Studio 8100 is located at the base of one of the world’s best ski resorts and as a result, we are acutely aware of the incredible benefits dance has on one’s ability to ski or snowboard. For dancers, we have spent years developing our bodies to perform intricate routines, but even basic levels of dance can have positive impacts beyond the stage and onto the mountain.
One of the most crucial elements of skiing or snowboarding is balance. Being able to shift your weight from one side to another while maintaining your center of gravity differentiates the experienced skiers from the beginner. Dance challenges its participants to shift their weight, change directions and continue balancing throughout a variety of movements. When you add a pair of skis and the gentle slope of a mountain, there is a new sense of appreciation as to why balancing on one foot is a transferable skill.
Learning any new skill is a challenge, but the discipline that comes from dance definitely offers an advantage. Through dance, your body stops becoming one large entity, but rather a combination of several different components that you can effect independently. Dancers are able to apply instructions quickly and effectively by knowing what specific parts of their body are being used. Regardless of what experience level you are at, this is a skill that will be used continually.
When it comes to most winter sports, flexibility is not the first necessary skill, but flexibility goes far beyond how high you can kick your leg. Dancing engages every muscle group, activating them respectively; furthermore, joint mobility and muscle flexibility directly impact speed and agility. The quick response of muscles is a fundamental aspect of dancing that every level and style is trained to do. On the snow, quick response and engagement help you take on turns and zip down the mountain.
Let’s dispel a common myth right now; dancers are strong – in fact, they are really strong. The movements dancers tend to perform yield long lean muscles, making long days on the mountain a bit easier. Holding positions in downhill skiing takes a great deal of strength and positions like “plies” and “releves” directly improve the muscles in one’s legs that help them hold positions for extended amounts of time. Additionally, dancing defines the core muscles helping skiers to maneuver through snow even on powder days.
“Like ski racers dancers are athletes and the demands placed on their bodies coincide in many ways: Spatial awareness, balance, muscle discipline/control and visualization of what lies ahead. These are just a few examples and I am a huge believer in the importance of cross training and how dance can and should be incorporated into an athlete’s regimen,” said former US Men’s Alpine Ski Team Member and Olympian Chad Fleischer.
As we prepare for another incredible ski season on Colorado’s mountains, branch away from the traditional ski conditioning classes and try dance classes instead. With a range of classes for all ages, you will not even realize you are working out due to the mass amounts of fun that will be taking place. As a bonus, improving your dance skills is never an unworthy cause.