Body Conditioning & Pilates

Dancers are supreme athletes measured by the technical precision and high levels of physical fitness demanded from them on an ongoing basis. Consequently they suffer a high incidence of injury. As a result dancers do not only need a specialised exercise regimen that supplements their dance training, but it should also promote injury rehabilitation and prevention.

In order for any body conditioning or training program to be effective, the dancer needs to understand how the body functions, adapts, learns and memorizes new movements and techniques. Conditioning dancers as athletes and artists is a mind–body exercise. Technical correction should not aim at strengthening individual muscles; instead muscles should be strengthened functionally, incorporating whole body co-ordination. The Pilates method embraces mind–body conditioning and whole body co-ordination philosophies.

At the Movement Science Institute the Pilates method and its principles are adjusted and used as a conditioning and rehabilitative tool. All exercise prescriptions are based on scientific evidenced based research and tailored to each dancer’s individual needs.

The Movement Science Institute also aims to educate dancers on correct training and conditioning principles. Dancers should understand the value of, as well as the correct warm–up, conditioning and cooldown techniques, in order to prepare their bodies for the demands placed on them. Understanding the value of cross–training can allow a dancer’s body to recover from a strenuous class, without the risk of developing overuse or repetitive strain injuries. Cross–training may also be used as a means of maintaining cardiovascular fitness while recovering from injury.