Written for the September/October 2014 edition of American Dancer magazine:
There was a time when resistance training and dancing were mutually exclusive. Thankfully, we’ve evolved beyond that. Today’s dancers know that lifting weights builds better athletes, and dancers are no exception. Sure, the technique for Open Impetus or Toe Heel Swivels is developed primarily on the dance floor. But what about back strength, leg power, and speed? Years of dancing can get you there, but a focused fitness program can help you speed up the process.
Historically, dancers have shied away from resistance training to protect flexibility and to avoid developing too much muscle mass. As it turns out, these concerns are not supported by research. When dancers from university and professional modern dance companies participate in strength and conditioning programs, not only do they outperform their peers on various measures of fitness, they also get higher ratings of dance quality from judges and directors of dance companies. The evidence is clear: Whether you’re a social or competitive dancer, resistance training can help you build a fitness foundation for higher quality dancing.