Jazz dancing is a great type of expressive dance that has been done for generations around the world. While this dance is beautiful to watch when done correctly, it is also a great form of exercise. As with any type of exercise, it is important to stretch properly before beginning, in order to prevent injury and improve athletic performance.
1. Hamstring Stretch
The hamstring stretch is probably one of the most important ones that you must be sure to do before jazz dancing. As the name suggests, the hamstring stretch targets the hamstring muscle, which is located on the back of your upper leg. Failing to stretch this muscle can result in major injury, which can take up to six months to heal properly. To perform the hamstring stretch, start by standing tall with your feet evenly spaced below your hips, and your toes pointing forward. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, bend from your waist and drop your hands toward the ground. You should feel a pull in your legs. Hold this stretch for at least 30 seconds, and then release. Do one more repetition of the hamstring stretch.
2. Quadricep Stretch
The quadricep stretch is another very important one that is essential when jazz dancing. To do this stretch properly, find a railing or chair back that you can hold onto. Lift your right foot off the ground, and bend your knee so it is forming a 90 degree angle. At the same time, reach your right hand behind your back, and wrap your fingers firmly around your right foot. Holding onto the foot, lift it as high up towards your buttocks as possible. You should feel a stretch in your quadriceps muscle, which is located on the front of your upper thigh, opposite your hamstring muscle. As with the hamstring stretch, be sure to hold this pose for at least 30 seconds. Take a short break, and do another 30 second stretch.
3. Chest Stretch
It's also very important to make sure that the muscles of your upper body are properly stretched. One important upper body stretch that you should do before jazz dancing is the chest stretch. Stand tall with your arms relaxed by your sides. Take a few deep breaths, and reach your arms behind your back. Lace your fingers together, and squeeze the shoulder blades together. Hold this pose for at least 30 seconds. Perform another 30 second chest stretch after your rest is completed.