Jazz Stretch Routine for Jazz Dancers

01
of 10

Stretch to the Right

Right leg stretch
Right leg stretch. Photo © Tracy Wicklund

Jazz dancing requires great flexibility. The following stretches will loosen your muscles and wake up your body for dancing. By warming up with this routine, you will increase your flexibility and decrease your risk of injury.

While performing these stretches, avoid bouncing or rocking, which will increase muscle tension and lead to injury. Instead, try to hold the stretches while focusing on your breathing. Use your exhale to move into each stretch more deeply, but never exceed your own body's limitations.

  • Stand with legs apart in the second position, distributing your weight evenly between both legs.
  • Bending at the waist, stretch down toward your right leg.
  • Allow the upper body to drop toward the right leg, making contact if possible.
  • Let the left hand rest beside the right ankle.
  • Your right hand should rest softly on your back, allowing for a nice stretch along the chest.
  • Make sure your knees remain straight.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, without forcing.
02
of 10

Stretch to the Left

Left leg stretch
Left leg stretch. Photo © Tracy Wicklund
  • Stand with legs apart in the second position, distributing your weight evenly between both legs.
  • Bending at the waist, stretch down toward your left leg.
  • Allow the upper body to drop toward the left leg, making contact if possible.
  • Let the right hand rest beside the left ankle.
  • Your left hand should rest softly on your back, allowing for a nice stretch along the chest.
  • Make sure your knees remain straight.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds, without forcing.
03
of 10

Stretch to the Center

Center leg stretch
Center leg stretch. Photo © Tracy Wicklund
  • Stand with your legs apart in the second position, weight evenly distributed between both legs.
  • Bending at the waist, reach down and grab the ankles of both legs.
  • Keep your heels on the floor and your knees straight.
  • Use your arms for added resistance to stretch your torso down between your legs.
  • Allow your head to fall naturally without straining the neck.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
04
of 10

Body Roll - Jazz Stretch Body Roll

Body roll
Body roll. Photo © Tracy Wicklund
  • From a center stretch position, roll up to a standing position.
  • Lead with the hips, allowing the back to roll up one vertebra at a time.
  • Your head should follow the rest of the body.
  • Try to keep your shoulders down and your knees straight.
05
of 10

Torso Side Stretch

Side torso stretch
Side torso stretch. Photo © Tracy Wicklund
  • Stand with feet apart in the second position, hands on your hips.
  • Bending at the waist, stretch your left arm over your head, reaching toward the right side.
  • Keep your hips square and your knees straight.
  • Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
  • Repeat to the left side.
06
of 10

Flat Back Stretch

Flat back stretch
Flat back stretch. Photo © Tracy Wicklund
  • Stand with feet together, back straight and shoulders relaxed.
  • Reach both hands up above the head.
  • Bend at the waist, reaching forward with both hands.
  • Keep your knees straight and your back perfectly flat.
  • Keep your arms by your ears.
  • Make sure your head and neck are relaxed.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
07
of 10

Flat Back Drop Stretch

Flat back drop stretch
Flat back drop stretch. Photo © Tracy Wicklund
  • From the flat backstretch position, allow your body to stretch down to the floor.
  • Keep your knees and arms straight.
  • If you are very flexible, use your arms to pull your torso down against your legs.
  • Hold for 30 seconds.
08
of 10

Point and Flex Leg Stretch

Point and flex leg stretch
Point and flex leg stretch. Photo © Tracy Wicklund
  • Lie on your back with your legs straight, your weight supported by your lower arms and elbows.
  • Raise your right leg up into the air.
  • Hold your leg as close to your head as is comfortable.
  • Keeping your knee straight, alternately point and flex the toes of the raised foot.
  • Switch legs and point and flex the left foot.
09
of 10

Side Straddle Split Stretch

Side straddle split stretch
Side straddle split stretch. Photo © Tracy Wicklund
  • Sit in a straddle position, extending your legs as far as you are comfortable.
  • Reach toward your right leg with your left arm, stretching your right arm toward your opposite leg.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
  • Repeat to the left side.
10
of 10

Center Straddle Split Stretch

Center straddle split stretch
Center straddle split stretch. Photo © Tracy Wicklund
  • Sit in a wide straddle position, legs extended as far as is comfortable.
  • Without bending the knees, reach to the center.
  • Stretch as far as you can while maintaining a flat back.
  • Try to lay your body on the floor, using your hands as support.
  • Hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.