Lucy Vallely Gives Her Top Tips on How to Avoid Burnout
Photo by Joe Toreno
With over one thousand Instagram posts showcasing her latest improv practice or snippet of competition choreo, it's safe to say Lucy Vallely is never not creating. But how does she avoid burnout? Here, she shares her key tactics for staying inspired and energized, in and out of the studio.
"Writing down my thoughts and affirmations is so therapeutic," she says. "And it's a great way to spend time alone, which is something I also value. Sometimes I have to force myself to do it, but I never regret it." A few of Lucy's key prompts? 1) Positive affirmations ("so I can become what I think"); 2) Gratitude lists ("which help ground me"); and 3) Word vomit ("so I can get out every last rant, question, or stray thought"). She also rereads previous entries. "It helps me discover more about myself as a human, dancer, and creator."
Listening to Music and Improvising
"When the music's on, I close my eyes and visualize solos, group dances, or myself dancing," she says. "I used to dance around my living room without a care in the world when I was 8 years old, blasting KISS, AC/DC, and Tom Petty. Lately when I improv, I've been channeling that inner 8-year-old."
Lucy follows a plant-based, vegan diet. "My body is my instrument and it's my job to fuel it properly with fresh fruits, veggies, legumes, and grains," she says. "I supplement my dancing with Pilates, yoga, and gym time. Discovering what makes me feel my best took a while, but finding that balance has been key in keeping my energy up and my mind clear."
A version of this story appeared in the February 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Keeping the Spark Alive."
Gabriel Figueredo in a variation from Raymonda. VAM Productions, Courtesy YAGP.
This week, over 1,000 young hopefuls gathered in New York City for the Youth America Grand Prix finals, giving them the chance to compete for scholarships and contracts to some of the world's top ballet schools and companies. Roughly 85 dancers made it to the final round at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater on Wednesday. Today, the 20th anniversary of YAGP came to a close at the competition's awards ceremony. Read on to find out who won!
After a string of ballet-company rejections, Jennifer Sydor (here in Laura Peterson's "Failure") found success in other areas of the dance world. (Stephen Delas Heras, courtesy Jennifer Sydor)
In her senior year at Butler University, Jennifer Sydor auditioned for more than a dozen regional ballet companies—and got a string of "no, thank you" responses. "I have an athletic build, and my movement quality isn't the typical ballet aesthetic," Sydor says. "But I'd been laser-focused on ballet. When I didn't get a ballet contract, I was heartbroken."
Her one job offer came from Kim Robards Dance, a small modern company based in Aurora, CO. After attending KRD's summer intensive, Sydor ended up accepting a yearlong position with the troupe. "I was relieved and happy to begin my career," she says. She's been working as a contemporary dancer ever since.
In the dance world, rejection is part of the package. That doesn't make it any more pleasant. But whether you didn't get the Nutcracker role of your dreams or you weren't picked for a job despite feeling like you aced the audition, you can emerge from even the most gut-wrenching "no" smarter and stronger.
Ballet West principal Beckanne Sisk as Kitri (Luke Isley, courtesy Ballet West)
Guess who's baaaaack?! Your resident Dance Spirit astrologers! And on the eve of the Youth America Grand Prix awards ceremony, we thought it was the perfect time to pair each zodiac sign with a variation commonly seen during the competition. After many painstaking hours spent researching, consulting the stars, and staring wistfully into the sky, we compiled our data and present you with the definitive list of each star sign as a YAGP variation! As we said last time, don't @ us if you're not happy with your pairing—the stars don't lie, baby!