Certainly not new information to our dancers, but is important enough that we all should be reminded.  Stretching both BEFORE and AFTER dancing is crucial to help your bodies support the demands dancing places on our bodies.  Dancers, specifically, move their bodies in a variety of ways most sports do not require, so the importance of stretching is intensified.  Stretching decreases the risk of injury to muscle, tissue and ligaments as well as increased flexibility.  However stretching also has proved beneficial to increase range of motion, endurance and length of muscles when relaxed.  In order to gain all these benefits, we need to make sure we are stretching both before and after dancing as well as adding at least 2-3 sessions of 10-15 minutes of stretching during the week.  Make sure you are stretching properly (making sure to warm the muscles before stretching by running in place or some other activity) as well as not over extending your muscles.  Stretching doesn’t require special equipment, just your added devotion of time.  If any of our dancers have questions about specific stretches or stretches targeted to loosen the hamstrings, etc. don’t ever hesitate to ask your teachers!  Don’t forget supporters, you should be stretching too!  Ask your dancer to show you some of the stretches we do in classes and stretch along side them during the week.  The benefits listed above are great for everyone!