If you haven't followed through on your New Year's resolution to practice more self-care, then Valentine's Day is the perfect time to start. Below, we rounded up the best ways to pamper, indulge, and heal everything from your muscles, to your skin, to your mind. Your body (and your dancing) will thank you.
Write down a list of affirmations (positive statements or phrases, like "I can nail my pirouettes," or "I deserve to get the role"), and carry them with you. Repeat them aloud to yourself when you wake up, when you're feeling doubt creep in, and when you're getting ready for bed. Studies have shown that when said with intention, affirmations have a positive influence on your subconscious—which translates into a better all-around approach to your dancing.
Get everything out of your head and onto the page, whether it's by journaling or drawing. If you're worried about an upcoming audition, an especially tricky combo, or starting a new level, write it down! If you're not sure where to start, make a "Journal Jar." Write down 15 to 20 journal prompts, ranging from "What scares you?" to "What is something you accomplished this week?" on small pieces of paper. Fold them up and put them into an empty cup or mason jar. Keep it on your desk or nightstand, and grab one when you're feeling stuck.
Instead of coming home after a grueling rehearsal and heading straight for bed, take a bubble bath with lavender Epsom salts, or a few drops of lavender essential oil. You and your muscles will be super-relaxed!
Pamper your hands with a pea-sized amount of Aquaphor or cuticle cream, and treat your feet to a peppermint foot soak. Mix 3/4 cup of Epsom salts, 1/4 cup of baking soda, and 6 to 8 drops of peppermint essential oil together in a bowl, then scoop the mixture into a foot tub filled with comfortably hot water and two peppermint tea bags. Plop your feet in, soaking them for 15 to 20 minutes.
One word: Chocolate! Dark chocolate is anything but a guilty pleasure—in fact, it's chock-full of everything including heart-healthy antioxidants, energy-producing iron, and flavonoids, which help improve blood vessel function.
A version of this story appeared in the February 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Be Your Own Valentine."
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!