As a young dancer, I loved training during the summer. Without the responsibilities of school work I had more time to study what I adored, ballet. I loved attending summer intensives and adding extra classes to my normal dance schedule when camps were not in session.
With that being said, I also learned there are precautions dancers need to take while doing this extra training in the heat and humidity. Here are a couple of tips to help you keep your body safe and healthy this summer.
1) Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water. You don’t need anything fancy (Gatorade, Vitamin water, or coconut water) to keep your body hydrated. A water bottle should be one of your dance bags “must have” items. Be sure to drink water before and after training as well as taking small sips throughout your class. You will feel better and your body will be able to dance at it’s best.
2) Always do a proper warmup. You may feel hot in the heat and think your body is ready to dance without warming up. This is a very dangerous mistake. Your muscles are NOT warm and they most definitely are NOT stretched. You can easily pull, or tear, a muscle and then have to take time off for rest, defeating your goal of maximizing your dance training during the summer.
3) Air out your dance shoes. Any dancer knows how sweaty and stinky dance shoes can get. Stuffing moist shoes in a dark and poorly ventilated dance bag makes a perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Most dance bags come with an outer mesh pocket to help dance shoes air out. You can even tie your shoes to the outside of your dance bag for extra ventilation. And ballerinas, this includes all your toe pads and toe pad accessories.
4) Rest. No matter how much you will want to pack in extra classes, you have to listen to your body. Your muscles need time to recover from dancing and I also think it is good for your mind to spend some time outside the studio. Let yourself have one day a week for your mind, muscles, and blisters to recover.
Your body is your instrument so take care of it and treat it well. So this summer, train hard, but more importantly train smart!