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5 Secrets to Dancing Forever

Remember that 80-year old woman who blew Simon Cowell away on America’s Got Talent? Simon had just hit the red buzzer in disappointment, when suddenly she broke out into incredible lifts, spins, and even splits! She received a standing ovation, and the golden buzzer to-boot.

Men and women like this seem practically immortal, an inspiration to those who assume they won’t be dancing by their senior years. And yet, these individuals weren’t born with any magical dance gene or drink patented longevity serum. They simply learned the secrets to dancing sustainably – and you can too.

1. Stretch before every class.

I don’t care what kind of dance you do; if it works muscles, those muscles will get tight over time. And tight muscles are only one step away from torn muscles. Focus on the ones you use the most, but get in a full-body stretch once and a while.

2. Pay attention to what hurts.

There’s the pain that comes from sore muscles, and the pain that comes from muscles that are being pushed too hard and too far. Get familiar with the difference, and if it’s the latter, stop what you’re doing and leave it until you’ve had a chance to rest.

3. Pace yourself.

As I’ve said before, even dancers need to rest sometimes. Doing so allows the body to heal any minor damage it’s picked up from practice, before it turns into major damage. Don’t try and add too much at once, but listen when your body tells you it’s exhausted.

4. Dance respectfully.

I don’t mean be respectful to others (although that’s important too) but to yourself. Most dance styles move in a way that is structurally sound, without straining your body. In your lesson, ask about the moves that test your body the most, so you can do them safely.

5. Get a personal trainer.

Maybe you try all of the above, and you still have aches and pains. Fortunately, sports trainers, physiotherapists, and osteopaths all have experience identifying where something is out of balance, and what to do about it. Find a trainer who takes a multi-disciplinary approach, and gets to know your issue without jumping to conclusions.


About the Author

Ian Crewe has been dancing ballroom for over 18 years, and has a Licentiate in American smooth and rhythm. His passion for dance eventually led him to blogging and the World Wide Web. Ian currently teaches at the Joy of Dance Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada.

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