It is no coincidence that most vocational dance and circus training programs include a LOT of Pilates within their conditioning classes, in fact you only have to watch the ‘New York City Ballet workout’ to see that 90% of their conditioning exercises are very similar to the Pilates exercises you know and love, (a brilliant at-home workout by the way – all on YouTube for free - you're welcome).
I really believe that all performers could benefit from adding a little Pilates to their training and so here are just a few of my reasons why ...
1. Core strength – A lot of people think of Pilates as being very abdominals focused, and while it’s true we focus a lot on developing core strength, we do it so that we can create a strong and stable foundation for movement, not so we can have an instagram worthy six pack. Building a strong centre supports the spine and helps to improve your core stability, and allows for greater control of your movement. The emphasis the exercises on good posture and alignment will help you to maintain good form and avoid injury.
2. Balanced bodies – It turns out that muscle overuse injuries account for about 75% of all reported dance injuries. It makes sense – when performing our movements are rarely symmetrical; we all have a favoured turning, balancing or leaping leg, but if we don’t mix it up a bit after a while our bodies can become a bit lopsided. This is where Pilates comes into it's own, the exercises train your body uniformly, which addresses muscle imbalances and helps to correct misalignments – good news!
3. Flowing movement – Performing the perfect Pilates exercise involves strength, precision and fluidity of movement. We use breathing techniques to control and facilitate the movements, enabling us to flow effortlessly through the exercises one after the other – the long term goal would be to perform several exercises one after the other in a continuous flowing routine. Take the principles you’ll learn from a Pilates class into your next dance class and you will definitely notice the difference.
4. Flexibility - What we focus on in Pilates is active flexibility, arguably the most functional way to increase your flexibility. We make a point of moving all the joints in the body through their full range of movement with the intention to strengthen and lengthen the muscles - it is not enough for your muscles to be able to reach their outer range (longest length) they should
be strong enough to reach that range actively and without fear of injury. As a performer it is likely you already have an increased level of flexibility, however, Pilates can teach you safe
techniques for increasing or maintaining flexibility whilst ensuring the stability of your joints is not compromised.
There are so many more but as these are the main principles that performers like to focus on when come to me for classes, it's a good place to start.
My Pilates for Performers class runs on a Tuesday afternoon at 5:30pm, if you would like to know more about that class or 1:1's feel free to get in touch with me!