, and feet suffer considerable wear and tear through the rigours of dancing—even more so for regulars at Sidewalk Salsa!
Just this week, for instance, I heard of a friend who has done some serious damage to her knee that will keep her dance career on hold for quite a while. Another friend was off for a year while rehabilitating a knee. And, for several months, I had to practice my one-handed leading with yet another friend who had injured a shoulder and couldn’t be led with her right arm.
Avoiding injury is one thing. But even for (shall we say) more youthful dancers whose bodies have a degree of resiliency that those of us who are more “chronologically experienced” no longer share, developing strength and flexibility in muscles, tendons, and ligaments helps to make you a better dancer. Core strength is critical for turn control. Lower body strength – especially including calves, ankles, and feet – are crucial for stability and responsiveness. Upper body musculature, which is of particular importance in followers, ensures safety in intricate turn patterns.
Let’s face it: dancing is strenuous. The more fit you are and the better care you take of your body, the better and safer dancer you will be. And perhaps most important, “pain is your body’s way of telling you something’s wrong.” When you feel pain and it relates to a part of your body that’s important to dancing, stop dancing and get it checked out. Otherwise, we may never again have the pleasure to…
See you on the dance floor.