In the two years that I have lived in Nairobi I have seen lots of raw talent amongst dancers. I’ve also noticed a lot of dangerous habits amongst Nairobi dancers, in general, that go unnoticed and unchecked. As a dancer, your body is your instrument. If you played the trumpet you wouldn’t throw it into a matao without a protective case, or leave it out in the rain over night. You would care for it and make sure that it was tuned properly and in mint condition for your next performance. The habits below when practiced regularly can have moderate to seriously negative effects on one’s dancing career and can take 5-10 years off one’s dancing career if the habits are practiced regularly.
- Not stretching before and after practice
Your muscles need care and love. Give them love by stretching them slowly before and after performing rigorous dance routines. This minimizes injury.
2. Not eating healthy foods
Why do dancers think that they can eat tons of sugar and junk food because they are active? You wouldn’t put cheap gas into an expensive car. Refill your ‘engine’ with nutritious food.
3. Performing stunts without regard for safety
Some things are careless and some things are just plain stupid. Please do not risk your life or your mobility for a great performance. End the performance well-without the ambulance as your swan song.
4. Continual practice on concrete floors
I know that it is tough to find good dance practice locations in Nairobi however the fasted way to ruin your knees is to practice on concrete floors. Practice on wood, sand, grass or carpet and show love to your knees, please.
5. Not taking time for rest days in between injuries
As dancers we are aggressive and perfectionists. We think that we are missing something if one day passes and we do not dance. I also struggle with this one. But the best thing that we can do for our bodies when we have an injury is to rest and care for the injury.
6. Not getting adequate sleep
Our muscles heal best when we are sleeping. Not getting adequate sleep puts unnecessary stress on our bodies that robs us of energy, mental capacity and good judgment- all of which we need as dancers.
7. Too much alcohol
There are many times when the dance performance is at a location where alcohol is being served. Although you may be nervous keep away from the drinks while performing.Dancing is your job. Others would get fired for drinking on the job. Plus the high amounts of sugar and carbohydrates aren’t good for a dancers’ physic.