Cramps can be debilitating, and seem to come on when you're least expecting them. Common knowledge attributes cramps to hydration levels, so many dancers carefully consider how much to drink and eat before moving. I've of heard other measures that haven't worked in my experience, from drinking pickle juice to vigorously rubbing the cramped area. It turns out, none of these are quite right—cramps are caused by fatigued muscles.
Don't let muscle cramps sideline you.
A new series of studies on runners shows that cramps emerge if runners over-exert themselves at the beginning of their run. The key to avoiding cramps? Rest up, pace yourself and stretch thoroughly before and after dancing. If you are plagued by cramps, The New York Times even suggests keeping a cramp diary, where you record what you were doing when the cramp came on, how much you were exerting yourself, how tired you were, etc. Look for patterns and try to avoid them so that you're not caught off guard mid-petite allegro!