Six Dance Bag Must-Haves + Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness
Megan Fairchild in George Balanchine's Theme and Variations (by Paul Kolnik)
Six Dance Bag Must-Haves
Whether you’re spending your summer competing at Nationals, taking classes at your studio or training at an intensive, it’s important to make sure nothing stops you from dancing your best. Muscle cramps, blisters and even jittery nerves can all be alleviated—if you’re prepared! We caught up with New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild to find out the dance bag items that keep her on her A-game.
1. Paper towels. “I use fresh paper towels in my pointe shoes as padding for each time I wear them. They keep my feet dry, prevent blisters and give me some extra cushioning.”
2. Foam toe spacers. “I wear these between my first and second toes to keep my bunions from getting worse. They’re lifesavers.”
3. Thera-Band. “I do a couple of exercises with a Thera-Band before class to warm up and strengthen my ankles. Then, I stretch my calves while lying on my back.”
4. Bouncy ball. “This is to warm up my feet and work out any kinks. I also use it to roll out my shins, calves and hips.”
5. Johnson & Johnson Coach Sports Tape. “Coach Sports Tape is my favorite toe tape. I wrap each big toe and little toe before every rehearsal to prevent blisters.”
6. Bach Rescue Remedy. “I don’t use this every day, but sometimes a particular ballet or rough day calls for a couple sprays on the tongue!”
DID YOU KNOW? Worrying over stressful situations can cause inflammation. Researchers at Ohio University found that when we constantly think about a negative circumstance—like an audition gone wrong—the protein that indicates inflammation in our bodies can rise. So the next time your mind starts to wander to the negative, think happy thoughts instead.
What is it? DOMS is muscle soreness that appears around 12 hours after intense exercise or dancing and intensifies over the next two to three days. This type of soreness includes muscle tension, swelling and resistance to stretching.
What causes it? DOMS is thought to have two triggers: It can result from tiny tears in your muscle tissue or the connective tissue that holds your muscle fibers together. It can also result from an alteration in your cells’ calcium levels, causing toxin build-up in your muscles.
How to deal:
•Drink lots of water, take a warm bath, use a heating pad and gently massage sore muscles for circulation.
•Do very light (no resistance) cardio, like riding a bike with no tension—increasing circulation in the muscles will help flush out toxins.
•If your muscles feel hot or swollen, alternate between applying ice and heat to the sore areas. Don’t stretch your muscles until your soreness has significantly decreased.
•If you have to use your muscles, it can be helpful to wear a gentle compression sleeve.
Consultant: Michelle Rodriguez, MPT, OCS, CMPT, is the founder and director of Manhattan Physio Group and has worked with dancers from New York City Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and more.
Texting while driving can distract you as much as having a blood alcohol level far over the legal limit, according to a new study published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention. Wait until you get to rehearsal to chat about the latest casting. Don’t touch your phone when you’re behind the wheel!
Much of Janelle Ginestra's career has been about helping others shine. She's dedicated herself to supporting and cheerleading her partner, WilldaBeast Adams; the emerging talents in their dance company, ImmaBEAST; and the countless dancers she inspires at master classes and conventions. Her YouTube channel has become a launching pad for young talents like "Fraternal Twins" Larsen Thompson and Taylor Hatala, thanks to viral videos featuring Ginestra's creative vision.
But Ginestra's a skyrocketing success in her own right—an in-demand choreographer, a social media influencer, and a dance entrepreneur, building a legacy one eight-count at a time. It's time for her turn in the spotlight. And she's more than ready. "I want to be a legend in whatever I do," she says. We'd argue that she already is.
For more on choosing whether to compete or not, click here.
I started dance classes at a young age. By the time I was 3, I was training at The Dance Club, and I grew up there. I started with the basics—ballet and jazz—and eventually added tap, tumbling, contemporary, and hip hop.
Early on, I did compete. I remember my first time: I did a trio at a small local competition, and it got first place. The trophy was as tall as I was, and I loved it. I attended conventions as a mini, and had the opportunity to take classes from Travis Wall, Sonya Tayeh, Andy Pellick, and Joey Dowling-Fakhrieh. There was so much variety—I was in awe.
For more on choosing whether to compete or not, click here.
My mom was a dancer growing up, and she went on to become a dance teacher, so I've really grown up in the studio. I started classes when I was 2, and by the time I was 9, I was training at The Dance Club and knew I wanted to dedicate all my time to dance.
Daphne Lee is a queen, and not just in the "OMG Girl Boss Alert" sense of the word. She's an actual queen—a beauty queen. Crowned Miss Black USA in August, she's been doing double duty as she continues to dance with the Memphis based dance company, Collage Dance Collective. Lee's new title has given her the means to encourage other black girls and boys to pursue their dreams, while also pursuing dreams of her own. The scholarship money awarded with the pageant title will assist her as she earns a Masters of Fine Arts degree at Hollins University.
When a choreographer finds a composer whose music truly inspires her, it can feel like a match made in dance heaven. Some choreographers work with the same composers so frequently that they become known for their partnerships. New York City Ballet soloist and resident choreographer Justin Peck, for example, has tapped composer Sufjan Stevens numerous times (last spring, the two premiered The Decalogue at NYCB, to rave reviews); L.A. Dance Project's Benjamin Millepied's working relationship with composer Nico Muhly has spanned a decade and two continents; and when tap dancer Michelle Dorrance premiered the first-ever Works & Process Rotunda Project, a site-specific work for New York City's Guggenheim Museum, last year, percussionist Nicholas Van Young was by her side as an equal partner. Successful collaborations require compatibility between artists, direct and honest communication, and flexible, open minds. But when the stars align, working with a composer can be extremely rewarding.
For ballerinas, it's the dream role to end all dream roles: Odette/Odile in Swan Lake, the type of part dancers spend years preparing for and whole careers perfecting. And it's a role that New York City Ballet principal Tiler Peck never thought she'd dance. Though Peck is one of the world's preeminent ballerinas, her short stature made Odette/Odile, typically performed by longer, leggier dancers, seem (almost literally) out of reach.
Then—surprise!—her name popped up on the cast list for NYCB's fall season run of Swan Lake.