Has anyone ever told you that going to the gym and cross-training can help improve your performance on stage? We asked JJSquad member, dancer and gym lover Zoë Watts why she thinks fitness matters for dancers. Check out Zoë’s reasons to hit up the gym below:
“Dance is such a big part of my life…actually it is my life! (along with a few other very important things like family and friends). Dance is artistic, athletic, creative and powerful.
Artist + Athlete = Dancer. I couldn’t agree with this equation more, which is why I am just as passionate about fitness as I am about dance.
GAIN AWARNESS OF YOUR BODY’S STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES. We need to be in dance class everyday to learn steps and improve our technique, but cross conditioning in other fitness areas like strength training or cardio can help improve our body’s abilities and overall wellness. Cross-training allows dancers to challenge themselves and set new goals that will not only get your body in better shape, but will improve your dance skills. When working and isolating specific muscles, you become more aware of my body’s strengths and weaknesses. By developing my own strengths and improving my weaknesses, my mental and physical performance as a dancer becomes better overall!
GET STRONGER. A dancer’s body is their facility. It is the engine that runs their machine, and therefore needs to operate at its very best in order to perform at its best. There are so many ways that fitness training contributes to the operation of a dancer’s body. Muscular strength gives dancers control while dancing. When a dancer’s body is strong and able to support the physical strain that dancing requires, injuries are prevented. As dancers, it is crucial to keep our bodies healthy and strong. I have recently experienced the frustration and challenge of dealing with an injury. I had to remind myself to keep focusing on keeping a healthy mind and body during the recovery process. Because I was already devoted to other forms of fitness and a healthy lifestyle, I have been able to remain physical in other ways. This way, I am able to stay in shape and stay mentally focused during recovery.
INCREASE STAMINA. The increased stamina that comes from doing cardio and extended fitness training will help build more stamina and power for dance performances. And of course, when you look good, you FEEL GOOD, which is great for any dancer’s mental health and self-esteem. You will feel proud of the body that you are dancing in and all of the work that it took to get there.
COMMIT TO A FIT & HEALTHY LIFESTYLE. I will always be focused and driven to improve my mental and physical strength in conjunction with setting dance career goals. I am beyond grateful that I have a body that enables me to do what I love and it is my responsibility to take care of it. A commitment to a fit and healthy lifestyle is a journey and a constant process that will make dancers mentally strong, physically strong and most importantly the best dancer they can be!”