Conditioning programs for dancers should be an essential part of any training program. Along with regular technique classes, “cross training” will help provide increased cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and endurance benefits. It will also increase core strength and muscle tone and encourage healthy exercise practice.
Below are 5 of my favorite Plyometric (jump training) exercises you can implement at the beginning or end of any class or rehearsal which will get them started in the right direction and can be modified for any level of dancer. Remember, if we are not in peak physical condition, technique and performance is useless without working in a healthy body as a vehicle for all the moving one does!
*Modify each exercise to the needs/levels of your dancers.
*Try doing two rounds of each exercise. Make sure dancers have water and take breaks as needed.
Warmup: Run or jump around the room: Yes. It’s that simple. Have dancers run around the entire studio in a circle for at least 3-5 minutes. You will shocked at how quickly the blood will start pumping and how quickly your dancers will warm up. Add modifications such as: change directions, stop and do three pushups before continuing, add squat jumps, add high knees, run backwards, etc.
- Weighted Squat jumps: Have dancers hold 2-5lb weights at their sides, standing in parallel 2nd position. Have dancers get into a deep squat positon. Dancers sauté and explode off the floor, jumping back into a deep squat, Do this for 30 seconds-one minute.
- Weighted Échappés: Have dancers hold 2-5lb weights at their sides starting in turned out first position. Dancers plié and échappé to a deep 2nd position (“sumo squat” position) and back to plie first. Do this for 30 seconds-one minute.
- Weighted Jazz Square Squats: Have dancers hold 2-5lb weights at their sides. Start in parallel 2nd position. Plié in deep squat and jump (sauté) right-back-left-front all ending in deep seated squats. 30 seconds starting to the right. 30 seconds starting to the left. Modify by eliminating weights for beginners, changing directions for advanced.
- Weighted Chassés: Dancers start in turned-out, plié second position (“sumo squat” position) with one 5-8lb weight in both hands extended down. Chassé to the right, staying in the deep sumo squat while giving one bicep curl with the weight (still in both hands.) Repeat left. Do this for 30 seconds-one minute. Add modifications such as: going faster, dropping weight an adding burpees or squat thrusts with a tuck jump in between sides, etc.
- Weighted One-Legged-Sautés: Have dancers hold 2-5lb weights at their sides. Lift the right foot off the floor, jump off the left leg while sending right leg back behind you. 30 seconds on the right leg. 30 seconds on the left.
Good luck to everyone!
See you in the dance studio,