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Stretching is an essential part of every dancer's life. Without enough flexibility, you will be limited in the movements you can perform and may even injure yourself. To stretch properly, you should first warm up your muscles for about five minutes. You can do something as simple a walking quickly or jogging in place, but make sure you do not skip this step. Stretching without any kind of a warm up is a good way to pull or tear a muscle.

Once you are warm, do a little bit of easy stretching. You don't want to jump too quickly into your most difficult stretch, just as weightlifters don't instantly go for the most amount of weight they can handle. Work up to it and prepare your muscles for the more difficult stretches that are to come.

After you have done some light stretching, you can now move into your more difficult stretch. Don't push yourself too far while you are stretching. Only you know how far you can push yourself. Be sure to hold every stretch and don't bounce. A nice smooth stretch gives better results and reduces the risk of injury.

A few common stretches you may want to try are:

All of these stretches can help you to improve flexibility and make you less prone to injury. Don't forget to do a cool down after you stretch.