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.
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
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