Keeping Warm at Competitions // Dance Physiotherapist Haydee Ferguson
Keeping Warm at Competitions
Now that winter has definitely set in, it’s important to remember to keep your body warm whilst at competitions!
Leotards, tights, and tutu’s are not the warmest of costumes and we all know that dancing cold is not the way to dance at your best. Often competitions are held at community halls, schools and small theatres where heating systems can be temperamental and large spaces hard to heat well. When your body is cold the blood vessels in your extremities (arms, legs, feet) constrict to keep your torso and vital organs warm. This is your body’s way of ensuring you stay alive if you were stuck out in the snow. However, it’s not so great if you want to get up on stage and dance. Our body also doesn’t like frequent changes in temperature such as going from a warm dressing room to a cold foyer or side stage.
When your body is cold, the messages to your arms and feet are slow down so you can’t move quickly and your coordination is impaired, the blood can’t get to your muscles to oxygenate them so they can work properly and your body tightens up reducing your flexibility and increasing the risk of injury.
When you have troupe routines, often your teacher will be around to help warm everyone up. However on days when you have solos or there are big gaps between your routines, you need to be responsible for your own warm up and making sure you are ready to dance.
So – here are some ideas to ensure that you keep warm and moving at your best at your next competition.
1. Make sure you keep your layers on! Keep jumpers, trackies, dressing gowns, socks and/or booties on over your costume until you are about to go on side stage. Leave them as close to the stage as you can so you can put them straight back on after you have danced.
2. Do a proper warm up. Including cardio such as jogging, skipping, star jumps, and some mobilisers and dynamic movements such as yoga sun salutes.
3. Keep moving between routines so your body stays warm and supple.
4. Pack a wheat bag or instant heat pads in your dance bag just in case you need some extra warmth.