How to complete an effective dance warm-up
A warm-up should be more than plies… A warm-up should prepare the dancer both mentally and physically for the class or performance to come. What’s more, research has shown that failure to include a proper warm-up can be a specific cause of injury in the dance population.
While the specifics of your warm-up might vary depending on your age, ability, style of dance, and whether it is in preparation for a class or performance, there are some common elements to a good warm-up.
You should start by including a section of continuous, whole body movements such as jogging. This should last 5-10 mins and be of low- moderate intensity. Your aim is to gradually increase heart rate, circulation and body temperature.
In the next part of your warm-up, you should work through more specific movements that gently mobilise the areas of the body about to be used… Upper limbs, lower limbs, spine, and don’t forget the feet! But remember that this is different to stretching, so movements shouldn’t be held or go to end of range. Research actually shows that static stretching before a sporting event can have negative effects and does not help prevent injury. Whilst this can also be true for dancers, we need to prepare our bodies for often fairly extreme ranges of motion, so include dynamic stretching (think leg swings), once you’re nice and warm.
A warm-up is just as important for the mind as it is the body. Maybe use this time to go over any specific corrections or sections of choreography so you can execute them safely and to the best of your ability. Leave your phone alone and get yourself in the zone!
If you’d like to find out more about dancer appropriate warm-ups or have any niggling injuries you need help with, call Emma Horning on 02 9968 3424 or email Emma
Emma Horning BExSc M. Phty ARAD RTS
Registered Royal Academy of Dance Ballet Teacher & CBTS Mentor
Polestar Diploma Certified Pilates Instructor
Polestar Studio & Mat Mentor
Emma is a registered Royal Academy of Dance ballet teacher and CBTS mentor, who teaches children from 4 years and up. She is also a physiotherapist and Polestar Pilates instructor and mentor for their teaching training program.