Need a Breather?
Do you get nervous or overwhelmed when auditioning, performing or taking an intimidating class? Relax! Stress can hinder your performance and even cause injury. DS asked Rebecca Dietzel, an anatomist and former dancer who teaches for The Ailey/Fordham BFA program, for some simple breathing exercises that will help you control your nerves and stay focused. Try them the moment you start to feel anxious or stressed.
You’re backstage waiting to perform and feeling jittery and shaky.
• Using your thumb, gently press on the outside of your nose, blocking your right nostril. Slowly inhale and exhale through your left nostril.
• Repeat on opposite side.
• Repeat as necessary.
You’re in bed the night before a big audition, but you can’t seem to calm your mind and fall asleep.
• Lie flat on your back and place your palms on your lower abdomen.
• As you inhale slowly through your nose, allow your abdomen to rise.
• As you exhale, concentrate on slowly lowering your abdomen. Be sure not to force the air out at the very end.
• Repeat as necessary.
Your back-to-back classes are overwhelming and you feel tense.
• Stand with your feet slightly apart and your arms at your sides.
• While inhaling, slowly raise your arms above your head with your palms facing up and clasp your fingers. Exhale in this position.
• Inhale again, stretching upward while keeping your hands clasped and raising your shoulders.
• Exhale, letting your arms and shoulders fall slowly, while keeping your rib cage lengthened and expanded.
• Repeat as necessary.
We all know that salads are healthy and nutritious and that we should be eating them often, but sometimes they just aren’t filling enough. Instead of piling on croutons, cheese and salad dressings, which are high in fat and contain preservatives and additives, opt for some garbanzo beans (a.k.a. chickpeas). Garbanzo beans have a nutty, buttery flavor that makes a salad heartier and more satisfying. Plus, these powerful little beans are high in protein, fiber and energy-boosting minerals. So dig in!
Did You Know?
The tight, confined, sweaty space in your pointe shoe is the ideal breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. Try soaking your feet in cool tea for 15 minutes a day for one week, or sprinkle some crushed sage leaves into your pointe shoes before you dance. Tea and sage are high in tannic acid, which reduces sweating and odor significantly.
Quick Tip: Stretching not only improves your flexibility, but also helps deliver oxygen and important nutrients to your muscles. Plus, it makes it easier to burn calories during exercise. So reserve a few minutes before rehearsal and after class to stretch.
Have we mentioned lately how much we love dance dads? Especially ones who show up to their daughter's ballet class sporting a tutu, like Thanh Tran.
You've seen it a million times: A glamorous, toned dancer posts a perfectly styled shot of her colorful smoothie bowl. The caption gushes about how great you'll feel if you eat "clean"—but what does that actually mean? DS asked registered dietitian/nutritionist Rachel Fine and holistic health coach (and founder of The Whole Dancer) Jess Spinner for all of the dirt.
In our "Dear Katie" series, former NYCB soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email email@example.com a chance to be featured!
I'm being bullied by one of the girls at my studio, and it's awful. I've talked to my dance teacher and confronted the bully directly, but it hasn't made a difference. What should I do?
Bunheads, this one's for you. They say you can tell a Nutcracker by its "Snow" scene—and we fully believe it. There are so many versions with extra goodies—olive branches! Fake snow! Sleds! Choirs! Snow queens!—and each brings a special something to the holiday favorite. But do you know which ballet has what?
Consistent turns are a must for aspiring professional dancers, but pretty much everyone struggles with pirouettes at some point. Luckily, since we're all beholden to the same rules of physics, there are concrete steps every dancer can take to reach his or her top turning potential. “Three is the new two when it comes to pirouettes, but the secret to turning is technique, not magic," says Bojan Spassoff, president and director of The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia.
Falling out of your doubles? Aspiring to go revolution for revolution with your class's star turner? No matter where you lie on the turning spectrum, our 360-degree guide to pirouettes will help you improve.
You rehearse your group routine to perfection, but when the big performance rolls around, everyone turns into speed demons. It's the runaway-train effect—and it only takes one loud tapper, or zippy turner, to throw the whole group off the music.
While nerves and excitement are partly to blame, the ability to keep to tempo begins in the studio. A well-developed sense of musicality is your best defense against the dreaded speed trap. "When you understand how the steps fit with the music, going too fast won't just feel like rushing," says Jeremy Arnold, lecturer of tap at the University of Texas at Austin. "It'll feel wrong." How can dancers develop that musicality? It all starts with learning to listen.
You're probably already following your favorite dancers on Instagram, but did you know that you can follow many of their dogs, too? We rounded up some of our favorite dog-centered accounts and hashtags to keep you pawsitively entertained (sorry, we can't help ourselves).
Let's face it—spare time is pretty tough to come by when you're a dancer. You're either rushing to get ready for rehearsal, rushing to rehearsal, a combo of the two, or in rehearsal (or performing, or in class, or at an audition...you get the picture). Well here at DS, we understand the struggle is REAL, which is why we've rounded up our favorite foolproof makeup hacks, approved by resident #LazyGirl when it comes to makeup (spoiler alert: it's me). On to the hacks!
Kalea (pronounced kah-LAY-uh) Hidalgo knows how to move. Her decisive, dynamic dancing commands the stage: She gobbles up space so confidently it's hard to believe you're watching a mere tween. Unsurprisingly, that presence and power have started turning heads in a serious way. Not only did Talia Favia choreograph one of her solos in 2017, but Kalea also recently signed with Bloc Talent Agency in L.A. and, last summer, placed first overall in the junior contemporary solo category at Radix Nationals.
"When you're out on the dance floor, don't ask for permission—ask for forgiveness."—Kalea Hidalgo
Taylor Swift is #blessed in many ways: She's got a great voice, insane song writing skills, and, to quote her new hit single, she's "Gorgeous." She is not, however, blessed in the dance department. But that doesn't stop her from busting out the occasional dance move. In fact, Swift likes to playfully show off her less-than-stellar dancing, be it in her music videos (hello, "Shake It Off") or at music award shows. So we weren't surprised when during the latest episode of her "Making of a Song" series for AT&T, she unveiled a new endearingly awkward maneuver, which she's dubbed the "dolphin body roll"—and it practically had friend and producer Jack Antonoff rolling on the floor!🤣