7 Tips to Help You Stay in Peak Performance Shape While Touring
Many dancers dream of going on tour and performing for packed houses in glamorous cities around the world, but touring life can also mean long days and sore muscles. The stress of travel and change in routine can take a toll on the body, and you may have to make a special effort to stay healthy, technically strong and injury-free. Here are some things to keep in mind before heading out on the road.
1: Adapt to unpredictable conditions. From delayed flights to freezing theaters, know that not everything will go as smoothly as you'd like. It's important not to get overwhelmed by the different elements you'll have to deal with, "whether it's different studio space or a time change," says San Francisco Ballet corps member Megan Low, who has toured with the company for eight seasons. Take a step back and be sensitive to how your body reacts.
2: Find an exercise routine and stick with it. Between rehearsals, shows and traveling to the next venue, it may seem like there's no time for a basic workout. The trick is to find a personalized regimen that you can do anywhere, including your hotel room, airport terminals and backstage. Try a simple ballet warm-up or a series of yoga or Pilates mat exercises. Do crunches and push-ups each night to help keep muscles toned, and stretch whenever you have a few idle minutes. (Gentle stretching is especially important after flights or bus rides, because muscles tend to stiffen after long periods of sitting.) It's up to you to take stock of what your body needs and to have the discipline to make exercise a priority.
3: Pack lots of goodies. "Many of us travel with what we call our dancer toys: Dynabands, Thera-bands, tennis balls you can roll on," says Maria Bauman of Urban Bush Women. Pack these essentials in your carry-on luggage, so that you can pull them out anywhere, even on the plane.
4: Take advantage of hotel facilities. Many hotels offer access to workout rooms, pools and saunas, so upon arrival, find out what, if any, facilities are available during your stay. If they aren't open at times convenient to your schedule, ask for extended hours.
5: Look for class opportunities. If you're touring with a ballet or modern dance company, chances are you'll have company class almost every day. Broadway touring shows, on the other hand, generally don't offer class. So where do you go to keep technique in tune? If you don't have time to leave the theater, ask to bring in a local guest teacher for the cast. Another possibility is to take class at local universities. Offer to teach a class in exchange for allowing fellow dancers to take it along with the college students. "When we were performing in college cities, we would often teach master classes at the colleges," says former Parsons Dance Company member Marty Lawson. "It was a great opportunity to work on our own skills as well."
6: Take time to relax. Don't let the hectic schedule of a performance tour wear you down. Even if you're out late after a show, stretch and relax before going to bed. If you're jet-lagged, adjust to the new time zone as soon as possible. (Don't sleep all day.) Your body will respond better to the intense demands of a tour—and you're less likely to get injured if you're well rested.
7: Eat healthy, regular meals. One of the most important elements of staying in shape is a healthy diet, but life on the road can mean fast food and few opportunities for nutritious meals. "Oftentimes, especially late at night after a performance, it's difficult to find restaurants that are open, so you just have to go with what's available," Low explains. If you're staying in a city for several days, purchase groceries and cook healthy meals in your hotel. You can even host a potluck with your fellow dancers. Keep portable snacks such as nuts and fruit on hand, so you're never caught with an empty stomach.
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)
Dance Spirit's 2019 Cover Model Search finalists: Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland! One of them will win a spot on Dance Spirit's Fall 2019 cover. Learn more about the dancers on their profile pages, and then vote for your favorite below. You can vote once a day now through July 15.
We also want you to
get social! We'll be factoring social media likes and shares into our final tallies. Be sure to show your favorite finalist some love on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, sharing their profile pages and using the hashtag #DanceSpiritCMS.
Imagine attending American Ballet Theatre's prestigious NYC summer intensive, training among classical ballet legends. Imagine taking the stage at New York City Dance Alliance Nationals, competing against some of the country's best contemporary dancers. Now, imagine doing both—at the same time.
Welcome to Madison Brown's world. This summer, she's in her third year as a National Training Scholar with ABT, while also competing for NYCDA's Teen Outstanding Dancer title. (She's already won Outstanding Dancer in the Mini and Junior categories.) The logistics are complicated—ABT's five-week intensive overlaps with the weeklong NYCDA Nationals, which translates to a lot of cabs back and forth across Manhattan—but Maddie is committed to making the most of each opportunity. "I love contemporary and ballet equally," she says. "While I'm able to do both, I want to do as much as I can."
Maddie has an expressive face, endless extensions, and a quiet command of the stage. She dances with remarkable maturity—a trait noted by none other than Jennifer Lopez, one of the judges on NBC's "World of Dance," on which Maddie competed in Season 2. Although Maddie didn't take home the show's top prize, she was proud to be the youngest remaining soloist when she was eliminated, and saw the whole experience as an opportunity to grow. After all, she's just getting started. Oh, that's right—did we mention Maddie's only 14?
Corbin Bleu in rehearsal for "Kiss Me, Kate" (Jenny Anderson, courtesy Roundabout Theatre Company)
If you're a hardcore Broadway baby, today is the worst Sunday of the year. Why, you ask? The Tony Awards were last Sunday, so basically there's nothing to look forward to in life anymore—no James Corden being James Corden, no teary acceptance speeches from newly minted stars, no thrilling excerpts from the hottest new shows. Oh yeah, and there are 50 more Sundays to go before our humdrum lives are once again blessed with the next annual iteration of Broadway's biggest night.