Stretching is one of the most important parts of a dancer's daily routine and yet it is often overlooked and done incorrectly.
A large majority of dancers experience ankle, knee, back and hip injuries from not stretching properly. At DBT we offer a wide range of stretch classes which will not only teach your dancer how to stretch correctly, but the teachers will monitor their progress and will decide when to push and when to hold back. The dos and don’ts of stretching are dictated by the four different types of stretching.
Dynamic Stretching which is done during dance class prior to doing across the floor work. This style of stretching involves a stretch that is connected to a movement, for example, performing sets of releves, body rolls, sets of squats. These stretches are done after a brief warm-up that gets the juices flowing and the blood pumping.
During the beginning of class, there will be a great deal of passive stretching which is stretching with assistance, for example, the bar, the wall, or a partner. These stretches are codependent on your dancer’s initial reliance on an object for support. The stretches used for passive stretching consist of split wall stretches, releve and passe support from the bar and many more stretches.
Active Stretching will take place during the across the floor session as your dancer is relying purely on their muscles to lift and lengthen on their own. At this point, your dancer is all warmed up and performing exercises that rely on your dancer’s ability to balance themselves.
Static Stretching is the best way to cool your body down and help with soreness in the following mornings. These stretches consist of more basic stretches that are held for around 30 seconds. An example of static stretching would be reaching down to touch your toes and reaching as far as you can and holding that position. Another stretch would be to stretch your calf muscles, to put one foot in front of the other and lean back, pulling the front part of your foot off the floor in a heel stretch and holding this position.
As a dancer, you always want to try to stretch your tightest and toughest muscles first as this will make it easier to stretch your easier sides and will improve your balance as a dancer. The biggest rule is that you must stretch BOTH right and left sides. If you stretch both sides you have a better chance at being a more well-rounded dance. Not to mention working on both sides will make you more flexible in the long run as your body is completely balanced in ability.
The biggest final rule of stretching is to BREATHE. So many dancers hold their breath when they are stretching, and this actually tightens your muscles which is counterproductive to the whole act of stretching! So be sure to breathe and listen to your DBT dance teachers but most importantly listen to your body. Stretching should give mild discomfort but if it hurts so bad be sure to alert your teachers at DBT Studios and they will be sure to listen and provide a different more productive stretch for you.
If you are interested in becoming more flexible or need more than a brief warm-up before class check out the stretch classes we offer at DBT! Call us today at 872-242-8434.