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Dance Through the Pain

Dance Through the Pain

Let's be honest, Flamenco hurts. And we're not talking about that metaphysical pain brought about by the sonidos negros of the best SoleĆ”. As dancers we have all experienced that painful burning sensation in our legs as the footwork speeds up, preventing us from increasing the speed - apart from painful it's frustrating!

There is, however, a technique to help work through this pain and it's one that will help with your stamina either in class or in performance. You're going to have to fight against every natural instinct you have. There are a number of ways that the body reacts to this kind of muscle discomfort - first of all your breathing becomes shallow. Big mistake - shallow breathing means less oxygen gets into your blood stream, reducing the number of endorphins which are our body's natural pain-killers. So step one - breathe as deeply as you can.

Next, the body tries to stop you from doing what you are doing - your muscles tighten in your legs and your abs and back muscles try to relax. If you let this happen you're legs won't be able to move as freely and your body will feel heavier than usual - after all, your weight is all on your legs rather than being supported by your core. So fight against it - pull up, lift your head, tighten your stomach muscles and move your legs with more force. Imagine your center of gravity higher than before - high up at the very top of your stomach. And don't stop breathing! It still hurts, but your stamina will increase and you'll be able to dig deep and carry on.