Dancing in a Winter Wonderland

"But baby it's cold outside..."

'Tis the first day of December. You know what that means: DANCERS BUNDLE UP!

During the chilly seasons, we must be even more aware of what our bodies are telling us. We need to take more time in warming up and preparing our bodies for intense movement.

So hear this:

1. Layer up! Keep those muscles nice and warm, comfy and cozy while you approach your warm ups. Cover those bare legs (or even legs with thin tights) until you feel warm enough to really move.

2. Tailor your warm up to the season! Meaning, don't jump straight to stretching. Get moving first. Get the blood flowing. Do some arm circles, twist your body to warm up your back, plies, running in place, deep breaths. Ease yourself into the more demanding warm ups. Add in some yoga (if that isn't in your normal warm up already). We want to prevent strains and sprains.

3. Huddle together! Remember, dancers are in this together. Share your winter secrets, your leg warmers or perhaps you can spare two cups of Epsom salt? The winter can be a long, harsh, bleak season. Some days... this makes wanting to get into a leotard difficult. Serve as each others' motivation and glee.

4. Stay hydrated! This is also important for dancers (it helps our muscles!) But it also keeps you feeling warm and toasty. Try Chai; it's a natural substitute for coffee that will help you focus. Also the caffeine in chai absorbs more slowly into the body (instead of the coffee shock), so your body feels more relaxed.

Also, now that it's the end of the year... it's time to pull out those dance journals and reflect:

1. Track and notice (and congratulate) yourself on progress!

2. Investigate where you feel your weaknesses are, and set some new goals.

 3. Be kind to your body. Let your body rest while still keeping up with your conditioning. Be thankful. Be appreciative of all of the hard work your body has done for you this year (treat tight muscles to a holiday massage!)

Lastly, remember you are lucky. You carry a warmth within you all year long: the gift and the talent of dance. Remember how far you have come and rekindle your belief in progress. Keep on keeping on. Stay warm, stay happy and no holiday grumps! You're a dancer. You're unstoppable.


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