In the last few classes and auditions, I have taken, not one of them had an adequate warm up from a fitness/physical activity/scientific point of view.
A warm up should meet certain criteria:
Raise the heart rate
Mobilise the joints
What this should achieve is:
Increase blood flow to your muscles – enhancing the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.
Warms your muscles to promote energy releasing reactions, and makes the muscle more supple.
Prepares the muscles for stretching.
Prepares your heart for an increase in activity.
Prepares you mentally for upcoming movements.
Primes your nerve-to-muscle pathways.
Prevents unnecessary stress and fatigue.
If you are not meeting each of the three criteria, you are leaving yourself open to potential injuries, and a lower class potential. I also know this because I have made these mistakes before! (You always learn from your mistakes.)
As a physical body, you should know how to warm yourself up, especially for dance as it has constantly changing directions, levels, and dynamics, and is complex in its movements.
I feel that in dance, especially contemporary styles, we have a characteristic that is shy or just lazy about a proper warm up, even in auditions.
No one else is jogging or moving to raise their heart rate. No one else is doing full range of motion mobilisations. No one else is doing dynamic stretches. What is everyone doing? Downward dog, sat in second position, controlled push-ups ... Audition starts. Teacher says “are you warm?” Every one smiles... “The phrase starts like his”.
A simple warm up can be done in 5-10 minutes. You can jog to class, get your heart rate up, and mobilise when you get there. Jog around the studio then do a few burpies, followed by some dynamic stretches.
The idea is not just to "get warm" it is to prepaire your body for the stresses you are about to put on it. The neuromuscular system needs waking up. If the nerves dont know what is happening or have been prepaired for large ranges of motion then they are going to try to protect you by contracting the lengthened muscle, keeping you in a 'safe' range, this is when you start pulling muscles.
As a professional dancer it is your responsibility to do this warm up, although I also feel teachers should revise the start of their classes to keep their students safe and set an example to educate the dancers attending their classes.
Most of us know all this stuff so don't be shy about doing it. Bang on a wicked house track or your favorite song from Glee. Make a little warm up routine you can do any where for the length of that song. Remind and Inspire each other to literally be “hot stuff”.