Pilates Benefits for Dancers

Joseph Pilates, Creative Commons license by Scott Rozic

I got new head and body shots over the weekend. Ashley Smith is amazing, and I highly recommend her (99% of the photos and videos on this website are her work.)! But after a period of standing in some very interesting positions (in 3 inch heels, of course!), my back was hurting. So, I made sure to get to the studio early this morning, so I could get a workout in before I had to teach. My quick Pilates matwork session reminded me why doing Pilates is so important, for me, and dancers in general.
  • Powerhouse- Sometimes called the core, and almost always misunderstood, the Powerhouse is the key of Pilates. Abdominals, back, hips and bottom all make up the Powerhouse. Strengthen these muscles pulls one into her center. A strong center makes flowing, cohesive movements. The abs, back, hips and bottom support the spine and the extremities. All movement should originate in the Powerhouse. This makes the movement safe, stable and controlled.
  • Alignment- This is important for the general population, as most people have poor posture and centering. However, it is especially important for dancers. We all have our “good side” and our “bad side”. I will forever want to turn on my left and jump on my right. My right side is more flexible than my left. But that is not really what’s best for my body. Continuing to overuse one side will only exacerbate the imbalance. One of the goals of Pilates is a symmetrical body. Working equally on both sides with stretch and strength.
  • Stretch and Strength- Dancers like to stretch. We’d do it all day. Just sit in weird positions and stretch. But again, it’s not really what’s best for the body. Flexible muscles also need to be strong muscles, to protect joints, keep alignment, and give that nice tone! Pilates is equal parts stretch and strength; every exercise has an element of each in it.
  • Balance- Having a strong center, good alignment, as well as strong and flexible muscles contributes to good balance. Anyone who ever danced (especially in pointe shoes or heels) knows the importance of good balance!
  • Pain Management- Most dancers have a nagging injury or issue, that is not just painful, but affects his/her dancing. For me, the scoliosis in my spine can cause low back pain, and I have a cyst in the back of my left knee. Pilates helps my back pain by- aligning me, strengthening the weak side of back, and stretching the tight side. Pilates helps my knee pain by- aligning me and getting me to use my legs from my bottom, rather than the knee and quads.

Of course, these benefits are NOT just limited to dancers. Every point relates to every person, dancer, athlete, office worker, mom, etc. Mr. Pilates designed Pilates for men! He was not real thrilled about all the dancers that flocked to his work. But, dancers recognized the importance of the work he created- alignment, centering, stretch, strength, balance, and even pain management are useful, great things! And to be able to get them ALL in 1 workout, is even better! Use the Contact Nicole page to request an appointment, and try Pilates today!

Bonus- Anyone with an DancePass from Dance/UP, you have been offered a discount at Pilates for Movement on the weekly emails! Give us a call and set up your lesson!