Misha Gabriel (photo courtesy Break the Floor Productions)

This year, make your dance resolutions last by sticking to a set calendar. We asked four pros to submit important dance goals, and assigned one goal to each month of 2015. With our experts’ help, you’ll be able to carry that beginning-of-year boost straight through to December.

The pros:

Andy Blankenbuehler, Broadway choreographer

Lia Cirio, Boston Ballet principal

Misha Gabriel, commercial dancer, actor and choreographer

Janette Manrara, ballroom dancer and “Strictly Come Dancing” professional

January: Work on your “bad” side.

“It’s important to work both sides equally, even if one feels better than the other.

If your right leg is stronger, pretend you’re a lefty—give that side the attention it deserves.” —Andy Blankenbuehler

Andy Blankenbuehler (photo by Matthew Karas)

February: Re-focus your competitive energy.

“My mom always said, ‘Don’t look to the left or right—it’s not worth worrying about the dancers around you.’ Unless, of course, they’re receiving corrections. Then listen.” —Lia Cirio

 March: Take an acting class.

“Acting can seem scary at first, but believe me—it’s a life changer. Even if you’re not planning to enter the acting world, it’ll make your dance performances stronger.” —Misha Gabriel

April: Do one more pirouette.

“Don’t be satisfied with two! Push yourself. You’ll feel great when you get that third or fourth rotation.” —LC

 

May: Be better about cross-training.

“When you’re performing the same routines over and over again, you need to push your body in other ways, whether that’s through Pilates or yoga or swimming. We need to stay well-rounded to make sure we don’t break our bodies.” —AB

Janette Manrara (photo by Chris Mann, courtesy Janette Manrara)

June: Commit to the cooldown.

“Setting aside time to cool down after every performance will help you avoid sore, achy muscles, not to mention injuries. Yes, you’re tired, but it only takes five minutes. A few quick stretches and breathing exercises can make a huge difference in how you feel the next day.” —Janette Manrara

August: Take time to recharge, mentally and physically.

“Remind yourself to be a ‘colorful’ person. Really live your life outside of dance—enjoy going out to eat and spending time with your friends and the people you love. All those experiences will make your dancing so much richer.” —AB

September: Expand your emotional range.

“A lot of dancers focus on the dark side of contemporary dance these days, and I feel like there’s a range of emotions being neglected. Expressing joy, inspiration and hope—those are skills that have to be developed, too.” —AB

October: Embrace ballet.

“Every dancer needs ballet, even if her specialty is salsa! The ballet vocabulary is the ABCs of dance. It makes you hyper-aware of all your muscles, so you feel every inch of your body

working.” —JM

Lia Cirio (photo by Liza Voll)

November: Stick to a sleep schedule.

“If you’re not sleeping enough, your whole body suffers. Getting on a good schedule is key, especially during long Nutcracker runs.” —LC

December: Remind yourself why you dance.

“Dancers are so passionate about what they do that frequently they’re overly self-critical. Have faith in your abilities. Remember that you’re in this because you love it, and don’t let the stresses of the art form paralyze you.” —AB

This month it might be tempting to just grab a handful of Halloween candy before heading to class, but you’ll be much better off with one of these goodies. They’re packed with protein, fiber and good fats, leaving you fueled and ready to take on even the trickiest combinations.

 

(iStock)

Nutty Popcorn Balls

Ingredients

•    1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels (makes about 16 cups popcorn)

•    3/4 cup honey

•    1/4 cup brown sugar

•    3/4 cup peanut butter

•    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

•    Air-pop popcorn kernels and set aside.

•    Mix honey and brown sugar in a saucepan. Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a boil, then add peanut butter and vanilla extract. Stir until the mixture is well combined.

•    Put popcorn in a large bowl. Pour honey-peanut butter mixture over it (careful, it’ll be hot!) and stir until popcorn is thoroughly coated.

•    As soon as the mixture has cooled enough to be handled comfortably, start forming it into golf-ball–sized balls, compressing the popcorn tightly with your hands. Place

the balls on a cookie sheet lined with waxed or parchment paper. Put the cookie sheet into the refrigerator to cool.

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Makes 25–30 balls

(by Josephine Daño)

Peanut Butter Power Pack

Ingredients

•    1 medium or large apple

•    raisins, cinnamon and peanut butter to taste

•    toothpicks (optional)

Directions

•    Slice an apple horizontally about an inch from the top. Remove the top part, and scoop out the core with a melon baller.

•    Tuck peanut butter, cinnamon and raisins into the hollow space and replace the “lid.” Secure it with toothpicks if you’ll be taking this snack on the go.

Prep Time: 5–10 minutes

Makes 1 serving

Delicious and nutritious: “The peanut butter in these recipes provides healthful oils that don’t cause joint inflammation, and the protein will decrease hunger and keep you fuller longer—no sugar cravings! Also, the raisins are a good source of iron (athletes, like dancers, are more prone to developing iron-deficiency anemia).” —Marie Scioscia, MS, RD, CDN, of The Ailey School

 

STRETCH YOUR GOALS

Still trying to nail that triple pirouette? Researchers say you’re more likely to succeed if you shoot for 2–4 rotations instead. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that flexible goals seem both attainable and challenging, so you’re more likely to keep achieving your objectives and setting new ones. Translation? The lower number feels doable, while the higher one dares you to work harder. Talk about the best of both worlds!

 

DID YOU KNOW?

Still trying to nail that triple pirouette? Researchers say you’re more likely to succeed if you shoot for 2–4 rotations instead. A study in the Journal of Consumer Research found that flexible goals seem both attainable and challenging, so you’re more likely to keep achieving your objectives and setting new ones. Translation? The lower number feels doable, while the higher one dares you to work harder. Talk about the best of both worlds!

 

Dealing with self-doubt? Write yourself a love note! We know you’re amazing, but it’s important that you know what makes you great, too. Read your note before your next big audition, and you’ll head into the room beaming with confidence.

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