Essential Eats: Top Ten Foods For Dancers
These foods are a dancer’s best bets for promoting stamina, strength and overall health.
Contains protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, folate, calcium, selenium
Eat it in calcium-fortified vanilla soymilk over your cereal, tempeh on salads, soybeans in chilis or on salads, edamame (soybeans that look like snow peas with a fuzzy outer coat that are boiled in water and salt), soy nut butter as an alternative to peanut butter, and soy-based protein powder in shakes or smoothies.
Recommended: one serving per day, which is about 1 cup of soy milk, 1⁄2 cup of soy beans, 1⁄3 cup of soy nuts, a handful of edamame, or 1 ounce of tofu (1⁄3 of a deck of cards)
Contains omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, phosphorous
Eat it grilled, baked, poached, steamed or broiled. Avoid the skin, which stores contaminants like PCBs (cancer-causing chemicals found in some bodies of water). For added calcium, try canned salmon with bones.
Recommended: 6 ounces per week, or the size of both your palms. Because of high levels of mercury—which can cause central nervous system disorders in adults, among other ailments—limit yourself to 12 ounces of fish per week, and no more than 6 ounces of the same type.
Contains vitamin C, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, zinc
Eat it raw, steamed or lightly sautéed in olive oil. Use in salads, casseroles, soups, as a side dish, in pasta sauces and on top of pizza. Maximize iron absorption by eating with a vitamin C source such as tomato or lemon.
Recommended: 1 cup raw or 1⁄2 cup cooked per day, 2-3 times per week
4. Sweet potatoes
Contain more beta-carotene than carrots or winter squash
Eat it baked, microwaved or steamed, then cube and toss into a salad or casserole.
Recommended: 1 potato, 2-3 times per week
Perk: will satisfy your sweet tooth.
Contain omega-3 fatty acids (one of the few plant sources), vitamin E, B-vitamins, magnesium, manganese, potassium
Eat it on cereal and salads or in yogurt; pair with raisins or dried figs for an energizing mid-afternoon snack.
Recommended: 11⁄2 ounces per day (about 21 halves)
Perk: may reduce risk for heart disease.
Contain soluble fiber, selenium, the B-vitamin thiamin, potassium, zinc
Eat it mixed with water, milk or soymilk for a low-calorie snack (80 calories per 1⁄2 cup cooked oatmeal).
Recommended: one bowl daily
Perks: Oats are natural anti-inflammatories, can help stabilize blood sugar, and soothe dry skin when applied topically. Instant oatmeal also makes an easy-to-pack studio snack.
Contain vitamin C, potassium, fiber
Eat it on cereal or pancakes or in yogurt, muffin mixes or smoothies.
Recommended: 1⁄2 cup daily
Perk: Blueberries are especially good for protecting cells from cancer-causing free radicals that are generated during exercise.
Contains protein, calcium, phosphorus, B-vitamins
Eat it unrefrigerated—contrary to popular myth, yogurt doesn’t need to be kept cold. Choose reduced or nonfat to keep intake of animal fats (which cause inflammation) low. If you’re lactose-intolerant, try soy yogurt.
Recommended: 1 single-serving carton per day
Perk: Acidophilus, the active cultures found in yogurt, helps digestion and immune function.
Contains fiber, beta-carotene, vitamin C, calcium, indoles
Eat it raw, steamed or sautéed; buy frozen or fresh.
Recommended: 1 cup, 2-3 times per week
10. Olive oil
Contains healthy unsaturated fats
Eat it in salad dressings, or use for cooking.
Recommended: 2-3 tablespoons per day
Perks: Using olive oil instead of animal and saturated fats like butter, margarine, mayonnaise and shortening will help lower cholesterol and prevent inflammation, which is especially important if you’re developing arthritis.
Marie Scioscia is a nutritionist in NYC who works with dancers and athletes.
What's more daunting than getting into your dream college dance program? Figuring out how you'll cover the costs of tuition, room and board, incidental expenses and more. Here's the good news: The right scholarship(s) can bring your dream school well within reach.
Look Around, Look Around
Scholarship applications are due between the fall of senior year and graduation time, so familiarize yourself with funding opportunities during the spring of junior year. And there are a lot of opportunities out there, says Kate Walker, chair of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX. "A lot of school guidance counselors now have software that automatically matches you with scholarships," she says.
Seek out scholarships on your own, too. According to Walker, "a lot of corporations are required to have some community engagement, including offering scholarships, so research corporations in your community." Your parents' employers might offer assistance too, says Doug Long, an academic and college counselor at Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, MI. "They might have scholarships you can apply for just because your parent works there."
Other sources of grant money you won't have to pay back (as you would a loan)? The YoungArts Foundation; competitions/conventions, like New York City Dance Alliance; and the university or dance department you're applying to. Even some scholarships aimed at athletes are open to dancers!
A winning scholarship application involves a fair amount of paperwork, especially if the organization requires you to show financial need. In addition, certain scholarships ask for the College Board's CSS/Financial Aid Profile, which gives the awarding organization a more complete picture of your family finances.
Other ingredients of a successful scholarship application include recommendation letters, a dance and/or academic resumé and an essay or statement of purpose. Treat these components just like college applications: Have multiple trusted adults proofread your materials, and ask for recommendation letters or transcripts long before deadlines.
A note for non-dance scholarships: Including objective measures of achievement can only help you. "List national recognitions, like YoungArts or other competitions," says Long. "That shows the scholarship committees that people at high levels have acknowledged you as an artist of quality." And don't forget who your audience is. "Especially in writing samples, make sure you paint a vivid picture for your reader," Walker says. "Don't assume they know about all the things—like barre every day—that we as dancers take for granted."
No award amount is too small to be worth your time and effort. As Walker says, "Don't pooh-pooh a couple hundred dollars in award money, because any scholarship is funding that you didn't have yesterday."
A version of this story appeared in the July/August 2017 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "All Aboard the Scholar-ship."
Every ballet dancer knows the time, sweat, and occasional tears the art form demands. But many non-dancers are clueless about just how much work a ballet dancer puts into perfecting his or her dancing. So when the mainstream crowd recognizes our crazy work ethic, we'll accept the round of applause any way it comes—even if it comes via four men in tutus. Yep, we're talking about "The Try Guys Try Ballet" video.
Remember that fabulous old-school clip of dancers tapping in pointe shoes that Tabitha and Napoleon D'umo brought to our attention back in March? As we mentioned then, toe-tap dancing was actually super popular back in the 1920s and 30s—which means there are more videos where that one came from. And because #ToeTapTuesday has a nice ring to it, we thought we'd take this opportunity to introduce you to Dick and Edith Barstow, a toe-tapping brother and sister duo from that era who are nothing short of incredible:
Guess who's back? Back again? The Academy's back! Tell a friend.
After one day at The Academy, the All Stars have successfully taken the Top 100 down to 62. But their work is just getting started: Now they need to keep narrowing the field to a Top 10, ultimately deciding who each will partner with during the live shows.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns is some SERIOUS #goals. Her strength and power onstage borders on superhuman. But what's extra magical about Mearns is that she really puts in the fitness and cross-training work outside of the rehearsal studio. And she's overcome her fair share of injuries. Which is why she was the perfect source for Vogue's latest ballet fitness story.