How to Recover as a Dancer or Acrobat
Updated: Jan 25, 2019
Dance classes, acrobatics training, rehearsals, and performances are all incredibly demanding and intense endeavors for even the most experienced of performers. They are certainly fun and engaging, but they can also become exhausting. Because of this, it is important to always take the proper recovery steps to ensure that every practice and performance can be its very best.
Here are some tips to help YOU recover better and faster:
Strive for a balanced diet. When it comes to nutrition, it is extremely important for performers to maintain a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. You can get carbohydrates from whole grain breads and pastas, cereal, fruits, and vegetables. Protein should come from lean meats, as well as beans, yogurt, and eggs. Healthy fats can be obtained from avocados, nuts, and some dairy products. Hydration is also crucial, and is perhaps one of the easiest ways to take better care of your body. Buy a big, reusable water bottle and keep it with you at all times. Challenge yourself to finish the whole thing in one day. Once you succeed, try to finish it twice in one day. Keep pushing yourself to maintain a healthy diet.
Take warm up and cool down seriously. When class starts, try to move around enough to allow both your muscles and your mind to wake up. Be intentional with your warm up, and strive to do exercises that will make you more aware and engaged. At the end of class, take time to stretch. Recovery is crucial, and other great ideas include using foam rollers, practicing yoga, or even investing in a massage! Many places have wonderful deals for holidays or for the start of school; take advantage of the savings!
Sleep! But give yourself downtime before bed. Although your body is probably more tired than ever, sometimes we still have trouble falling asleep at night. Perhaps you practiced too close to bed time, perhaps you still have adrenaline left from an awesome performance, or perhaps you are stressed about an upcoming rehearsal. In any case, sometimes sleep remains elusive just when you might need it the most. One of the easiest ways to fix this is to have a slight transition period between when you are engaged and active in the world and when your head hits the pillow. Have a quiet conversation, read a book, or just take it easy before you turn off the lights. Any sort of stress relieving activity will help you stay calm and fall asleep much faster. Also, do not eat during this time (I know, the carbs are calling!). Eating makes your body churn and work to digest the food just when you are trying to calm everything down.
Nourish Creativity. Being a performer often times means tapping into creative ideas. However, our creative ideas can run out. You are not born with an infinite supply of creativity, and sometimes you need inspiration. During downtime it is important to tap into that creative side again and keep the magic flowing, so that divng into the creative process during rehearsal becomes that much easier. Reading a book, watching a movie, painting, calling friends and family, or just being outside can all have a positive effect on your creativity, and can give you the inspiration needed to make it through the class or make it to opening night. You can take this concept one step further by talking to your colleagues or instructors and getting a bolt of inspiration. Asking them about their experiences and why they love their art form can either reinforce your love or allow you to experience a different perspective. Either way, you win. Your mental health during this time is just as important as your physical health, so make sure to nourish it!
These are all ways to take care of your body and mind for increased performance level. Of course, it should be noted that all of these tasks require a certain amount of ownership. As with everything in your career, you can make choices that will influence the quality of your training and performances. Take these suggestions to heart, and watch how your performing transforms!