SOME GREAT TIPS FOR DANCING AT HOME DURING SOCIAL ISOLATION
A guest post by Erika Mayall
We are so incredibly fortunate to have Erika Mayall as part of our Rhythm Tribe. Her incredible knowledge and passion for dance made her the perfect fit for our Rhythm Jewellery Blog Posts. If I am going to bring you content that hopefully helps you, I want to make sure that I am bringing you information from one of the top experts in that field. I can assure you that Erika isn't just another pretty face. As a registered physiotherapist with a huge interest in dance medicine and dance injury prevention she has a passion for working with performing artists in all disciplines. She has multiple degrees under her belt including a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology, a Diploma in Advanced Manual and Manipulative Physiotherapy and a Masters of Physical Therapy degree. She has been invited to speak about dance medicine both nationally and internationally....trust me... this girl really knows her stuff.
I hope you get some great value from her.
To say these are interesting times we are living in is probably the understatement of the century. I think it’s fair to say that there is no one in the world who hasn’t been impacted by the global COVID 19 pandemic. Despite the current challenges, the dance community has come together in amazing ways. Within days of public health orders calling for social distancing and urging people to stay home, there were dozens (if not hundreds) of phenomenal opportunities for dancers to continue training online. Seeing the dance community come together during this difficult time has been one of the bright spots throughout this whole situation.
I have loved watching all of you take classes from amazing teachers all over the world, but I have also become increasingly concerned about some ‘safety’ issues I’ve seen. The last thing anyone wants is to get injured while trying to stay in shape, and especially now when everyone who could help you with an injury is closed! (*side note – most providers, myself included, are offering virtual consults at this time).
Here are a few tips to keep you dancing healthy and injury free while you continue dancing at home.
1. Warm-up before dancing. At your own studio, you probably know whether your teacher is going to include a warm-up in class or whether they expect you to arrive at class already warm. With online classes and new teachers, you need to assume they are not going to include a warm-up and you need to ‘arrive’ to class already warm. Spend ~10min before the start of the class time doing some active movements incorporating multiple muscle groups and large ranges of motion to get your heart rate elevated and prepare you for class.
2. Make sure you have enough space. I know it’s a challenge when dancing at home, but try and make sure you have enough space so that you’re not going to run into anything or kick over your family’s heirloom lamp by accident. Moving furniture and other obstacles out of the way temporarily can help to free up some additional space. Or if the weather is nice, consider taking class outside if that gives you additional space.
3. Appropriate footwear for your flooring. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stop wearing pointe shoes on tile floors!!! I can’t emphasize this enough. This is a disaster waiting to happen and is VERY unsafe. If you don’t have a proper floor to dance on, consider adapting your footwear or the choreography as needed. The same goes for dancing on carpet. Don’t expect to be able to do triple pirouettes on carpet…
4. Dance at your own level. I know it is soooo tempting to take class from all your favourite professional dancers and ‘celebrity’ teachers, but please pay attention to the level. A lot of what I have seen offered is at an advanced or professional level. That’s not to say you can’t take these classes, but please make sure you’re adapting things as necessary to meet your own level of training. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have a teacher giving you corrections, so you need to be extra mindful of your technique during these classes.
5. Pace yourself. You’re bored. I know. I get it. And there are dozens of awesome classes every day to help you fight your boredom. But remember it’s important to pace yourself. Sudden ramping up of dance hours, whether in the studio or at home, is one of the most common causes of injury. So try and pick your ‘must take’ class(es) for the day, and leave the others for another day. And remember to take a rest day (or two) every week as well. This is likely to go on for a while…
I hope these tips will help you to stay healthy and happy while pursuing your passion from a socially appropriate distance.
In good health,
You can contact Erika for her services or book her to come speak at your studio or next event here:
Allegro Performance and Wellness Website