#MindfulnessMonday: How Sara Mearns Finds Balance
It's a well-known fact that self-care is extra important for dancers. We're super busy and constantly running from school to class to rehearsal and back again. And as dancers, we deal with quite a bit of mental pressure (like our often super-intense desire to be perfect). Not to mention, we're constantly putting our bodies through intense physical stress. So, yeah, it's safe to say that finding some balance in our lives is kinda important. When dancers learn to slow down and take care of themselves, their art is truly better for it.
Which is why, on this #MindfulnessMonday, we were super inspired by New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns' interview over at Sakara Life's The S Life magazine. Mearns dishes about her wellness rituals and how she makes sure she's operating at 100%, even when her schedule's insane. And you should trust her, because not only did she just wrap up NYCB's fall season, but she's heading right into performances for The Red Shoes, which opens at New York City Center later in the week.
"I would say practicing self-care and taking time for yourself is huge," Mearns told S Life Mag. "I can get so stressed at the theater and stepping away, taking a moment to regain clarity and clear your mind is key."
She also believes dancers are athletes and, therefore, need to be treating their bodies as such. "Basically our daily life revolves around our body," she says. "We consider our body to be a sacred temple that needs and deserves the utmost care and devotion. We have to realize that we're not machines, so the more we listen to the body, the longer it can sustain such an intense physical career."
And she admits, it took her a while to learn. "In my early-to-mid twenties, I wasn't as in tune with the important balance between work and rest," Mearns explains. "I have since learned my lesson many times over, and everyone knows that my body comes first when it comes to my daily routine. I have a check list in my head of what I need to do and what parts of my body are hurting and what feels good."
Her top rituals? "Hot showers and stretching are huge morning rituals for me. At night, I take epsom salt baths, ice whatever is hurting, then rub Voltaren cream on my muscles," says Mearns. "I prioritize hydration and drink about 2 liters of water a day, and eat a healthy diet with lots of vegetables and good protein."
Read the full interview for more details about her wellness journey, and make sure to take some time out today to indulge yourself—you deserve it!
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?