We love Kashi Trail Mix Chewy Granola Bars (courtesy Kashi)
There’s no doubt about it: Competitions are stressful. You’re often stuck shuttling between dressing rooms, ballrooms and hotel rooms, usually without access to healthy food—or refrigerators. That’s why we enlisted Peggy Swistak, MS, RD, CD, of Pacific Northwest Ballet, to share a list of nonperishable snacking staples that will ensure you have the energy you need to perform your best.
Your Grocery List
- tuna packets
- whole-wheat pita chips
- whole-wheat rice cakes
- unsalted whole-wheat
- mini whole-wheat or raisin bagels
- breakfast bars
- dried fruit
- mixed nuts
- peanut butter
Mix and match these healthy ingredients to make your own tasty snacks!
Swistak says: Snacks should include some high-fiber carbohydrates (for energy), low-fat protein (for staying power) and healthy fat (to help your body absorb nutrients).
Swistak’s Favorite Snack Combos
- apple slices with peanut butter
- a breakfast bar with peanut butter
- half a small bagel with peanut butter
- a banana and a handful of nuts
- a small handful of whole-wheat pita chips, rice cakes or pretzels with hummus
If you’ll have access to a cooler, pick up some (protein-packed) low-fat yogurt, string cheese and hummus packets (we love Sabra Hummus Singles) to add to your snack mix.
Portion control is key! According to Swistak, a snack is 150-–200 calories (or up to 250 on a day you’re dancing nonstop). When it comes to peanut butter, keep your serving to 1 tablespoon.
DID YOU KNOW?
Blinking may give your brain a much-needed break, helping you process the corrections your teacher gave you during that last adagio. Researchers at Osaka University in Japan claim we blink for more reasons than to keep our eyes moist—a blink might actually tell our brains to switch into processing mode after receiving information.
TALK YOUR NERVES AWAY
You know the feeling: You’re standing in the wings waiting to perform when you catch a glimpse of the enormous audience, including all your family and friends. Suddenly you’re overtaken by stage fright. The cure? Talk it out with other dancers backstage. According to a recent study at the University of California, Los Angeles, describing feelings of anxiety the moment you recognize them can help you feel less afraid.
FEELING DOWN IN THE DUMPS? Wake up earlier! A new study at the University of Toronto found that early risers tend to have a more positive outlook than those who sleep late.
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!
Summer intensive auditions can be nerve-racking. A panel of directors is watching your every move, and you're not even sure if you can be seen among the hundreds of other dancers in the room. We asked five summer intensive directors for their input on how dancers can make a positive impression—and even be remembered next year.
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.
We always love a good halftime performance. And we LIVE for halftime performances involving talented kids. (Fingers and toes crossed that Justin Timberlake follows Missy Elliott's lead and invites some fabulous littles to share his Super Bowl stage.)
So obviously, our hearts completely melted for 5-year-old Tavaris Jones. Tavaris may have just started kindergarten, but during Monday night's game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors, the Detroit native danced with the panache of a veteran pro at halftime.