Photo by Nathan Sayers, modeled by Jane Anthony.

Why Are Dancers More Flexible on Some Days Than Others?

I've noticed that my flexibility, which is pretty good, varies throughout the company's season. Why does this happen, and what can I do about it?

—Jillian, Brooklyn, NY


Several factors affect flexibility. A busy dance season can lead to tighter muscles due to fatigue. In this case, restorative therapies like weekly massages, sufficient sleep and intermittent breaks during the day can help. Overstretching also causes stiffness by tearing muscle fibers. If you're less limber the day after some strenuous stretching, let your body recover by doing gentle stretches with a smaller range of motion. Finally, female hormones have a subtle effect on range of motion. Women often become more supple when estrogen peaks right before their period.

To stay flexible throughout the season, engage in a regular stretching routine: After you warm up and during your cool down, lengthen each muscle group for 20 seconds, while keeping the rest of your body stable. It's not about how hard you stretch but how often you do it that helps you stay limber.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

Latest Posts


Paul Matteson teaching at Lion's Jaw Performance & Dance Festival. Photo courtesy Matteson

These 5 Mistakes Are Holding You Back from Improving

There's a healthy dose of repetition in your dance education—whether it's those same fundamentals you're asked to practice over and over as you deepen your technique or the many run-throughs it takes to polish a piece of choreography. But teachers also see the same missteps and issue the same reminders from student to student, perhaps over decades in the studio.

We asked five master teachers to describe the things they wish they no longer had to correct—because if students could just remember to incorporate the feedback, they'd be on their way to becoming better dancers.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
Getty Images

How Can We Confront Implicit Bias? The Director of Jacob's Pillow Shares Her Ideas

At Jacob's Pillow's June gala, something happened that outraged me: A patron who identifies as black/biracial felt a white man seated behind her touch her tightly coiled hair. When she ignored him, he audibly complained that her hair would block his view of the stage. At dinner, the patron was further subjected to a series of objectifying questions. "What are you?" asked the white woman sitting next to her. Not "who are you," but a dehumanizing "what." "Who was black? Was it your mother or your father? What do your children look like?"

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
Jodi Melnick and Marc Happel presenting to Sara Mearns. Photo by Christopher Duggan

The Dance Magazine Awards Celebrate Everything We Love About Dance

What a night. The Dance Magazine Awards yesterday at the Ailey Citigroup Theater was jam-packed with love for dance.

From legendary icons to early-career choreographers we can't stop obsessing over, the Dance Magazine Awards, presented by the Dance Media Foundation, recognized a wide spectrum of our field.

And with more performances than ever before, the night was an incredible celebration of the dance community. As host Wendy Perron pointed out, in many ways, we doubled the usual fun this year: Some honorees had two performances, some had two presenters, and David Gordon and Valda Setterfield were themselves, well, two awardees.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS
contest
Enter Our Video Contest