The Performance Mentor
Dealing With Periods When Dancing
Title: Dealing With Periods When Dancing
Dancers are talented individuals who are constantly focused when performing whether on stage, class or anywhere. Losing track of the routine is the worst thing that could happen to a dancer. One thing that could make you lose your focus is worrying about your “Period”. As a dancer, choreographer and mother myself, I may have a few tips to help you.
Facts of life, at some stage in your life you will start your period. I’ve heard some people start their womanhood as young as 8. This can be an extreme shock and emotional time for you, bringing on lots of changes to your lifestyle. Some people have lots of side effects and can be very uncomfortable whilst some people experience no difference. I’m sure every girl, woman can relate to that. I mean this can be devastating. However life goes on. Imagine if you are a ballerina performing in an audition and you are concerned if you’re bleeding quite heavy. This can throw you off. You start to feel cautious, uneasy, loose your focus and then worry if you have messed up your audition performance. Overthinking, and stressed.
You need to wear something that will give you the protection that you need. You have a few choices; a pad, tampon and a menstrual cup. Most dancers usually use a tampon. All of them works fine. But, my advice to you is that you wear something that is comfortable and appropriate. Make sure the one you chose has a very high absorbent level. Then to make sure everything looks good in the outside, you can pair it with something that is dark coloured. Also, bring a few extras. You may have to urinate frequently, so you need to go to the restroom to empty the bladder, to freshen up and check everything down there is clean. If you’re in a ballet company or performing in costume, you have no choice on what you wear, but I have had friends that wear thick tights, sometimes two pairs and good pants. However, you need to not over dress to get too hot, as dancers are prone to thrush, but that is another topic
Some dancers have no problem dealing with their menstrual fluids, whilst some have major problems with what comes in their periods. Bloating is one of them. When a women’s abdomen seems to be heavy and inflated, research says that this is caused by the changes in the sex hormones which are progesterone and estrogen that caused the body to preserve more water and salt that leads to the swelling of the cells and that is why you feel bloated. They may think they have added weight. This may give them discomfort and lose the confidence in themselves. Who wants to wear fitted clothes when you’re bloated and having belly cramps?
Cramps. Too many dancers suffer from it. Cramps can lead you to having difficulty in dancing or standing. You feel achy and dull around the mid-section, which also effects your whole body. That’s bad for a dancer if you want to have a great performance or just focus on your classes and rehearsals. A little pain reliever before a performance can be a great help to ease things up. Some dancers have relief moving around, keeping that part of the body stretched and warm, resting prior, hot water bottles etc. Sometimes you may feel better while you are dancing and sweating, forget about the pain distracting yourself. Everyone is different so now what works for you.
If you suffer from extreme bleeding and iron deficiency you could be very drained or tired. This can be very difficult to manage because dancers are not always given loads of toilet breaks. It is very important that you stay focus and don’t let these things get you down. If the bleeding and pain gets more intense and you can’t function well, then it is important that you get check out by a Doctor. They most likely understand what you are going through and you may also have another medical related illness. You will know your body’s limits while you are in your period. So, you have to stay more attentive and get everything checked. If you have a low blood pressure then you are most likely going to feel faint. Dancing in extreme conditions is not advised here. Know your limits!
Your skin can change around your period due to your hormones. This can be very extreme for some people and take the whole month there after to heal only to get more bumps and acne spots in new places the following month, become a monthly nightmare, and fear.
Depression and emotion highs and lows could be another problem for some people, especially if you’re overworked or very stressed.
I have some friends that have to decline work around their cycle and others that have no side effects whatsoever. So never compare yourself. Drink lots of water, exercise, relax when you can and keep a good diet.