Photo by Erin Baiano

Dear Katie: How Can I Keep Up My Training During “Nutcracker” Season?

In our "Dear Katie" series, Miami City Ballet soloist Kathryn Morgan answers your pressing dance questions. Have something you want to ask Katie? Email dearkatie@dancespirit.com for a chance to be featured!

Dear Katie,

I love dancing in The Nutcracker, but I feel like my training gets totally sidelined during Nut season. What can I do to make sure I'm still progressing (and will be in good shape for summer program auditions!)?

Jenny


Dear Jenny,

It's the classic struggle, right? Inevitably, you end up lopsided after performing the same choreography over and over during Nutcracker runs—and yes, it's definitely hard to focus on training when you're constantly in the theater.

My first piece of advice is to make sure you're still taking a full class, every day. Performing isn't training, and a quick barre before the show won't cut it. I'd also recommended cross-training, because non-dance exercise will help combat any imbalances developing in your body. Pilates and Gyrotonic are good low-impact options.

When you're onstage, focus on maintaining proper technique, and always push yourself, whether it's the first show or the 30th. The good news is that performance periods tend to build stamina, especially if you're going all-out every show. Maximize that effect by throwing in a few extra relevés before putting on your shoes, or doing some simple strengthening exercises while you're waiting in the wings. Get a little creative, and you'll be in fabulous shape for those summer intensive auditions!

For more of Katie's helpful tips and advice, click here.

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A Letter from the Editor in Chief

Hi, dance friends. It is a strange time to be a person in the world, and an especially strange time to be a dancer. As the dance community faces the coronavirus crisis, a lot of you are coping with closed studios, canceled performances and competitions, and a general sense of anxiety about how your world will look going forward.

Yes, dancers are super resilient, and there's been a lot of inspiring community-building happening. #LivingRoomDances and Instagram dance parties and virtual ballet classes with the pros are wonderful. Dance can, and should, be a bright spot in the darkness. But that weird, empty feeling you have? It might be grief. The loss of the certainty of daily class, the loss of the promise of that big end-of-year performance—that's real. The dance studio has always been a safe place; it's especially hard not to have that outlet now, when you need it most.

We're here for you. We—and our friends at Dance Magazine, Pointe, Dance Teacher, The Dance Edit, and Dance Business Weekly—are doing our best to document the hurdles facing the dance industry, and to advocate for dancers in need. We're developing more online content that will help you maintain and improve your technique while you're at home, and process the mental and emotional fallout of all this upheaval. (You can keep up with the latest stories here.) And we're still making our print magazine. We have issues planned and shot, full of great dance stories and beautiful photos. We're not going anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Talk to us. Or dance to us. Or both. We won't stop moving, and you shouldn't, either.

Margaret

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