Health & Body
Heavy backpacks and hilly campuses can wear on a college dancer's body. Photo via Thinkstock

College can be hard on the body. Between late-night rehearsals, carrying backpacks around hilly campuses and long, sedentary study sessions, it's tough for dancers to give their bodies the care they need to prevent injury.

Here are the most common reasons college students get injured—and our top tips for prevention.

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Advice for Dancers
Allergies got you down? Allergy sufferers are twice as likely to be depressed as those who are allergy-free. Thinkstock.

I'm typically an upbeat person until my allergies kick in during the spring. Then I feel really down. What can I do to keep this from happening? An allergic reaction shouldn't affect my ability to enjoy dancing, should it?

—Katie, Princeton, NJ

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Career Advice
Erin Cairns Cella (right). PC Michelle Claire Gevint

In 2013, a few days before The Bang Group left for a tour to Italy, a dancer pulled out of the company's production of Nut/Cracked. The reason? A callback for another gig. "We were left high and dry. We somehow pulled it off, but it wasn't the show I hoped it would be," says David Parker, the company's choreographer and co-director. The debacle didn't just affect that tour—it ended a professional and personal relationship of 10 years.

The Bang Group, PC Ian Douglas

Dancers are often faced with tough decisions about when to tell choreographers or directors personal news about illness, injury, pregnancy or even schedule conflicts. Many dancers fear that being honest could lead to being let go, but withholding information could burn a bridge. Strike the right balance with these tips.

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Health & Body
Ashley Ellis, photo by Albert Ayzenberg, courtesy of Ashley Ellis

Every dancer has learned—probably the hard way—that healthy feet are the foundation of a productive and happy day in the studio. As dancers, our most important asset has to carry the weight (literally) of everything we do. So it's not surprising that most professional dancers have foot care down to an art.

Three dancers shared their foot-care products they can't live without.

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Health & Body
LINES dancer Courtney Henry. Photo by Quinn Wharton

We always figured that stretching made us more flexible by loosening up our muscles and joints. Some of us, ahem, might have even tried to fall asleep in our middle splits to get our stubbornly stiff inner thighs to let go.

But it turns out that might not actually be how stretching works.

A new review published in the Scandinavian Journal of Science & Medicine in Sports suggests that increased flexibility actually comes from your brain growing more used to the tension.

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Health & Body

Few things are most frustrating than arriving at your summer intensive full of excitement—only to get injured, stuck sitting out on the sidelines and missing out on the experience you signed up for.

To help you avoid this disappointment, we tapped Daniel Cuttica, D.O., an orthopedic foot and ankle surgeon with The Centers for Advanced Orthopaedics and consultant to The Washington Ballet, for expert advice on how to keep your body healthy, safe and injury-free this summer.

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