While training at The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia, Emily Docherty was plagued by recurring stress fractures in her feet. “I tried everything—icing religiously, physical therapy, cross-training, special shoes,” she recalls. She didn’t fully heal until she took a look at what she was eating. “The value of good nutrition when recovering from … More »
Texas native Megan Zimny Gray only joined Dutch National Ballet in 2010, but her cross-training philosophy seems deeply European. “I’m not one of those dancers who gets on exercise bikes or treadmills,” says Gray, who was promoted to second soloist this season. “I’d so much rather go to the beach for a swim or just … More »
Céline Cassone eats up space onstage. To achieve that fierce energy, she works out a different set of muscles every day. Pre-class routine: 45 minutes of cardio, then 45 minutes of weight training. “I switch between the elliptical, the treadmill and the cross-country machines.” She’ll often do cardio intervals: one minute intense, one minute slow, … More »
Summer intensives can be a shock. Switching from five classes a week to five a day is a big jump—especially if you spent a month relaxing after the school year ended. “Unfortunately, many students come out of shape, and they suffer because of that,” says Pacific Northwest Ballet School principal Abbie Siegel. To get the … More »
Melissa Hamilton has the ideal ballet body: endless legs, a streamlined silhouette, eye-popping arches. But that doesn’t mean the Royal Ballet soloist gets to take it easy. It just gives her a different set of challenges. Pre-class routine: Hamilton doesn’t spend much time stretching: “My body’s already quite elastic as it is,” she says. Instead, … More »
Most people in the ballet world will tell you not to run. “It will wreck your knees.” “Your thighs will get bulky.” “All that impact will shorten your career.” Yet, in many ways, running would seem to be the ideal exercise for dancers. The repeated bounce strengthens your bones. The motion forces you to move … More »
At 15 years old, Elizabeth Murphy gave herself an assignment: Get accepted for summer study at Pacific Northwest Ballet School. Then a student at The Rock School for Dance Education in Pennsylvania, she traveled to New York to audition. It did not go well. “I did a développé side, the simplest thing, and just toppled … More »
It’s the end of the week, and if you’re like most dancers I know, your body is sore and achy all over. Well-meaning friends and teachers will probably tell you to hop in an Epsom salt bath. But will that actually help? Maybe, but most of the benefit comes from the bath, not the salt.
You’ve always suspected that you’re different from your civilian, non-dancer friends. It turns out that science can back you up. According to a study published in PloS Genetics, dancers show consistent differences from the general population in two key genes. One contributes to spiritual experience, and the other modulates social communication and bonding behaviors.
The day after she tore her calf muscle, Lindsi Dec woke up in a state of denial: She thought her body was still healthy, and planned to go to rehearsal. Then her husband had to carry her to the bathroom. “Once I realized how bad it was, there was a lot of crying,” remembers Dec, … More »