March break presents a week or two without the demands of school and work. During time off from regular training, students should be encouraged to stay active and keep moving, while also integrating valuable relaxation and recuperation, particularly for those with injuries.
For most dancers, taking a week off from regular training is a daunting prospect, as muscles start to lose tone after only two days without activity. However, many students and their families head on vacation over the break. Teachers should encourage these students to stay active and in shape while away. Examples of alternative fitness options include cross training activities such as swimming, Pilates and yoga. If none of these are possible, suggest that students walk, run, stretch and even play sports while on vacation. Any activity that gets the muscles moving will contribute to keeping them in shape.
For those who choose to take dance classes, the March break can be a great time to either try a new dance style or really focus on a specific aspect of one’s training.Many studios offer special classes or intensives during March break, which provide great opportunities for dance students to train with different teachers or experiment with different studios. Teachers should encourage their students to branch out and explore new experiences during this week; the richer your students’ dance training, the better dancers they will ultimately become.
If your students decide to pursue a new activity or a new style of dance, it’s important to help them prepare for the situation. Encourage them to research the new activity, dance style or studio so they know what to expect. Remind them to be patient with their process, as they will be beginners at this new activity and won’t necessarily master it quickly. Suggest that they recall how they felt when first learning to dance, and remind them they’ll be in a similar situation here. Most importantly, remind your students to allow their bodies time to recover from learning new movements and different muscle patterns.
Above all, teachers and students should be encouraged to fully embrace the opportunities March break presents and remember to have fun, whether trying a new form of exercise, learning a new dance style or just changing one’s routine to include more relaxation and rejuvenation.