5 Ways to Stay Warm for Outdoor Dance Performances

T ake it from us: Between the bone-chilling temperatures and too-icy-to-handle wind chills, the season’s elements can make it challenging to stay warm when we perform an outdoor event like the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade! But we don’t let the temps outdoors intimidate us. When the mercury plummets, follow these five ways to dance—not shiver—your way through your outdoor performance.

Minimize your time outdoors. It may seem intuitive to want to “get used to” the drop in temps from your warm-up space to the chilly outdoors, but, minimizing your time outside is best. When your body is exposed to chilly temperatures, it begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced.

Keep moving. So you’ve left the heated indoors, and now you and your dance teammates can see your breath as you wait to start the show. The last thing you want is to get injured because your muscles are getting cold and stiff while you wait around—once you’ve done your full-body warm-up, stillness is your enemy. The key is to keep moving! Try doing things like dynamic stretching, ab work, tendus, arm swings, jogging in place or practicing your choreography to stay warm.

Layer up. When it’s chilly outside, you want to keep your muscles and joints warm by insulating them. Make sure to choose moisture-wicking fabrics (cotton can sop up sweat and hold it close to your body) that will keep your skin dry as you work up a sweat—yep, you still sweat when it’s cold out! Besides layering up, be sure to protect your ears, hands and feet: When you’re exposed to the cold, your body focuses its attention on keeping your vitals safe and sends blood to your core to protect your organs, leaving your ears, hands and feet vulnerable.

Stay hydrated. Don’t wait to be thirsty to guzzle down some water! When you’re out in the cold weather, your body continues to sweat, but that sweat evaporates more quickly into the dry air. Drink plenty of water and hot beverages before, during and after your performance to help retain your body heat and keep dehydration at bay.

Visualize. There’s something to be said about visualizing yourself lying on a beach chair with the sun beating down on you, sand in your toes, the smell of the ocean breeze … ahh, getting warmer, right?!