We hope you’ve all had an amazing start to your summer vacay! Your bodies definitely need a break after an intense season of practices and competitions. It’s important to take the time to relax and recover, BUT this doesn’t mean that we should forget our bodies and practices entirely. I remember growing up beginning each summer with a plan to stretch every morning. The goal was to keep up my flexibility, and be the best I could be in class next season. I also remember how quickly those two months of summer flew by and how easy it was for my plan to go entirely out the window.
Whether you train in dance, gymnastics, skating or cheerleading, it’s always a good idea to get in some practice during your off-season. What most athletes don’t realize is how quickly your body can regress after competition workout season. Lucky for you, there are lots of options for you to keep your practice up over the summer. While it was difficult for me to stick to at-home workouts after a year of rigorously scheduled practices, I loved signing up for workshops and classes that kept a similar structure and team environment, with a instructor to motivate.
Remember, dedication doesn’t have an off-season, and if you truly love the art you practice, then it deserves your time and attention. More importantly, you are an athlete and your body isn’t ready to shut down after a hardworking full season. This is your time to decrease your regular training, and increase your strength training. If you do this your body will be in the best shape possible to support you in your next season!
Here are 3 ways to keep your practice up this summer, and some resources to get you started!
1. Join a workshop or intensive camp!
Many studios and competitive teams offer camps and workshops throughout the summer! Check-in with your coach to see what your studio has on the go for the summer.
Alternatively, a great way to learn new styles and choreography is by trying out a workshop at a different studio or with a professional team. Professional dance companies, such as The National Ballet, offer a summer dance intensive, as well as in-studio workshops. So don’t be afraid to do some research and see whats going on in our area.
2. Try a drop-in class downtown Toronto!
Trying a drop-in class is an easy way to add more activity to your life, with less commitment then a full workshop or summer program. It’s also a great way to open yourself up to new choreography and immerse yourself in the Toronto dance scene. We’ve pulled together a list of possible places to go for a dance class! If you aren’t located in T.O search for drop in classes in the biggest city near you.
- The Underground – contemporary, jazz & hip-hop, everyday till 11pm.
- City Dance Corps – tons of styles including, ballet, hip-hop & lyrical, at all levels.
- Danceology – latin & ballroom.
- Dovercourt House – swing, hula hoop & salsa.
3. Looking for a break from your focus? Try something new!
Lastly, a great way to take a break from your practice, while maintaining your flexibility and strength is to try out something new! You always have great summer options such as, swimming, biking or running. But I also want to encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone. If you dance, try gymnastics or skating; if you skate, try dance and cheerleading. If you’re a gymnast, try dance, and if you cheer, try skating. Each of these arts have so much to offer and can only help you to improve further in your own practice. As a dancer, I would have been terrified to try something as different as figure skating. But can you imagine how much my balance would have improved?
Alternatively, there’s a lot of other fun activities you can try. Yoga is a great practice for building strength and flexibility. You can find a Moksha Yoga Studio in almost every city, (there are 4 across Toronto alone – Downtown, Uptown, Bloor West and Danforth) but feel free to do a little search for your closest studio.
Another great option is aerial silks! This has been a huge trend over the past few years and for good reason! Aerial silks work to test your core strength. Having a strong core will help you hold yourself higher, turn faster and jump higher. Cirque Ability offers classes in aerial silks, trapeze and the hoop, for all ages!
That’s all for now, performers! Be sure to let us know what you get up to this summer and which activities were your favourite. If you try anything we’ve recommended make sure to share how it went!