5 Tips for Getting Back into Dance After Summer

12418066_834598376649866_8178964828093773914_nSeptember is almost here, and with it comes the shift from sunny care-free days to schedule and routine.  You might not be ready for “Back to School”, but you’re probably ready to head back to dance! The beginning of
a new dance year brings so much excitement: Seeing your dance friends after a few months apart, wondering what songs your teachers will choose for choreography, amping up to learn the latest “it” move.

However, after two months of vacation, heading back into the studio can come with a few challenges. Here are our Top 5 Tips for easing back in, and making sure that you start your dance year off right!

#1- Attend an End of Summer Intensive

Nothing helps you get back in shape faster than an intensive! Find a studio in your area that offers summer classes and get yourself moving. Our good friends over at M.E.M. Dance Co. are offering a Pre-Season Intensive the week before Labour Day! Check out their website for more information. http://www.memdanceco.com/

#2- Start Slow

Maybe you did a summer intensive or two. Maybe you watched a lot of Netflix. However you spent your summer, it’s important to remember that your body will need to re-adjust to dancing multiple hours a day.  It’s better to take it a bit slow than to jump in unprepared and end up with an injury.

Be extra aware during high-impact moves, like jumps. Landing complicated jumps when your ankles and knees aren’t yet ready will put you at risk for sprains, strains, tears, and even breaks

Your teachers know what you are capable of, so don’t feel like you have to impress them. Start small, and work your way up! Why not drop into a beginner class and refresh your basics?

#3-  Set Goals

Once you’re feeling back on track and ready to kick it up a notch, set a few dance goals for the year. Try setting a goal for flexibility, technique, and performance. Goals are a great way to measure your progress, and to challenge yourself. Tell a teacher or dance friend so they can help you keep on track.

#4- Stretch and Strengthen

StretchTake time every evening to do a few gentle stretches at home. Make it a part of your bedtime routine. You already know that it’s important to stretch when you’re warm, so do it after having a bath, or make sure to do a little cardio first!

Rebuild strength in your feet and ankles using a Theraband (they’re cheap & available at Sports Equipment stores, physio offices, & Walmart). Check out these exercises: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J6us2J8gFLc 

You can also strengthen your feet and toes with toe gymnastics: try picking up pencils with your toes, stand on a towel and “gather” it up with your toes, try to lift each of your toes off the floor one at a time. It’s harder than it sounds!

#5- Recover

It might not hit you right away, but you are going to experience some soreness after the first few days back in class.

Everything hurtsThe best way to ease the pain? Proper self care.

  • Invest in a foam roller. You will love it
  • Use balls to massage the muscles of your feet. My fave: Acuballs. But bouncy balls work, too!
  • Take a bath with epsom salts
  • Go to bed early
  • Eat nutritious meals and snacks, & make sure to drink plenty of water

My final tip for getting ready to dance again? Plan a Dance Movie Night with your dance besties.  My favourite (and cheesy) picks are “Center Stage,” “Save the Last Dance,” and of course the entire “Step Up” franchise.  Or try something inspirational, such as “First Position” or “Pina”.

Good luck, and have a great “Back to Dance” season!