BalletMet’s Francesca Dugarte-Jordan Doubles as a Personal Trainer and Spin Instructor
One thing is clear when you watch Francesca Dugarte-Jordan dance: She has amazing technique, but even more impressive strength. Having become a new mom weeks before the pandemic shutdown, Dugarte-Jordan has returned to BalletMet’s stage more powerful than ever—something she mostly credits to beginning weight training and becoming a personal trainer. After a whirlwind past two years, she says, “my biggest motivation is myself.”
Dugarte-Jordan is a self-proclaimed “cardio junkie.” As a certified spin instructor, she teaches regularly at Cycle614 in Columbus, Ohio. “Ever since I was 14, I used to go with my mom and take spin classes at her gym,” Dugarte-Jordan says. She has a stationary bike in her home, which she uses for 30 to 45 minutes most mornings before heading to work.
“My pregnancy was very hard for me,” says Dugarte-Jordan. “My body changed a lot. I basically had to start from zero.” Being a new mom during the pandemic was uniquely challenging, but getting back to performance shape was another hurdle to overcome. After a few months of mostly cardio training, Dugarte-Jordan still didn’t feel like herself. She saw dancers on Instagram training with Joel Prouty in New York City and felt that strength training would unlock the power she was missing.
“I was a bit scared at first, because there is a stigma about building muscle for dancers,” she says. “But with the right form it has been extremely beneficial for me.” After trying exercises she saw Prouty and other trainers demonstrating on Instagram, she was inspired to get certified as an NASM personal trainer during the pandemic. “I definitely feel stronger than I ever have. I am in a completely different place than I was before I was pregnant,” she says.
“I always incorporate stabilization exercises into my workouts. I think for dancers it’s so important,” says Dugarte-Jordan. One of her favorite exercises utilizes her BOSU ball. Balancing in plié arabesque with the rounded side of the BOSU on the floor, Dugarte-Jordan leans her upper body slightly forward with arms tucked into her chest while holding light weights (10 to 15 pounds each), then completes a tricep extension, extending her arms backwards for 2 sets of about 8 reps on each leg.
Rest and Refueling
As a new mom, Dugarte-Jordan doesn’t have much downtime. She says she tries to take time off on the weekends to relax with her baby and husband, BalletMet rehearsal director and former dancer Jonathan Jordan. During the week, she keeps her energy up by balancing dancing and exercising with proper fuel. “I try to eat as plant-based as I can, but I also try to eat a lot of protein,” she says. “I really love peanut butter, so after a workout I’ll have either a banana with peanut butter or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.”