Last week we gave you 4 Shoulder Stretches and this week here are 4 NECK STRETCHES. The neck is often forgotten when stretching for dance yet it has to work hard, bending and twisting, and it’s important to warm it up and make it supple before class. A good way to warm up your neck is to draw circles with your chin, starting the size of an orange then getting larger to the size of a basketball. Do both directions.

1. Start your stretching by twisting from side to side, gently squeezing as you get to the extent of your range of motion then releasing.

neck 2neck 12. Next, lift your chin to the ceiling. Think of it as stretching your throat (the front of your neck) rather than pinching at the back of your neck.

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Let your bottom jaw go slack then slowly close it up to your top jaw and feel the stretch at the front and sides of your neck.

3. Next, look down bringing your chin to your chest (without leaning forward). To increase the stretch, interlock your fingers behind your head, drop your elbows and gently push your head towards your chest with your hands.neck 3neck 5

4. And finally, tip your head sideways bringing your ear towards your shoulder (keep the shoulders as still as possible).

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You can use one arm to gently pull the head down sideways or to push the opposite shoulder down. Both will increase the stretch. Do both sides.

Always relax and breathe slowly while stretching and never stretch through pain.