I don’t see very many flamenco dance injuries in my class. When I do, it’s usually from beginner students for various reasons. But it’s usually from poor fitting shoes that lead to faulty technique. Sometimes it’s because they have pre existing conditions that leads them to injuries.
I’ve had my own dance injuries with stress fractures in my foot caused by constant footwork without proper follow up care. I also have a knee that feels a little sensitive if I don’t pay attention.
I always include exercises during class to strengthen the dancer for flamenco and I encourage everyone to do something outside of class to gain strength and stamina for flamenco.
Because here’s the thing: if you have ANY sensitive areas that feel a little discomfort, you MUST treat those areas. And I mean do exercises to strengthen or stretches to relieve tightness and not just slapping a brace on to keep you stable. If you need a knee brace, then you absolutely should actively be doing exercises to strengthen your quads.
(Disclaimer: I know these exercises from my years of teaching, training and having several classes in dance kinesiology from my dance degree. However, I am not a doctor. I don’t even play one on t.v. So, please see a qualified doctor or physical therapist for any issues you may have.)
1. Go barefoot: Walk barefoot at home as much as possible. This strengthens all the muscles. But you’ll want to ease into it if you aren’t accustomed to it.
2. Tennis ball stretch: Stretch the bottom of your foot with a tennis ball by standing on it and rolling it around.
3. Marble grabs: Grab marbles with toes and place from left to right then right to left. Be sure to keep the leg still and use your ankle for the lateral motion.
1. Wall sits: Place your back against the wall with your feet hip-width apart and a couple of feet away from the wall. Slide your back down until you’re in a “seated” position against the wall. Sit for as long as you can!
2. Squatty potty: That’s not the real name of this pose, but it should be. Pretend you’re going to the bathroom in the woods and you have to squat down without holding on to anything. This will strengthen your thighs and your core!
3. Chair pose: This one is more elegant than squatty potty, but just as effective. Pretend you’re sitting in a chair by bending at the ankles and knees and sitting back a bit. You can raise your hands overhead for balance.
CORE (back and abs)
1. Banana & Superman: First lie on your back and lift your feet and head off the ground. Hold as steady as possible for as long as you can. If it hurts to lift both feet, then try one at a time. Or alternate with lifting the feet a little then the head. Follow it up with turning to lie on your stomach. Then lift the upper body and feet as high as possible by using your back muscles like you’re flying like superman. Get it?
2. Planks & Side Planks: Lie face down and place hands at shoulder. Push yourself up either with straight legs or with knees on the ground. Make sure that your belly button is tucked in. Hold for as long as you can. Go onto your side and lift the hips off the ground while balancing on your feet. Your arm can be straight or you can rest on the elbow. Hold for as long as possible then switch sides.