How To Keep Your Body Healthy in Winter Weather
As the temperatures drop and sweater weather begins, most of us groan at the thought of chilly muscles and achy bones. Dancers know that a cold winter can make our bodies feel "off." Dance Magazine tapped Dr. Thomas Sanders, a board-certified foot and ankle specialist at The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics, to find out how to deal with the most common health issues dancers face in frigid temps.
According to Sanders, one of the biggest problems during the winter is decreased sunlight exposure, which can lead to a lack of necessary nutrients like vitamin D and calcium. This is especially true for those of us who live in northern climates. According to the National Institutes of Health, bone pain and muscle weakness can indicate inadequate vitamin D levels in adults, but such symptoms can be subtle and go undetected in the initial stages.
"Our bodies depend on vitamin D and calcium for bone health, so dancers and athletes can be at an increased risk of injuries, like stress fractures, as a result," says Sanders. He recommends taking both vitamin D and calcium supplements, specifically after daylight savings time starts. Ask your doctor what brand they recommend and never take more than the serving size listed on the bottle.
Intense Performance Schedule
Whether it's Nutcracker season, holiday galas or winter showcases, this time of year can leave dancers with packed schedules.
The most important thing you can do is listen to your body and give it time to rest. But keep up with your regular cross-training routine when you have the energy (and time). Sanders recommends low-intensity cardio, like the stationary bike. "When you get tired, your form breaks down and that's when injuries are more likely," he says. "Maintaining a regular fitness schedule allows you to stay in top shape and peaks endurance."
Be sure to keep your body, specifically your feet and ankles, warm and rested between performances. Cold skin leads to decreased blood flow in the exposed areas, which can lead to muscle strains and injuries, Sanders says.
To counteract this, he recommends spending more time than usual warming up and stretching before dancing, specifically the Achilles tendons, feet and calves. Practicing a low-intensity cardio warm up to start your day can also help.
While outside, always wear closed shoes and consider investing in waterproof winter boots and wool socks to keep your feet protected. Sanders also recommends wearing tights and compression socks, which will help direct blood flow to your feet and keep them warm.
Social media has made the dance world a lot smaller, giving users instant access to artists and companies around the world. For aspiring pros, platforms like Instagram can offer a tantalizing glimpse into the life of a working performer. But there's a fine line between taking advantage of what social media can offer and relying too heavily on it.
If you think becoming a trainee or apprentice is the only path to gaining experience in a dance company environment, think again.
The University of Arizona, located in the heart of Tucson, acclimates dancers to the pace and rigor of company life while offering all the academic opportunities of a globally-ranked university. If you're looking to get a head-start on your professional dance career—or to just have a college experience that balances company-level training and repertory with rigorous academics—the University of Arizona's undergraduate and graduate programs have myriad opportunites to offer:
Yes, we realize it's only August. But we can't help but to already be musing about all the incredible dance happenings of 2019.
We're getting ready for our annual Readers' Choice feature, and we want to hear from you about the shows you can't stop thinking about, the dance videos that blew your mind and the artists you discovered this year who everyone should know about.
On August 19, 1929, shockwaves were felt throughout the dance world as news spread that impresario Sergei Diaghilev had died. The founder of the Ballets Russes rewrote the course of ballet history as the company toured Europe and the U.S., championing collaborations with modernist composers, artists and designers such as Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso and Coco Chanel. The company launched the careers of its five principal choreographers: Michel Fokine, Vaslav Nijinsky, Léonide Massine, Bronislava Nijinska and George Balanchine.