You know what they say: practice makes perfect. But along with practicing your dance moves, you should train. Training is important for all athletes, not just dancers. When you train, you’re making sure your body is capable of executing at the highest level possible. If you don’t train hard enough, you’ll end up with weak, inflexible muscles and bad cardio, making it hard to dance the way you want to. Training should be looked at as a foundation that will upgrade the skill level of your moves. You can practice without training, and refine your movement through repetition, but you might make more progress by taking a step back and build upon your foundation of strength and mobility.
Cardio is the base upon which all elite athletes build their skills, and dancers are no different. Without a good cardiovascular foundation, you won’t be able to dance as long or as well. Even if you know the ins and outs of dance technique, your form and movement will begin to break down over time as you tire. Good cardio lets you execute at a high level for longer, so all of the hard work you put in to learn choreography and technique doesn’t go to waste. Some ways to train your cardiovascular ability is by running, biking, stair-climbing, etc. but these are all basic cardio workouts. If you want your cardio training to be more applicable to your dance, you can breakdown your dance moves and create a cardio routine out of them.
Flexibility is imperative to executing dance moves correctly. Many of the best dancers and choreographers have trained since a very young age, pushing their bodies to the limit to attain a high level of flexibility. Inflexible bodies lead to mistakes and injuries in dance, which can not only jeopardize your ability to execute dances correctly, but can also threaten your ability to dance altogether. By stretching just a little everyday you will begin to see how much it helps you dance and recover. Flexibility will allow you to make more impactful moves - instead of kicking at waist level, kicking above your head will have more of a dramatic effect.
Many people think of dancers as thin, which is true of some dancers, but not all. Regardless of your body type, you need to be strong if you want to dance. Dance is an activity that requires your muscles to support your entire body weight (sometimes in abnormal positions) while also being challenged cardiovascularly. Strength is imperative to executing these moves correctly, improving balance through motion, and helps to protect your body from injury. For most dances, core strength is the most important because that is the center of which all moves revolve around. Starting off with some basic core exercises (crunches, leg lifts, twists, planks, etc.) you will begin to see the stability that having even a baseline improvement in strength brings you.
Training and Technique Classes
For dancers, training is also important when it comes to the basics of dance, including technique. Many experienced choreographers have what they call training academies, where beginner dancers can go to perfect their trade. These types of classes are seen as a sort of incubator tank for dancers, allowing them a place they can learn and improve upon skills. Sometimes this type of fundamental training can be boring but it is a necessary step that all dope dancers have to take. Training in this way will build more confidence, improve the look of your moves, and ingrain the movement into your body so that it becomes more natural and refined.
Before you can begin to learn new dance moves and routines, you have to train. Training helps elevate your body to the level it needs to be to correctly execute dance moves and routines, preventing muscle soreness that can lead to injuries and exhaustion that can lead to poor execution. Like any other athlete, dancers need to train in order to continue getting better at dancing. Cross-training can include anything from weight lifting, running, and yoga, to other exercises you enjoy that raise your heart rate, build muscle, and improve flexibility. Additionally, as a dancer you need to make sure you’ve mastered the basics before you move on to more challenging and difficult movements and dances. An easy way to do this is to take technique classes, or to watch training and technique videos that focus on these basics. Without all of these types of training, becoming a good dancer is still possible but will take longer and you might never reach your full potential. Taking the time to revisit the basics is always a long term investment, dancing is always fun but being dope is even better!