One of our favorite holiday activities (besides going to see the Radio City Rockettes and The Nutcracker) is baking yummy treats. Make your recipes healthier with these easy baking substitutions. You shouldn’t use all of them in one recipe, but by choosing a couple, you can enjoy your favorite desserts with a little less guilt.
Instead of: One cup of regular chocolate chips
Use: One-half cup of mini chocolate chips
Instead of: Whole-fat varieties of cream cheese, sour cream or evaporated milk
Use: Non-fat or low-fat varieties
Instead of: Whole or two-percent milk
Use: Skim or one-percent milk
Instead of: One egg
Use: Two egg whites
Instead of: The entire amount of shortening (butter, oil, margarine)
Use: Applesauce for half of the shortening
Tip: When baking light, lower the oven temperature by 25 degrees or cut the baking time by a few minutes. Desserts with less fat cook quicker.
Bake a Batch of Holiday Cheer
Sometimes, after all those long hours of rehearsal, you just want (and deserve!) to indulge. Try these scrumptious sugar cookies.
2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sour cream
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Frosting and sprinkles (optional)
1. Using an electric mixer, cream the sugar and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and sour cream until well combined. Slowly add in the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
2. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
3. Once chilled, roll and cut the dough into shapes. (Try the ballerina cookie cutter pictured!)
4. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 11 minutes. Remove and let cool.
5. Frost and decorate if desired.
Tip: Skip the frosting. Opt for fresh fruit with a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
A Spoonful of Honey
There’s only one thing worse than trying to rehearse with a cough: the taste of cough medicine. The next time you’re coughing up a storm, swallow a spoonful (two teaspoons) of honey instead. This all-natural cough remedy is not only tasty, it can actually be more effective than some over-the-counter cough syrups, according to a study at Penn State College of Medicine. Honey is high in antioxidants and coats and soothes the throat for instant relief.
Morning Tea Time
Have you ever stumbled into the bathroom before an early morning rehearsal and found yourself sporting puffy, red eyes? Try this: Steep two tea bags in boiling water, wring them out and stick them in the fridge or freezer until cooled but not frozen. Then place them on your eyelids for 5 to 10 minutes to help get the blood circulating and reduce swelling.
Quick Tip: Just one medium-sized orange provides 100 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin C. So during flu season, eat an orange a day to keep the doctor away!
Harper Watters is a ballet dancer for today's generation. A social media maestro and a charismatic performer, the Houston Ballet soloist is equally at home in front of the camera hosting his hit YouTube series, "The Pre Show"; interacting with fans on his crazy-popular Instagram account; or showing off his beautiful classical technique onstage. It's a multifaceted identity that's proven to be invaluable to his career—and it's taking him to places he never even dreamed of.
Getting corrections from our dance instructors is how we grow, and as students, it's important that we do our best to apply every correction right away. But sometimes—whether it's because we're in physical pain, or have a lot on our minds, or are just not paying attention—those corrections don't sink in. And from a teacher's standpoint, giving the same corrections time and time again gets old very fast. Here are 10 important corrections dance teachers are tired of giving. Take them to heart!
The dancers who take our breath away are the risk-takers, the ones who appear completely fearless onstage. "When you see somebody trying to travel more, go farther, push the limits of their physical abilities, that's always going to be inspiring," says Ballet BC dancer Alexis Fletcher.
But dance training can feel like it's in conflict with that idea. We spend thousands of hours in the studio trying to do steps perfectly, and that pursuit of perfection can make us anxious about taking risks. What if we fail? What if we fall?
Luckily, fearlessness is a mental skill that you can work on, just as you work on your technique. Here's how you can learn to push yourself past your limits.
When we think of a dancer who's broken barriers, American Ballet Theatre principal Misty Copeland tends to be the name that comes to mind. And though Copeland has been a crucial advocate for equality in the world of ballet, Raven Wilkinson—a mentor of Copeland's—is considered one of the original pioneers of the movement.
In 1955, Wilkinson became the first African American to dance with the renowned Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo. Her fortitude in the face of bigotry and hate cemented her legacy. Now, with the release of the new children's book Trailblazer: The Story of Ballerina Raven Wilkinson, a new generation of dancers will be inspired by her tale of overcoming obstacles to achieve a dream.
The book details Wilkinson's life, from her experience as a young dancer training in Harlem, to her run-ins with the Ku Klux Klan while on tour with Ballet Russe, to her later ballet career in Europe. "There were times where my heart really hurt because of the situations I had to deal with," she says. "But I always had faith that I was made to be a dancer and that I was gonna dance."
Dance Spirit spoke with Wilkinson to discuss the new book and get her take on racial equality within the ballet world.
Postmodern pioneer Trisha Brown redefined how dance is seen and felt. A founding member of Judson Dance Theater, Brown frequently collaborated with other experimental artists like Yvonne Rainer, Merce Cunningham, Twyla Tharp, and Steve Paxton.
She embraced pedestrian movement, pairing everyday gesture with rhythm and fluidity. "It's liquid," says Wendy Perron, who danced with Brown in the '60s and '70s. "Like a river with many tributaries, water coming out of a faucet, or being on a raft and seeing the water move away in different directions." Brown also pushed beyond stages with choreography in fields, museums—even on the sides of buildings.
There's a common misconception that a dancer's body has to be thin. But the truth is that talent knows no body type, and the number on the scale never determines an artist's capabilities. Here are some extraordinary dancers fighting the stereotype of what a dancer "should" look like.