Warm Up With the Celtics Dancers
Celtics Dancers image provided by the Boston Celtics
When the Celtics hit the hardwood tonight, they won’t be the only athletes on the court. The Celtics Dancers are real athletes. These girls are professional dancers and auditioned from all over the country. Many moved to Boston specifically to be a part of this team. They range in age from 18 to 28. (The minimum age is 18, but there is no maximum age.) The girls train two to three times a week at Boston Sports Clubs in addition to working the games and a plethora of promotional events. Marina Ortega, director of the Celtics Dancers, says that their commitment is beyond just games and practices. They live and breathe the Celtics for almost a year of their lives. They learn 10 choreographed routines before the season even starts and have a repertoire of more than 30 routines by season’s end.
Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to look like a Celtics Dancer. It takes hard work, determination, and, of course, dancing skills. But you can take the moves they use to get ready for a game and incorporate them into your workout routine. Check out their stretching series below:
Forward bend: Start slow with a forward bend by putting feet together, roll down and hold. Let your body hang to loosen the back and hamstrings. Repeat two to three times. Then do it again but in second position (feet turned out, heels about about a foot apart).
Let your head hang and loosen your neck. The dancers do a lot of sharp head movements so it is important to loosen the muscles.
Quad and hamstring stretches: The dancers do a lot of kicking so it is important to stretch out the hamstrings. An easy hamstring stretch is to just sit on the floor with legs straight out, about six inches apart and reach over as far as you can and grab your ankles or toes.
The dancers do a lot of jumping and the quads, which are tight muscles, need to be stretched out. One of their stretches to loosen the quads is to start in a lunge (pictured) and bend the back leg towards your butt. Grab your foot with the opposite arm and hold for 10 seconds.
Plies, downward dog, and athletic stretches: The dancers incorporate ballet, yoga, and athletic stretches into their workout. When coming up from downward dog, reach one leg to the ceiling (pictured) for an amazing leg and back stretch. Then place both feet back on the ground and raise the other leg.
Splits and side-stretches: Ortega says that the deepest type of hamstring stretch is a split. If you can’t do a split, (don’t worry, we can’t either) just go as far as you can go without too much strain. Sit in a straddle (pictured) and raise one arm up to the ceiling and stretch to the opposite side. This stretch really opens up the rib cage.
What are some of your favorite stretches? Tell us in the comments!