Make an active recovery plan for your time off from dance. Photo by Unsplash

An Expert-Approved Training Plan For Time Off From Dance

Have two or more months off from dance this summer?

With a little planning, your body can reap the full benefits of your layoff—and transition back into the studio with ease.


Weeks one and two:

Use the first couple of weeks off to recharge your body. Photo by Leio McLaren/Unsplash

Truly rest. Indulge in long baths, reconnect with friends and catch up on sleep. If you're craving activity, do some gentle exercise like restorative yoga, long walks or low-key cardio.

Week three:

Do cardio workouts like biking 2-3 times a week during the middle of your layoff. Photo by Viktor Kern/Unsplash

Start doing two to three weekly cardio workouts, like biking, swimming or using the elliptical. "You can take workout classes or play a sport, anything that incorporates whole body (both the upper and lower body) cardiovascular movements," says Jatin P. Ambegaonkar, PhD, associate professor in the Athletic Training Education Program at George Mason University.

Any strength training should focus on muscles that haven't been overused during the season, or areas of technique you know are quickest to fade. "If you're not naturally flexible, stretch," says Selina Shah, MD, who treats dancer in private practice in Walnut Creek, California. "If you have certain weaker muscles, incorporate strength work. If you have trouble with turns, focus on your core."

Week four:

Practice movements that resemble dance. Photo via wikimedia.org

Gradually increase your functional activity—movements that resemble dance, like yoga, Pilates and targeted strength training. Incorporate regular stretching to maintain flexibility.

Week five:

A couple dance classes a week is all you need. Photo by Jim Lafferty

Take at least one to two weekly dance classes. Prioritize functional activity over cardio workouts.

Two weeks before the new season:

Concentrate on the strength you'll need for the upcoming season. Photo by Jim Lafferty

Throw your energy back into class and other functional activity. "Do your homework about what's next," says Julie O'Connell, , a physical therapist at Athletico in Chicago. "Do I need strength for Swan Lake? Or do I need to work on my cardiovascular fitness?" This is the time to build your stamina and strength, so you can return to rehearsal ready for the season to come.

Latest Posts


Courtesy Ballet West

Celebrating 75 Years of Sugar Plum

America's oldest Nutcracker celebrates its milestone 75th anniversary this month.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
Alvin Ailey surrounded by the Company, 1978. Photography by Jack Mitchell, © Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation, Inc. andSmithsonian Institution, All rights reserved.

You Can Now View More Than 10,000 Photos From Jack Mitchell's Alvin Ailey Collection Online

From 1961 to 1994, legendary photographer Jack Mitchell captured thousands of moments with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Now, this treasure trove of dance history is available to the public for viewing via the online archives of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The collection includes both color and black-and-white images of Ailey's repertoire, as well as private photo sessions with company members and Ailey himself. Altogether, the archive tracks the career development of many beloved Ailey dancers, including Masazumi Chaya, Judith Jamison, Sylvia Waters, Donna Wood and Dudley Williams—and even a young Desmond Richardson. And there's no shortage of photos of iconic pieces like Blues Suite (Ailey's first piece of choreography), Cry and Revelations.

We couldn't resist sharing a few of our favorites below. Search the collection for more gems here.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Our Wish List for the Next Decade of Dance

There are lots of gift guides floating around the internet this time of year. But the end of the decade has us thinking about more than presents.

As much as the dance world has evolved over the past 10 years, there's still a lot of work to do. So we started pondering: If we could ask Santa for our wildest wishes, what would we want to him to bring us in the '20s?

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
contest
Enter Our Video Contest