Six Dance Bag Must-Haves + Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness

Megan Fairchild in George Balanchine's Theme and Variations (by Paul Kolnik)

Six Dance Bag Must-Haves

Whether you’re spending your summer competing at Nationals, taking classes at your studio or training at an intensive, it’s important to make sure nothing stops you from dancing your best. Muscle cramps, blisters and even jittery nerves can all be alleviated—if you’re prepared! We caught up with New York City Ballet principal Megan Fairchild to find out the dance bag items that keep her on her A-game.

1. Paper towels. “I use fresh paper towels in my pointe shoes as padding for each time I wear them. They keep my feet dry, prevent blisters and give me some extra cushioning.”

2. Foam toe spacers. “I wear these between my first and second toes to keep my bunions from getting worse. They’re lifesavers.”

3. Thera-Band. “I do a couple of exercises with a Thera-Band before class to warm up and strengthen my ankles. Then, I stretch my calves while lying on my back.”

4. Bouncy ball. “This is to warm up my feet and work out any kinks. I also use it to roll out my shins, calves and hips.”

5. Johnson & Johnson Coach Sports Tape. “Coach Sports Tape is my favorite toe tape. I wrap each big toe and little toe before every rehearsal to prevent blisters.”

6. Bach Rescue Remedy. “I don’t use this every day, but sometimes a particular ballet or rough day calls for a couple sprays on the tongue!”


DID YOU KNOW? Worrying over stressful situations can cause inflammation. Researchers at Ohio University found that when we constantly think about a negative circumstance—like an audition gone wrong—the protein that indicates inflammation in our bodies can rise. So the next time your mind starts to wander to the negative, think happy thoughts instead.


YOUR ACHES AND PAINS ADDRESSED: Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS)

What is it? DOMS is muscle soreness that appears around 12 hours after intense exercise or dancing and intensifies over the next two to three days. This type of soreness includes muscle tension, swelling and resistance to stretching.

What causes it? DOMS is thought to have two triggers: It can result from tiny tears in your muscle tissue or the connective tissue that holds your muscle fibers together. It can also result from an alteration in your cells’ calcium levels, causing toxin build-up in your muscles.

How to deal:

•Drink lots of water, take a warm bath, use a heating pad and gently massage sore muscles for circulation.

•Do very light (no resistance) cardio, like riding a bike with no tension—increasing circulation in the muscles will help flush out toxins.

•If your muscles feel hot or swollen, alternate between applying ice and heat to the sore areas. Don’t stretch your muscles until your soreness has significantly decreased.

•If you have to use your muscles, it can be helpful to wear a gentle compression sleeve.

Consultant: Michelle Rodriguez, MPT, OCS, CMPT, is the founder and director of Manhattan Physio Group and has worked with dancers from New York City Ballet, Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and more.


Texting while driving can distract you as much as having a blood alcohol level far over the legal limit, according to a new study published in the journal Traffic Injury Prevention. Wait until you get to rehearsal to chat about the latest casting. Don’t touch your phone when you’re behind the wheel!

Health & Body
(From left) Darriel Johnakin, Diego Pasillas, and Emma Sutherland (all photos by Erin Baiano)

Congratulations to 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.

Cover Model Search
Photo by Erin Baiano

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?

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Photo by Erin Baiano

Click here to vote for Emma.

There's a story Kate Walker, director of dance at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas, TX, loves to tell about Emma Sutherland, who just graduated from the program. "We were watching the students run a really long, challenging piece," Walker recalls. "Several kids couldn't quite make it through. But Emma did make it all the way to the end, which is when she walked up to us faculty and very politely asked, 'May I please go throw up?' "

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