Keeping Dancers Dancing - Part III

by Vrushabh Sikarwar (Elevatte Fitness)

Hello everyone! Happy Diwali and hope you had a wonderful week. This week, we will be looking at training for dancers. I would like to bring to your attention a critical concept called specificity. Remember adaptation from week 1? Specificity states that in order to adapt, we need to ensure that the stressor placed matches the area we want to improve. Like Bruce Lee said, “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Specificity is what makes us better at a specific skill or task. Why this is important is because, if you are a ballet dancer and you want to get better, hitting arms in the gym is not going to transfer at all to your skill as a ballet dancer. Yes, it may make you more aesthetic, but it won’t carry over to your skill as a dancer. You may think that this is obvious, but you might be quite surprised at the number of dancers who work on physical fitness skills that are the furthest away from their dancing demands. 

If you followed along last week, you may have a list of the demands for your particular dance form. Along with the assessment, what we also have is a starting point. The areas of weakness that require more work will form the major chunk of our programme, keeping in line with specificity. Other areas that we are relatively better at will form the base chunk of our programme in order to make sure we maintain those physical capabilities, if not improve upon them, because if you don’t use them you lose them. Physical fitness is like a sharp, pointy triangle with a solid base – general physical skill form the base and specific skill sharpen out the ends of the structure. 

Now a major misconception is that one form of fitness is the absolute best, with all camps voicing their benefits. However, since physical fitness is a culmination of different skills and capabilities, we can use the different forms of fitness available to us to improve different areas and keep pushing our physical feats. For example,

Yoga – great for Flexibility, mobility, and breathing but does not offer what 

Speed & Strength Training – offers in terms of speed, strength, power and muscular endurance which lacks what

Plyometric Training – provides us via force absorption and production, enabling us to jump, land, jump again, which does not fully address

Proprioception & Balance – the ability to hold centre, resist rotation, flexion, extension, spatial awareness & move efficiently through time and space.

Within your own fitness training, having an integrative approach using the different forms of fitness to reach your desired goals and make necessary adaptations specifically, is what will enable you to keep dancing. There is something to gain from all these various tools and resources available to us, and simply having the blinders on, widens your untapped physical potential. 

Before I move onto the next sections, let it be known that in fitness, everything is not black and white. Context is extremely crucial in determining the best route or programme to improve your physical capabilities. Time, resources, training periods, your likes and preferences all determine the most sensible training programme for you within your current environment. Next week, I will be providing you guys with a sample workout programme within a hypothetical setting. Until then, keep moving!

Editorial Desk

Editorial Desk