Beat The After-Christmas Blues
For all those that celebrate, we hope you had a fabulous holiday! Today, some of you may already be headed straight back to Nutcracker madness (we got you), but others might actually have a few days off (woo!). Now that the festivities are over and the excitement is dying down, there's a seemingly-endless (and dance class-less) winter break stretched out ahead of you. Cue, the inevitable #breakboredom.
(We feel you, Emma. SAME.)
But, don't worry! Dance Spirit is here to keep you occupied (and productive) with our list of dancer-approved activities. From endless inspiration from your fave dance celebs to the best ways to reset your body, you'll head back to the studio in 2017 feeling refreshed and motivated.
1. Let yourself relax!
Seriously, dancers work SUPER hard all year—you deserve to lounge around. It's perfectly acceptable to binge-watch dance video after dance video like this. This. And THIS. Make sure to let any nagging sore muscles or injuries get fully rested so they can heal. Try out these restorative yoga and meditation exercises to reset your body or pamper your tired, overworked feet with this simple soak.
2. Do some winter cleaning.
Break is the perfect time to finally clean out, organize and restock your dance bag with all the essentials. Not only does it get a little (A LOT) smelly, but you're probably also lugging around tons of stuff you don't even need. And don't forget your make-up bag! Did you know mascara expires after only 6 weeks? Once you rid yourself of all your old products, check out the ones these pros swear by for their stage-perfect looks.
3. Try out new recipes.
Get a jump on your New Year nutrition plan by discovering a few new, delicious recipes. Experiment with these yummy smoothie combos to find your fave go-to or learn how to bake these healthy homemade energy bars. By the time 2017 rolls around you'll be a pro at making healthy, on-the-go treats to eat before class or rehearsal.
4. Get inspired.
It's super important to let your body rest over break, but it's also important to let your mind rest, too. Let go of any criticism you took too personally last year and relinquish yourself from the pressure to be perfect—we can't grow as artists if our minds are crowded with negativity. Then, take a scroll through our Letter to My Teenage Self archives. It's a magical place where all of our favorite dance celebs (Teddy Forance! Stella Abrera! Michelle Dorrance!) open up and share their best advice, insight and wisdom. You'll hit the studio fully motivated to become the best that you can be.
5. Learn something new.
Did you know that flamenco dancers are known for having insane musicality? Or that belly dance can inspire self confidence and celebrates femininity? Take a trip around the dance world and read our fascinating stories about everything from Irish to West African dance. Or learn about what contemporary dance looks like in other countries (hint: it looks pretty dang awesome).
6. Refine your 2017 #goals.
Feeling newly rested and motivated? Then it's a great time to reevaluate where you're at—and where you want to be next year. Picture what your perfect 2017 dance year looks like, and write down specific ways you can accomplish it. Think about the things you want to improve on, or the gigs you want to book. Planning on making the move to NYC? Read about what these NYC newbies wished someone had told them first. Wanting to take class in LA? Learn all the cool dancer hot spots in our L.A. guide. Or maybe you're just hoping to make the jump from convention attendee to assistant. Whatever your 2017 goals are, we've been there—and have all the tips and tricks that'll help you succeed.
Happy break dancers!
Misty Copeland. Her name is synonymous with exquisite artistry and outspoken advocacy. And her visibility has made a huge impact on the ballet world. Ballet's relationship with race has always been strained at best, hostile at worst. But Copeland's persistent message and star quality have finally forced the ballet industry to start talking about racial diversity, inclusivity, and representation. "The rarity of seeing ourselves represented is sad," Copeland says. "The more we see every hue and body shape represented on the stage, the more possibilities young dancers feel they have for themselves."
"Whole, low-fat, or skim?" The question of which milk to drink has gotten a little more complicated lately, with a wide variety of nondairy milks popping up in grocery stores. To find out which ones are worth your milk money, we had registered dietitian Monika Saigal answer some FAQs.
Yesterday, the dance community was heartbroken to learn that Jaime Guttenberg and Cara Loughran, both 14-year-old dancers, were among the 17 people killed on Valentine's Day in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL.
American Ballet Theatre principal Sarah Lane charms audiences with her bright energy and crisp technique. The San Francisco, CA, native first started dancing at age 4 at a local community center, and at age 7 started training in Memphis, TN, at the Classical Ballet Memphis. Her family later moved to Rochester, NY, where she continued studying at the Draper Center for Dance Education. In 2002, she was a YoungArts Foundation winner in dance, allowing her to become a U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts. She joined American Ballet Theatre as an apprentice in 2003, was made a soloist in 2007, and was promoted to principal last fall. Recently, she originated the role of Princess Praline in Alexei Ratmansky's Whipped Cream. Catch her later this spring during ABT's Metropolitan Opera season. —Courtney Bowers
You and I both know that dancing is the best thing since chocolate chip cookies! But its always nice when dance gets the recognition it deserves from non–dance-world peeps. That's why we did our own happy dance when we saw Shape magazine's article on how dancing can actually make you a better athlete.
When Ruby Castro became a Top 10 finalist on "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 13, she was a fresh, feisty new face to most at-home viewers. But in the dance world—particularly on the ballroom circuit—Ruby was already a household name. Miami-based Ruby grew up as a belle of the ballroom: Her parents, Manny and Lory Castro, are veritable superstars of the scene. They're the owners of Dance Town, an ultra-competitive studio in Doral, FL, and raised Ruby to follow in their furiously fast footsteps. Before she graced the "SYT" stage, Ruby had already been named a U.S. Junior Champion in Latin Ballroom, and competed on "America's Got Talent"—twice!
So, we know she's talented, we know she's versatile, we know she's stunning, and we know she can dance. But here's what you may not know about Ruby.
You know that thing when you're onstage at a competition and you catch your teacher unconsciously marking through every step of the choreography in the wings, just willing you and the rest of the group to dance perfectly?
Yeah—that happens in ice dancing, too. Case in point: the scene at the Olympic rink yesterday, as Canadian ice-dancing legends Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir skated their way to their third Olympic gold.
Obviously, their performance was all kinds of epic. But the off-ice "performance" given by their coach, Marie-France Dubreuil, was EVERYTHING.
Photo by Travis Kelley, courtesy Kathryn Morgan
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!
I want to dance in a ballet company, but I'm insecure about my body. I'm not skinny, and I don't think I ever will be, because that's just not the way I'm built. Please be honest with me: If I don't have the traditional ballet body, do I have a future in professional ballet?