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Periodisation: What is it and Why do I need to take it into consideration?

Periodisation is something that many elite athletes do to manage their workload over the course of a year, depending on training and competition demands. It varies the amount of workload you do over the course of a year (or other period of time) in order to best prepare for the busy times.

Dancers have the same variance as athletes with regards to demand, rehearsal v performance and rest periods. For example in a study by Shaw et. al 2023, dancers at the Royal Ballet had peak periods of performance volume in December, but high volume hours in rehearsals were between October / November and then January and April. But many dancers and dance teachers don’t take this into account.

As a dancer at a local dance school, your peak periods would be around your competitions, exams and end of year (or other) performances. During these times, you might rehearse more or have extra individual sessions to get you ready for these important events.

This means that these times are when you are more at risk for injury.


When preparing for an important performance event, dancers (and dance teachers) push themselves to get the best result or performance they can. Extra training hours mean that you expend more energy. If you don’t keep up your eating and sleeping, you and your muscles can fatigue quicker.

Fatigue = Slower Reaction Times and less power and strength in your muscles. Whilst your mind expects your body to perform in a certain way, fatigued muscles increases the risk of injury as they can’t perform the way you expect them too. For example, fatigued leg muscles may mean that your knee isn’t supported properly when landing from a jump, so the knee rolls in and you can dislocate your knee cap, or roll your ankle.

So what can I do?

Look at your schedule throughout the year – and put in your non-dance commitments too! See where your busy and demanding periods are throughout the year and make a plan to reduce the risk of injury during those times.






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What sort of things should I do the reduce the risk of injury?

During the busy times:

1. Get enough sleep – at least 7 or 8 hours

2. Eat well – Ensure you get a balanced diet with enough calories to support your activity

3. Take breaks when you can, and rest – meditate, read a book, talk to a friend on the phone

During the not so busy times:

1. Keep up your classes and work on your weaknesses

2. Improve your strength and work on injury prevention with a professionally planned exercise program

3. Ensure you keep eating and sleeping well.

Anything else?

Other key times that can also be high risk injury times are when you return from holidays. Don’t expect your body to be able to do everything it could at the end of last term or when you last went to class. Don’t worry, it won’t take long to get it all back, but do go full on into class when you first go back to it.

If you want some help looking at your schedule, working out your main strengths and weaknesses and make a plan for the rest of 2023 to reduce your risk of injury, contact me now for a Winter Special: 1 hr Initial consultation and 1 x Follow up consultation for $150 (Regular cost $208). Must be booked by 20th July 2023

Book your initial appointment at and mention Winter Special.


Rehearsal and Performance Volume in Professional Ballet: A Five-Season Cohort Study, Shaw et al. 2023, Journal of Dance Medicine & Science 2023, Vol. 27(1) 3–12, DOI: 10.1177/1089313X231174684


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