The Workout: Courtney Henry

Long and strong at LINES
Published in the December 2013/January 2014 issue.

Courtney Henry recently started doing TRX suspension training. Photo by RJ Muna.

At six feet tall, the Alonzo King LINES Ballet dancer—and recent Princess Grace Award winner—lives up to her company’s name. Because her long legs build muscle easily, she takes a relaxed approach to cross-training, only doing what she needs to strengthen weaknesses and prevent injuries—and she always lets her body get a little softer during the off-season.


Go-to cross-training routines: Daily Pilates, plus yoga and Gyrotonic a few times a month. “I’ve recently gotten into TRX suspension training, which uses two cords you can attach to anything and then hang from. For example, I love doing a plank with my feet suspended in the cords, and pulling in my knees to do curls. It kills your core and arms.”

Rehearsal refocusing trick: Handstands against the wall. “I stay for a minute. When the blood goes to your head, there’s this renewal of circulation and energy. I feel more present afterward. Everybody in the company does it.”

Biggest struggle:
Tours. “I somehow gain five pounds every time. I try to stay active by renting a bike, or using the hotel’s pool, or doubling up on my core work. But when it’s freezing cold somewhere, all you want to do is hibernate and eat cheese.”

Pre-show prep:
“Sometimes I go to the steam room to stretch or give myself a massage while my muscles turn into Jell-O. But it makes me sleepy, so I need to have time for a nap afterward.”

Meal plan: “I start off with a huge breakfast: oatmeal with almonds, bananas, blueberries and honey. After class I always have an orange (I’m from Florida). Then, we only have short breaks, so I snack on yogurt, veggies, nuts and fruit, or split up a big sandwich throughout the day.”

Finding balance: “I make a point never to live with dancers, and to get out of the studio. I go tango and salsa dancing at night. I like tinkering around with drum sets. And I’ve recently gotten into spray painting,  doing street art.”