It is extremely common for dancers to get injured during a performance. According to Stop Sports Injuries, most performance injuries stem from an improper preparation. Performance days can be hectic and cause dancers to lose track of time. But, you need to take the time that you need to take care of your body before you perform. Unfortunately, I was injured during a performance because I did not take the time to warm-up or stretch. I pulled my hamstring and could not dance for a few weeks.
After this on-stage injury, I began following these five instructions to help prevent another injury. Five ways to prevent an injury during a performance include:
1. Be Aware of Environmental Conditions
Arrive early to the performance venue and test out the floors and the temperature of the room. You can test the floor that you will be dancing on by walking on it, doing a few dance moves, and turning. If the floor is hard, you should be extra careful dancing. Pay extra attention to bending your knees when landing jumps. If the floor is slippery, you should wet the bottoms of your shoes that you are dancing in with soda or rosin to have more grip to the ground which will help prevent you from falling. Also, if the room is cold, you should spend extra time warming-up and stretching until you go on stage to keep your muscles warm.
2. Remember to Warm-up and Stretch
Dance Spirit states that warming-up and stretching before a performance is important to prevent injuries from having “cold” muscles. You cannot expect to perform an entire dance if your body is not warm. Imagine your muscles as frozen meat, how do you expect frozen meat to be pliable if you do not warm it up? This occurs with our bodies. Our muscles are considered “cold” and “stiff” prior to warming-up and stretching.
Warming-up and stretching go hand-in-hand. First, you should warm-up your body for at least 10 minutes by doing slow and light movements than increasing the intensity as your body gets warmer. Some ideas for warming-up include: jogging in place, sit-ups, push-ups, lunges, planks, and jumping-jacks. After you warm-up your body, you should stretch slowly and hold each position for at least 30 seconds.
3. Be Properly Nourished
Stay hydrated and eat a well-balanced diet days before and the day of a performance. You are more susceptible to injury if you are dehydrated or malnourished. You need to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, especially while sweating and doing high energy activity.
4. Be Well Rested
A dancer needs to be alert and pay attention to proper technique at all times to prevent injuries. Being well rested can help. WebMD states that lacking sleep can cause injuries because people tend to be distracted and less focused on their whereabouts.
5. Remember to Stick To The Routine
Please do not try anything for the first time while you are on stage. If you have never practiced or successfully done a stunt or dance move in the studio, how do you expect yourself to miraculously do it on stage? You should rehearse your dances in the studio the exact way you plan on performing it on stage.
Dance Teacher Magazine states that the most common dance injuries are ankle sprains, muscle spasms, neck strains, tendonitis, dislocations, and fractures. These injuries vary in severity and can occur during a performance if you do not take the time to properly prepare. Getting injured can be devastating for a dancer, but fortunately, there are ways to protect ourselves.
Have you ever been injured? Do you have another tip I can share? Leave me a comment and tell me your experience!