We all need to take a break to pause and breathe. For many of us, the holiday sweet spot between Nutcracker madness and audition season is the tempting and rare moment to be still. And period of this rest and relaxation has as much value as pushing yourself. However, with many studios closed at the holidays, lots of delicious food, and a mental reprieve from the stage, it’s important that we find ways to condition our bodies and begin to re-charge for the audition season ahead. If you feel a sudden twist of panic with auditions just around the corner, the end of the year is the time to find ways to incorporate cross-training and conditioning back into your routine so that you can head into the studio ready to take charge and have a successful audition season.
Sometimes class is just not enough or not an option, depending on where you are during the holidays, so it is comforting to know that there are many resources online and through apps that only require you and enough space to stretch out.
One of the fantastic options available to dancers is the Bulletproof Ballerina, Tanya Trombly. Tanya is a professional ballerina and ACE certified personal trainer who offers personal training by appointment to those living in NYC and can help you design a custom fitness plan if you dance outside of the city. She also offers on demand fitness resources and dietary coaching, and you can subscribe to her blog “Bad Girl Ballerina.” Tanya’s expertise helps you get in your best performance shape while still promoting safe and motivational practices. You can also follow her on social media @bulletproof_ballerina and reach out with any questions through her website.
Another awesome resource is The Whole Dancer, a program-based website and blog promoting dancer self-care through health and lifestyle coaching. Jess Spinner, the mastermind behind The Whole Dancer, is a former dance major and professional dancer, and she also hosts her podcast series on the Premier Dance Network (iTunes). Most notably, she continually offers her Dancer’s Best-Body Program and has worked with many professionals and students, including a series on being vegan with Lauren Lovette of New York City Ballet. Follow Jess @thewholedancer and consider signing up for one of her programs, especially if you like more structure and accountability in your routine.
Both Jess and Tanya have first-hand experience as professional dancers and understand the emotional and financial strains of the profession, making them perfect sources of inspiration and knowledge when it comes to wellness.
A third resource to mention is Pure NRG Fitness, founded by Michelle Portalatin. Her personal training is a good choice if you want a more conventional approach. She focuses on coaching for runners and triathletes but not exclusively, and her background in sports medicine and injury recovery gives her an advantage over other trainers in the city.
On a dietary note, you can find culinary inspiration in Jenelle Manzi of New York City Ballet. Beyond her dancing, Jenelle has gained quite a following through her food blog boasting “clean treat alchemy.” Her power bars and power balls are delicious and kind to your body, and they are an ideal snack to prep and tuck in your dance bag. Try her maca cacao mesquite granola which might quickly become a pantry staple. Her recipes and professional chronicles can be found on her instagram @jenellemanzi.
There are many online programs that provide the flexibility of a dancer’s on-the-go schedule and do not require a full gym or studio to reap the benefits. One of our favorites at the studio is Yogaglo, a subscription-based yoga and meditation site that offers online courses available on your phone, tablet, or computer. The classes can be done remotely; super handy if traveling for an audition or tour.
Since we live in a digital world, we should also take advantage of the app-based fitness programs available. There’s Classpass, which gives you the freedom to sign up for classes (including those at Steps on Broadway) all over the city. Better yet, it’s not limited to what’s available in New York. Aaptiv and Sworkit are two of the top-rated fitness apps available. If you prefer listening, go for Aaptiv which is led through a trainer’s voice and music. Sworkit is best if you like the visual of a how-to video. Though subscription-based, they can be well-worth the investment to access customized content. They are also two choices that won’t cut into your shoe budget! Because you can tailor them to your personal needs, these are safe and smart apps for dancers.
Mindfulness is as crucial to success as physical well-being, and one of our favorite apps is Headspace, which provides different meditation series catered to what you might need (falling asleep, gratitude, memory/focus, i.e.).
The holidays are a perfect excuse to add something new to your cross-training regiment. These digital role models and resources are just a few of what’s out there. As dancers, we like to stay active, but if you’re feeling a little burned out from stage and studio, try something new. Even a change of scenery like a different yoga or Pilates studio can help you feel refreshed. Listen to what your body needs, do your research, and establish the routine that will help you feel and look your best for auditions and upcoming rehearsals. Here’s to the New Year!