Dancing during the colder fall and winter seasons can be harder on your body than it is during the summer and spring– fatigue, sickness, and tiredness sets in. I am currently experiencing this difficulty: I have tech week this week and it is the first cold rush of the season!
Here are a few tips for dealing with the colder months in the studio and at the theater:
Focus before class. First of all, make sure you are wearing warm clothing– long pants, warm socks, sweaters, and lots of layers are a must. To prevent torn muscles and help keep your flexibility up, you have to be warm before you start barre. To help with this, you should be doing a few strengthening exercises for your abs and your feet and also doing some simple stretches.
Take preventative steps for your immune system. Certain teas and herbal supplements like echinacea are very helpful to prevent illness from sneaking up on you when you are really busy and not getting enough rest. Sometimes, especially during Nutcracker season, it can be impossible to get enough sleep with rehearsals and homework.
Take care of your muscles. Make sure you are using a foam roller along with a lacrosse and bouncy ball to really get into your muscles on a daily basis. Foam rolling your quads, hamstrings, IT bands, back, and hip flexors is vital to maintaining healthy, awake muscles and using your strength to its fullest potential.
To prevent injuries in your feet, ankles, and Achilles tendons, make sure you are doing an ice bath for your feet every night that you are dancing in pointe shoes for over 2 hours straight. This is super important in preventing overuse injuries and letting your technique fully function.
Fix sore, tight, fatigued muscles before they develop into overuse injuries. Take epsom salt baths 3 or more times a week, and make sure you are foam rolling and stretching consistently. I can’t stress this enough! In the colder months, get ahead in your conditioning and other therapies, because this is when injuries happen the most.
Focus on your overall health, too. Drink enough water to help prevent against sickness, make sure you are eating well, as always, and get enough sleep. Though they may seem like small, repetitive, useless tips– they will make the biggest difference in your performance.