Three ways stretching can help you:
1. Stretching improves flexibility.
2. Stretching reduces risk of injury.
3. Stretching reduces soreness.
Lets look at these ideas more deeply.
1. More flexibility. A few dancers are “noodles”. They can twist themselves into pretzels. They don’t need more flexibility. Most of us are not like that. Most of us need to stretch to get the freedom of good turnout. We need to stretch to get the soaring arabesques and the effortless extensions that are so beautiful.
2. Fewer injuries. Have you ever kicked your leg up with too much force and pulled your hamstring muscle? Or maybe you fell and pulled something. Dancers who are flexible are less likely to get these types of injuries because their muscles can handle the unexpected stretch.
3. Less sore. When you work a muscle hard or in a new way, it will often be sore for a couple of days. For example, it you lift your leg to the front and hold it until it trembles, your thigh muscles (quadraceps) are probably going to be sore. If you stretch them out right away, you increase the flow of blood to the overworked muscle and it will not be as sore.
Stretch gently. Stretch safely. But stretch!