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Topical Pain Relievers Are the Next Item on Your Dancer Self-Care Supply List

With the stressors of the pandemic still lingering more than one year later, self-care is, rightfully, a priority for everyone right now. But dancers have always known the importance of keeping their bodies and minds as healthy as possible. After all, your body is your instrument, and as we make our long-awaited returns to the studio and stage, finding self-care strategies that work for you will be crucial to getting back up to speed—mentally and physically—with your rigorous performing and training schedule.

Dancers have a myriad of options to choose from when it comes to treating minor ailments like soreness, swelling and bruising. One that's quickly gaining popularity are topical pain relievers, which provide targeted, temporary relief of minor pain. These days, there's more than just your tried-and-true Tiger Balm on the shelves. From CBD lotions to warming gels and patches, finding the product that's right for you can be as difficult as finding the perfect Rockette-red shade of lipstick…but even more beneficial to your dance career.

Read on for our breakdown of some of the most common ingredients to look out for in the topical pain relief aisle.

Courtesy DM Archives

#TBT: Pearl Primus on Fighting Ignorance and Prejudice Through Dance

Born in Trinidad in 1919 and raised in New York City from a young age, Pearl Primus did not come to formal dance training until 1941, after earning an undergraduate degree in biology. She studied with New Dance Group, with which she made her professional performance debut in 1943.

Tony Turner, Courtesy Black Dance Stories

One Year After Its Launch, Black Dance Stories Remains Required Viewing

In Episode 1 of Black Dance Stories, a web series that launched on June 25, 2020, Stefanie Batten Bland talks about how she has no childcare. In another episode, Leslie Parker Zooms from the Twin Cities, where she is having solo rehearsals at a theater three blocks from the epicenter of the George Floyd protests. Nia Love starts her episode with an energetic dance that grounds her before she dives into sharing that she is recovering from a case of COVID-19 and is grieving the transition of family members.

Love emphatically states that dance is "the place where I name myself in a way that I can feel connected." This type of wisdom has become essential during more than a year of a global pandemic and racial reckoning, during which for the first time, maybe ever, people have truly been sitting with and observing their emotions and where they are located in their bodies.

Created in response to the sociopolitical events of 2020, but reflective of a foreknown reality for Black dance artists, this week the series celebrates its one-year anniversary of documenting voices that are often unheard, perspectives that are not often prioritized, and ways of telling that are often overlooked.


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