Many people stretch before and after physical activities in order to minimize soreness. But contrary to popular belief, stretching has no effect on muscle soreness. Two independent reports released in 2003 and 2007 reviewed studies focusing on the effect of stretching on muscle soreness, and both concluded that stretching does not prevent muscle soreness.
In total, the two reports reviewed over 360 studies that tested the effect of stretching before and after physical activity on muscle soreness. It was determined that there is little to no correlation between the two. This is logical because people stretch to increase their range of motion, but most muscle injuries occur within the regular range of motion. In fact, stretching before a workout is detrimental for weight lifters, since stretching decreases the tensile strength of muscles.
However, this does not mean that people shouldn’t stretch before or after physical activity. Maintaining a joint’s range of motion is important, especially since joints naturally become less flexible with age. In addition, the studies did not observe whether stretching enhances athletic performance, which is almost certain for flexibility-oriented sports such as dance. Ultimately, it looks like stretching is beneficial and worthwhile, despite the fact that it does not prevent muscle soreness.