By Kevin Sateri
So you may have a basic understanding that Pilates is good for you. But how else can it specifically assist you with your dancing goals?
Even though I found Pilates early enough in my dance career, I wish I had been introduced to it as a younger student when I first started taking dance classes. Choreography is given to us dancers in a class, audition, or on a job, and it is expected that we figure out how to do it exactly as it is, but also correctly with safe form and so we don’t flail or throw ourselves into the movement without knowing how to safely execute it. As dancers, we must know our bodies, and we must know what muscles to use to do any given move so that we don’t compensate with other parts of the body and hurt ourselves by causing an injury, or permanent damage that could end our career. A back or neck injury, problems with knees and shoulders, not being able to use our feet – all of these can affect not only our future in dance, but also our physical and mental comfort for the rest of our lives. It is always worth investing in ourselves, in our technique, and in our health (mind, body and soul).
Pilates helps with body alignment and form. It helps you understand the function of the muscles and what they are meant to do. When you have that understanding, you can minimize impact on your joints when landing from a jump, and be perfectly aligned and centered to stay more balanced on a turn.
Breath and flow are two other main components of Pilates. Using a deeper breath for more core involvement helps release tension where we often carry it (shoulders, anyone?), and brings more attention to where we need it in our dancing (the abdominals, glutes, etc).
Hopefully this provides some clarity to a form of exercise that has been around for a long time, and maybe inspire you to check out Pilates studios in your area that may help enhance your dance training.
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