How to stretch for dance

5 Types of Stretches for Dancers | Spotlight Vermont Blog

It’s not secret that stretching correctly is beneficial to anyone. Dancers on the other hand, need a bit more attention to their daily stretch routine.

NOTE: Please listen to your body, over stretching or stretching and feeling pain may be the sign of a bigger issue.

1) Shoulder Stretches
- Bringing one arm up and over behind your head, bend at the elbow and gently push toward the opposite ear to feel a stretch in the back of your arm.
- On a table, chair, ballet barre, or other strong object that is about chest or shoulder high, put both hands on with straight arms and gently push your body down leaving your head level with a flat back. Your upper body and face should be facing the floor. Hold this position for a great shoulder stretch for about 30 seconds.

2) Leg and Hip Stretches
- Start with one leg in front of the other by about 2 feet (give or take) with your front foot in parallel and back foot turned out for stability. Lean over your front leg and hug it as best you can. you can always place one hand on the floor for extra stability if you need it. Hold for 15-20 seconds. Repeat 2-3 times on each leg.
- Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front of you. Making sure your knees are pointing up to the ceiling, lean over and touch your toes (or try to!). You can do this stretch with pointed feet or flexed feet for added stretching. Hold for 20-30 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
- Sit on the floor with your feet touching and heels together in the butterfly position. Keeping your hands resting on your heels, use your elbows to push down on your knees and bend over your feet. This is a great stretch for your hip adductors.

3) Seal Stretch
- The seal stretch is a great option for stretching out your lumbar spine and can be soothing when sitting for long hours at a time, like behind a desk or in a classroom. Lay with your stomach on the floor with your arms propped up about shoulder width underneath you. Push up your upper body and breath through the stretch. To make the stretch deeper, let your head rest back with your face up to the ceiling. Every person’s body and level of flexibility is different so you may need to adjust the position of your hands to find the most comfortable and beneficial stretch.

4) Side Twist
- It is exactly how it sounds. Standing with the side of your body next to a counter, table, or ballet barre, turn your upper body only toward the stable object. Try looking over the shoulder you are turning toward. Hold this stretch for about 15 seconds for 3 rounds turning to each side.

5) Foot Stretches
- Lay on your back and bend on leg in holding it to your chest. Raise your other leg and point your foot as much as you can. Point for 15 seconds and then flex that foot for 15 seconds putting purpose into each movement. Repeat pointing and flexing 3-5 times on each leg switching the straight and bent legs.
- Dancers know how important their feet are so this stretch is done often, and even in class. Stand next to something sturdy and cross one foot over the other with the top foot pointing down and the top of that foot resting on the standing foot/floor. The arch of your foot should be pointing up and away from the floor. Bend and straighten both knees in 5 second pulses to increase the arch in the non-standing foot. Repeat on for both feet.

Stretching is different for everyone and there are many types of stretches that a dancer can do. With positive attitude and a lot of patience, you too can increase your flexibility!

Spotlight Vermont, StretchesRebecca BryngaComment


10 Top Stretches and Exercises to Improve Dance Flexibility

by Stelle World on 0 comments

Flexibility is an important part of dance. Dance flexibility can take up to 6 months or a year of constant discipline depending on the age of the dancer. It can be frustrating for dancers who expect to see results right away. 

Here are a few stretches and exercises to improve dance flexibility for young dancers. 

1. Standing Hamstring Stretch

This stretch is great for the neck, back, glutes, hamstrings, and calf muscles. Start off standing tall with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly and rest your arms by your side. 

Exhale as you bend forward from the hips and lower your head to the floor. Try to keep your head, shoulders and neck relaxed as you do this stretch.


Wrap your arms around the back of your legs and hold. Experts suggest that you hold a stretch for 10 seconds to 3 minutes. If you go into a stretch and feel as if you immediately want to release it is a sign that you need to spend more time stretching this area as part of your dancer workout plan. 

When you are done holding your stretch bend at the knees and roll your way back up to a standing position.  

