Rehearsals are the backbone of your life as a dancer, so knowing what you need to dance your best each day in rehearsal is crucial to your success. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the daily demands of rehearsing.
Sometimes in rehearsal you might be asked to go long periods of time without a proper meal break, so make sure you have some snacks ready to go when the hunger pains strike. Fruit, nuts, and granola or protein bars are easy options. Just make sure to watch the sugar content in trail mixes and certain bars. (This article can help you pick the right snack bar.)
2. Plenty of fluids
This may seem obvious, but heading to rehearsal without your water bottle can cause a lot of unnecessary stress. You should be drinking plenty of water before, during, and especially, after rehearsal to rehydrate after a long day of work.
3. First Aid Kit
You never know what might happen in rehearsal! Be sure to have band aids, antibiotic ointment, tape, toenail clippers, and pain relievers for emergencies.
4. Knee Pads
Depending on the kind of dance you do, you might be asked to do some choreography that’s a little hard on the knees. Especially when learning new floor work, it’s easy to get pretty banged up. Make sure you have some flexible knee pads with you to prevent unnecessary bruising and protect those precious knees! They’ll thank you for it later in life.
Sometimes learning a day’s worth of choreography can make you feel like your head might explode! Writing some notes by hand not only gives you a record of things you might forget, it actually helps you remember in the first place. This can also be a calming, meditative practice to round off your day of dancing.
6. Sewing Kit
Whether it’s a costume or a last-minute pointe shoe repair, having a needle and thread on hand is always a good idea. It’s also wise to keep some safety pins on hand for quick fixes.
7. Extra Layers
Dancers are notoriously cold, and whether it’s too much AC in the summer or not enough heat in the winter, feeling cold can ruin a perfectly good rehearsal. It’s always a good idea to have an extra zip-up or pullover sweater in your rehearsal bag.
8. Cool-down routine
Cooling down is just as important as warming up. Be prepared for tomorrow’s rehearsal by giving yourself at least a 30 minute session of stretching, massaging, and rolling out your muscles at the end of day. Take this time to care for any chronic injuries or problem areas.
9. Essential Oils
Having essential oils like lavender oil or tea tree oil on hand can be a nice complement to your rehearsal routine. Putting a few drops on your hands and massaging tired feet can help restore and relax your precious toes. Lavender is also known to help ease headaches, so you might try massaging your temples with it – just don’t get it near your eyes. Dilute some essential oils with some water in a spray bottle and spray your bag to help keep it smelling fresh!
The best way to care for your body after rehearsal is to get plenty of rest. Know how much sleep you need to function at your best and schedule your activities around it. Also, do something nice for yourself at the end of the day! Whether it’s taking a long bath, drinking some herbal tea, or reading a book, it’s important to find a routine that helps you unwind and recharge.
By Katherine Moore of Dance Informa.