Hip hop dance is a popular international style of dance. But the fast footwork, acrobatic movements and jerking motions can put a lot of stress on the dancer’s body, leading to potential hip hop dance injuries in the spine, hips, knees, ankles and feet. But with proper prevention, hip hop dancers can reduce their risk of injury.
Hip hop is a dance form with its origins mainly on the streets of New York City and California. There are many different styles of hip hop which can be broken down into two main categories:
- Old School (which began in the 1970s and ‘80s) – Breaking or B-boying, popping and locking.
- New School (developed in the mid-1980s to today) – Krumping, voguing and street jazz.
Generally, both styles are improvisational in nature, especially when performed on the street, but can also be choreographed.
Causes Hip Hop Dance Injuries
Generally, hip hop dancers have a greater incidence of injuries when compared to other dance forms. Some common injuries that hip hop dancers can experience are:
- Cuts and bruises
- Strains and sprains of the muscles
- Bone fractures
- Joint dislocations
Some common causes of hip hop dance injuries include:
- Repetitive movements and impact loads without taking a break.
- Imbalance between how much load is placed on the body versus its capacity.
- Misalignment of the body during movement.
- Weak technique.
- Trauma caused from missteps, hard landings and falls when spinning and sliding.
- Excessive joint angles during movement.
- No or not enough warm up and cool down time allotted. Not enough stretching.
- Lack of training and muscle strength.
- Too much training, leading to overuse injuries.
- Lack of protective equipment for knees, elbows, wrists, back and neck.
- Returning to dance too soon following an injury.
How to Prevent Hip Hop Dance Injuries
To keep hip hop dance injuries from occurring, here are some tips dancers should follow:
- Perform a thorough warm up. When muscles are cold and tense, dancers have a greater risk of injury. Perform stretches for the spine, legs, thighs, calves, ankles, feet, arms, shoulders, neck and wrists.
- Learn correct hip hop dance techniques. Take a class to learn proper technique. Video tape your dancing to see and correct any bad dance techniques you’re performing.
- Dance on the right surface. Dancing on hard streets, sidewalks and tile floors can make it hard on your body and joints to absorb the impact of some moves. Dance floors are designed for more give. If you most perform on hard surfaces, use a mat to cushion your routine.
- Wear protective gear. Wear knee and elbow pads if you plan on performing movements on the floor. Wear the right shoes for your performance that fit well. Refer to the WalkEZStore Shoe Fitting Guide for more information on how to correctly fit your shoes.
- Cool down safely. Make sure you take time to adequately stretch your muscles after performing and slow down your heart rate.
By following these tips, hip hop dancers can help ensure they’ll lower their risk of injuries, so they can continue dancing and entertaining people.
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