Elite Dancers are benefiting from Pilates training.

12th December 2016

Elite Dancers are benefiting from Pilates training.
Over recent months America has been obsessed with Dance. Watching the likes of Laurie Hernandez and James Hinchcliffe glide around the dance floor has inspired millions of people to begin to dance. But how did they get so good so quickly? They did Pilates!

Have they inspired you to start dance? Or perhaps to take your dance to the next level for an upcoming show? Pilates will help! There are thousands of Pilates teachers all across the US, many of whom are ex-dancers who have experienced the benefits of Pilates first hand.

Joseph Pilates created eight principles that are still taught today, these principles can be directly linked to dancers practice, performance, training and recovery.

The Eight Principles of Pilates

Stamina – The fitness required for dance is very unique, this can make it very difficult to replicate. You could go to the gym, but weights don't replicate the flexibility of the dance. Some people might suggest you go running, but how often do you run on stage?

By going to Pilates classes you can improve your strength and endurance in a manner that replicates similar movements to dance. There are very few sports that can achieve this. Increased stamina will help you perform and train without fatigue.

Core Strength – Good posture is essential for anyone who wishes to become a good dancer. Pilates largely focuses on building strength in the core and back, this is where all arm movements come from. Core strength is essential in ensuring quality movement on the dance floor.

Concentration – A Pilates instructor will encourage their client to focus on each individual movement and block out everything around them to ensure that they don't injure themselves. This ability is also essential in dance, all movements must be precise.

Breathing – At the beginning of Dancing With The Stars you might have noticed that after the dances, all the celebrities were out of breath. However towards the end of the competition they were a lot more composed towards the end of the dance. Even for the athletes amongst them, dance is a completely different style of fitness. Pilates helps this by teaching dancers to breath into the back and ribs, as well as maximising the lower parts of the lungs so you can propel more energetic movement.

Body Awareness – An experienced Pilates practitioner can tell exactly how their body is moving without having to check in the mirror. As a dancer, if you can develop this skill you are more likely to adapt during a routine if you feel an imbalance in your posture. You will also be able to recognise if your body is showing early signs of carrying an injury and seek help earlier.

Precision – Pilates focuses on the smallest of things to ensure perfection when completing the exercises, this prevents injuries. Similarly in a dance routine, it's often the small things that let you down and reduce quality.

Relaxation – Pilates teaches you to relax and release tension. Nobody wants to see a dancer carry tension throughout their performance!

Flow– Pilates involves a series of exercises that all flow in to one another effortlessly, there should be no beginning and no end. Similarly, an excellent dance performance should be effortless.

Which Pilates classes are best for dancers?

Barre Pilates is the best class for someone who is looking to improve their dance performance. Barre fitness is inspired by Ballet, and incorporates a Ballet Barre in to the work out. Barre Pilates is designed to develop long lean muscles without any bulk, as well as to enhance flexibility and improve balance. This makes it the perfect work out to target those hard-to-find muscles in the core, arms and legs and sculpt a ballerina like body.

How can I find a Pilates class?

The best way to find a local Pilates class is to visit Pilates Near You. All you need to do is search using your location, and it will show you the Pilates teachers in your neighborhood.

Once you have searched using your location, you can refine the search to find local Barre Pilates classes.

Once you have found a local Pilates studio or instructor that suits you, you can send them a message through the contact button on their web profile with any questions you might have.

They can advice you on the best class for you to join, and you will begin to see the difference in as little as 5 sessions!