2. Piriformis Stretch

The piriformis muscle is located outside the butt. It is a deep internal hip rotator. Your deep internal rotators produce a lot of movement at your hips and stretching these muscles should be apart of your daily ballet workout. 

Sit on the floor with both legs extended out in front of you. Cross your left leg over your right and place your left foot flat on the floor beside you. Then place your left hand on the floor behind your body. 

Put your right hand on your quad or bring your elbow to your knee and press your left leg to the right. You should feel a twist in your body when you are performing the stretch correctly. 

3. Lunge With Spinal Twist

This stretch helps open up your hips and improves mid-back mobility, which is a necessary part of ballet turns. 

Start with your feet together and take a big step forward with your left foot. Now your feet should be in a staggered stance. Bend your left knee as if you are lunging. Keep your right leg straight behind you. 

Your toes should point downward to the ground. You will feel a stretch in your right thigh. Now place your right hand on the floor beside you and twist your upper body to the left. Reach your left arm up toward the ceiling and stretch as if you are trying to touch the ceiling. 

Hold the stretch and then repeat on the other side. 

4. Tricep Stretch

An area of deep stretching often overlooked by dancers is the arms. Most dancers focus on the legs but you will also need arm flexibility to complete many ballet positions. 

For a tricep stretch stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Extend your arms up over your head. Bend your right elbow and reach your hand behind your head to touch the top middle of your back. 

You can gently pull your elbow toward your head yo get a deeper stretch. You should feel the stretch in your neck, shoulders, back, and triceps. When you are done holding the stretch repeat on the other side.  

5. 90/90 Stretch

This is another great stretch for dancers because it hits both hips at the same time. Sit with your right knee bent at a 90-degree angle out in front of your body. Keep your foot flexed and your sole should be facing the left.

Let your leg rest flat on the floor as you place your left knee to the left of your body. Bend the knee so that the foot faces behind you. Be sure to keep this foot flexed too. 

Try your best to keep your right glute on the floor and move the left glute as close to the floor as possible. This may not be possible if you have been dancing a lot and are super tight in your glutes or hips. 

Hold the stretch and repeat on the other side. 

6. Frog Stretch

Another one of our dance tips for flexibility is to not sit crossed legged. Crossing your legs can lead to tight hips. Here is a stretch you can do if you do happen to sit cross-legged a lot. 

Get down on all fours and slide your knees wider than shoulder-width apart behind you. Turn your toes out and rest the edge of your inner thigh on the floor. Shift your hips back toward your heels and keep your feet flat on the floor. 

If you can move from your hands to your forearms for a deeper stretch.

7. Butterfly Stretch

This simple stretch helps the hips, glutes, back, and thighs. Sit on the floor with your back tall and your soles together. Bend your knees out to the side. 

Hold your ankles or your feet, engage your abs, and slowly lower your upper body toward your feet as low as you can go while at the same time pressing your knees down into the floor. 

8. Shoulder Squeeze

This stretch relieves poor posture and releases tension in the back. Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat. Clasp your hands together behind your lower back and straighten and extend your arms. 

Squeeze your shoulder blades together for a few seconds and then release. Repeat this stretch for 5 to 10 times. 

9. Side Bend

This easy stretch keeps the groin, and hips inner thighs flexible. Kneel on the floor with your legs together. Keep your back straight and your core engaged. Extend your left leg out beside you.

The reach your right arm up and rest your left arm on your left leg. Gently bend at the torso and right arm to the left side of your body. Try to keep your hips facing forward as you hold the stretch. Then repeat on the other side. 

10. Neck Stretch 

Most dancers forget to stretch their necks. A good neck stretch can positively impact the rest of your body. 

Drop your right ear down to your right shoulder. Press down on your head to deepen the stretch and hold. When you are done, complete the stretch on the other side. 

Keep Working on Your Dance Flexibility

No one has ever become flexible overnight. To improve your dancer flexibility, stretching should be apart of your daily routine. Just keep at it and you’ll start to see a noticeable difference. 

Stelle is a dance label created by a mother of three girls who love to dance. Our blog is full of great content like this article on how to help your budding ballerina do a proper plie squat. 

  • dance,   flexible dancing,   stretching