Body Care for Dancers: Stretching for the Greater Good

Posted on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 4PM

The Alonzo King LINES Ballet blog will now feature a biweekly column by Dr. Lindsay Stephens called Body Care for Dancers. In her posts she’ll share her vast knowledge on topics such as injury prevention, treatment and recovery. Read on for an introduction to Dr. Stephens and her first installment of Body Care for Dancers.

Dr. Lindsay Stephens is a sports chiropractor working in San Francisco. As a military brat she spent her formative years in Germany. After her time overseas, she moved stateside to Florida, where she obtained her Bachelors Degree from Florida Atlantic University in Exercise Science and Health Promotion. Just before graduation, she was introduced to Chiropractic through a family member and shortly after she started school at Palmer College Chiropractic West. For her chiropractic internship, she was one of the few to intern at the presidents hospital in Bethesda MD. This gave her ample experience working in the interdisciplinary setting and knowledge to know that this was the future of patient centered healthcare. She has additional certifications as a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician or CCSP. In her years of practice, she has become more and more passionate about using her chiropractic skill to help the dance community. Recently, she started work with Alonzo King LINES Ballet, providing bodywork for our Company dancers.

Stretching for the Greater Good
My professional training allows me to hone in on proper body mechanics and look for patterns, both functional and dysfunctional. In the dance world, I’m in awe of the movement patterns I see and what the body can really do. But, I must add, I’m also taken aback by the lack of emphasis students, and too often teachers, place on stretching the body.

Between running late to class and socializing with other dancers, stretching often falls by the wayside. I’ve seen too many injuries happen because dancers didn’t warm up, or didn’t warm up properly. Every movement in the studio should be mindful, and warm ups are no different. Stretching is a time to mentally engage and focus on the movement: If you can’t perform a pattern well statically, what makes you think you can perform it dynamically? Stretching is a basic necessity, and dancers take a great risk when they disengage from the process. The good news? Injury due to poor/non-existent stretching is easily avoidable. To find out how, read my next blog when I post tips for improving common stretching fails.

Lindsay Stephens DC, CCSP
Doctor @ Chiro-Medical Group
246 1st Street, Suite 101
San Francisco, CA 94105
P: (415) 495-2225

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