What is Dance Pilates?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Kristen Osborne
  • Last Modified Date: 29 November 2019
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Dance pilates is a form of exercise that develops strength, flexibility, and tone. Pilates in general can be used by people of all ages and levels of physical fitness. The dance specific version of pilates is developed for dancers who want to condition their bodies, although it can be used by other athletes as well. Exercise studios and gyms that offer dance classes as well as pilates may hold dance pilates classes for their members and people can also make arrangements to work privately with a trainer.

Pilates was developed during World War I, initially for the purpose of rehabilitating injured soldiers. It integrated movements from a number of disciplines, including yoga and martial arts. When people do pilates, they use controlled and fluid movements to work their muscle groups. In floorwork, people work on the floor with a mat. It is also possible to work with pilates machines, which provide more resistance.

In the case of dance pilates, the workout is customized to the needs of dancers. Dancers are at risk of physical injury and practicing pilates, yoga, and other forms of movement education can reduce the risk of injury. A dancer who regularly does pilates will have stronger and better toned muscles and a more polished technique. The dynamic pilates workout also promotes flexibility and can expand a dancer's safe range of motion.


Dance pilates instructors can design a generic workout for a class of dancers or can customize a workout to the needs of a specific dancer in one on one sessions. Injured dancers can benefit from dance pilates as part of their physiotherapy regimens to help them recover, while healthy dancers can use dance pilates to avoid injury and improve their dancing. People who are not dancers may also find that they benefit from dance pilates; the attention to balance, flexibility, and grace can be helpful for people recovering from injuries and have difficulty walking and coordinating their muscles, for example.

The practice and instruction of pilates is not regulated. As a result, anyone can advertise as a pilates instructor and hold classes. This can be dangerous, as it is possible to incur injuries with pilates when working with an inexperienced instructor. When seeking out dance pilates courses, it is advisable to look for instructors who have graduated from rigorous programs that offer extensive training. An instructor with physiotherapy credentials is ideal, as he or she will have a thorough grounding in physiotherapy and caring for the body as well as training in pilates.



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