The Benefits of Pilates for Dancers

by CRNPilates on November 4, 2011

This week, I’ve invited a guest blogger to provide a personal account of the great benefits of Pilates for dancers. Please welcome: Lou Conte scholarship dancer, Rachel Pike!

As a dancer, Pilates seems to be one of the most natural matches in terms of a cross-training tool. Instructors, choreographers and directors are consistently asking us to lengthen and stretch our muscles, not to mention strengthen them. Any form of strengthening that can be obtained through movement in a semi-rotated first position is appreciated as it is much less foreign than doing push-ups, mountain climbers, and reps. Thankfully, with Pilates, us dancer folks have found our most comfortable exercise match!

Pilates certainly does the trick for providing us a more toned aesthetic for beautifully clean lines. It allows for the development of the physical strength to wow the audience with your skills of how you hold that one-legged relevé, tour out of it, land flat on the floor, and jump back upright on one foot (or something like that). That being said, Pilates also increases versatility in general mobility and movement texture- the aspect that I personally have been pleasantly surprised to find to be most immediate and drastic as an effect of my Pilates cross-training.

Rachel striking a mid-air pose!

There are certain concepts any Pilates student will make sure to adhere by, such as maintaining a strong, yet not “grippingly tight” powerhouse, and engaging through the seat as opposed to clenching through the quads. As a former bunhead, these concepts have personally been a challenge to conquer. Learning to release gripping muscles while engaging a stable powerhouse and strong derriere in my Pilates lessons have carried over to my dance practices. Due to Pilates placement and movement fundamentals, I have found an ability to release tense muscles and better control how to hold my center for quick weight shifts. Exploring with texture with greater specificity and creating a better resistance without sacrificing stability has also been a great benefit of Pilates. Plus, I have to add that ending a long day of rehearsal with putting my feet in the cozy foot loops on the cadillac isn’t such a bad perk of Pilates cross-training, either!

Thanks, Rachel! To hear more about the benefits of Pilates for dancers, check out this article.

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