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Dance Tips: Preparing For A Holiday Break


For a dancer, taking a break from routine classes can feel like the best/worst thing they can do. 

On one hand, a break is a time when a dancer’s body breathes a sigh of relief—a respite from straining and exerting itself. Time off allows the body the chance to catch up on rest and healing that it desperately needs.

On the other hand, the body of a dancer is a finely tuned instrument. Put a violin in a corner for a few weeks and when you pick it back up, it’s out of tune—same with the dancer. Although holiday breaks are great for rest, they often make a dancer’s life more difficult when they return to the classroom. 

It’s a commonly known thought that it takes twice the length of time you’ve been on break, to get your body back into its’ previous dance shape.

So how can you prepare your body and mind for this year’s holiday breaks? Take a deep breath and follow these simple guidelines:

1. Accept/Embrace The Break 

If you’re one of the many dancers who just don’t want to accept the fact that they need a break, let it go. Your body will thank you for it, and you might actually end up enjoying a little time off.

2. Set Realistic Workout Expectations For Yourself 

Although giving yourself class every single day for an hour might be tempting, understand that you have obligations that include being with family, friends, and celebrating the holidays. What you CAN do is stay limber. Stretch every morning and evening, and instead of your typical, time consuming ballet class workout, start with the plank pose in the morning to engage and awaken your body. At night, focus on abdominal/core exercises for ten minutes, or do jumping jacks for a quick cardio boost.

3. Enjoy The Holidays! Everything In Moderation 

Yes…it’s a reality that dancers are forced to look at themselves in the mirror day in and day out in a critical way, so the idea of holiday carbs weighing you down could be a scary thought. Let me remind you, it’s the holiday season, enjoy it! You can bake your Christmas cookies and eat them too! Life is short, and without going overboard, it’s ok to spurge every once in a while.

4. Mentally Prepare For The First Class Back 

Prepare your mind for what’s coming. Once you get back into class, your muscles might feel a little tight, your extension a bit strained, but relax, because it’s only going to feel that way for about a week. Know that it’s coming, accept the challenge head on, and be okay with it!

The bottom line is: breaks are awesome, returning from them is frustrating, but it’s all a part of dance life! No matter how sore or tight you feel returning from your holiday off, know that the rest was good for your body in the long run. So do yourself a favor and have a blast on your holiday break!

December 22nd 2015

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