As we approach September, it’s that time, where many dance schools and colleges open their studio doors to all of their valued students.

So what are some of the best practices you can do as a dance student returning to full time training at your vocational college, or incorporate into your usual weekly dance routine to help prepare yourself fully both mentally and physically for the year ahead; whether it’s performances or auditions?

Patrick Gill (3rd Year)

It’s really important after a long break from dance that you set yourself a ‘returning to dance’ plan to avoid injuries occurring at the start of the new term.

Any dancer that has been unfortunate to suffer an injury, no matter how small knows that injuries can really cause you distress and worry.

Hopefully during the Summer months you have found a good balance between ‘resting’ and ‘moving’ and are now feeling motivated to return to classes.

So, what can you do in the weeks before the new term starts?

1) It’s really important that you keep yourself hydrated and eat healthy, always start your day with a good breakfast.

2) Get plenty of sleep, yes! It is now time to get back into the routine of early nights to help the body and mind get back into a good routine.  Begin also setting the alarm clock again to wake early each day.

3) Plan your day ahead, and re-introduce some form of gentle exercise, like; swimming, yoga, pilates, walking, your own gentle stretches and or a gentle ballet barre. Check out Science in Dance for exercise details and information.

4) Over the course of a week begin to increase the intensity of your daily exercise regime, adding perhaps higher legs at the barre and some centre work with possibly some petit allegro and more challenging stretches.

5) Always listen to how your body feels and reacts, as you introduce more and more physical levels to your daily routine. Always give your body rest days.

If you begin to feel tired or experience uncomfortable muscle soreness one day then just allow your self to rest up, maybe read a book instead!

6) When you have regained your strength and your body is responding well to the exercises you have re-introduced in the previous weeks, then increase the level of the jumps you do and begin to up the duration and the intensity of your practice time.

7) Whilst it is important to get yourself physically fit again, you must also prepare yourself mentally, when returning to dance, and take action to look after your wellbeing.

Accept where you are at in your training and set yourself some realistic goals that you want to achieve once back in training. This may be taking the next level dance exam in a particular style, or mastering a step, style or combination of the two that has proved more difficult to you in the past.

8) Get focussed on having a successful year ahead and know that any bumps in the road are par for the course and will only benefit you in the long run.

9) Try to not compare yourself to others. You are talented and good enough to be where you are in your training and you will also have so much more to offer if you give it the time and effort required. Allow yourself to believe in your dreams, trust in your training and your teachers that one-day soon, you will get there!

10) Always acknowledge your positive qualities, we all have them! It is your job to find them.

11) Learn to recognise and challenge unhelpful thinking patterns.

12) Finally surround yourself with a network of people who support you in every way and who genuinely want to see you achieving your dreams.

We look forward to seeing you all in the dance studio.

Here’s to a great year and Happy Dancing.