Pilates is an amazing asset for a dancer. Dance training, which consists of dance classes varying in style, mostly focus on flexibility, co-ordination and mind and body memorization. Very rare is there a dance class that focusses on strengthening or conditioning and targeting areas of imbalance. For most dancers, core stability and strength are the biggest benefit of Pilates. The core connects the upper body to the lower, aids in balance as well as efficiency in moving quickly and with ease through space. When the core is weak other areas of the body compensate. Typically the hip flexors and lower back extensors fire up and over work, often leading to injury. Hyper-extended knees, elbows and hips create lines of the body that a stable joint cannot express. Hypermobility and strain or over use of joints and muscles can take its toll. Moving this way can have a negative affect such as the possibility of dislocation and ligament tears. Practicing Pilates can promote joint stability in a controlled environment.
Like any athlete, dancers need to be in perfect condition mentally and physically to perform at their best in a healthy way. Dancers often continue to work and create further damage to themselves because of the competitiveness and their passion for what they do. With the mantra "the show most go on" a viewer may see no indication of injury while watching their movement because many dancers are pushed to "work through it" or they will be replaced, loose a job or a new opportunity.
Pilates can be used as body conditioning. It focuses on strengthening deep support muscles and balancing the muscle groups around joints to help avoid injury and increase performance ability. Pilates can be practiced at all stages of rehabilitation, from acute to re-education of function.