Pilates helps to provide the core strength and stability required for dancers to perform a wide range of actions and movements, which require the creativity and grace of an artist coupled with the strength and control of an athlete. The strength is also coupled with flexibility and the development of a long, lean physique that is sought by dancers.
Pilates can offer benefits to dancers at all levels, which has been known for generations amongst dancers and choreographers. Pilates sessions are included as part of a regular conditioning program in almost all of the major dance companies in the world. Some of Joseph Pilates’ first clients at his studio were dancers from New York City Ballet.
Pilates has a role to play no matter what age and stage a dancer is at, as demands on the body are always changing.
- If a dancer is stressing similar muscle groups, Pilates can encourage muscle balance by working joints through full range of motion and building support in all layers of soft tissue, ensuring optimal performance and reduced risk of injury.
- A dancer may need to find their centre again, physically and mentally, so focusing attention to the importance of deep core support and pelvic alignment through building awareness of movement patterns, can enhance control and fluidity of movement throughout the body.
- Pilates is also the main way for rehabilitating back to top physical condition.
It is now widely acknowledged by dance researchers, clinicians and educators that supplementary training in the form of Pilates is an essential ingredient to a dancer’s success and longevity.
These principles can also be applied to any performance based pursuit. Pilates can be of particular benefit in reaching and maintaining optimal performance levels by facilitating the development of the physical and neuromuscular components of fitness in relation to individual performance and the environment in which it is performed.