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Dancers: How much protein do you need?

Protein Needs of Dancers: How Much, What Kind, and When?

 By: The Dance World Editor 

DI_protein_MAINFrom Dance Informa

Do dancers need extra protein? Do they need to use powders, drinks, shakes or amino acid supplements or should they just eat more? Sadly, the misguided “low-carb” fad continues to be a contributing factor in 70% of Americans being overweight or obese. In light of current research suggesting a link between meat and dairy and risk for long-term diseases…what should you think?

How Much:

Yes, dancers have slightly higher protein needs than the average non-athletic person, particularly if they are still growing adolescents. However, it is important that we think beyond this incorrect idea that most of our food should be protein and that we should avoid carbohydrates. Adequate protein is important, but too much can be harmful. Everyone is a little different, but guidelines from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) are that 12-15% of all the calories you eat throughout a whole day should be comprised of protein which are strings of amino acids joined together like a train with many cars.

Read the full article Full Protein Article!

Getting your students to perform

By: The Dance World Editor

By: By Angela D’Valda Sirico of Dance Teacher Web

DTW_perform_MAIN

With the new season just ahead of us it is important to get our students to perform for shows, competitions and in class! Students need to understand that it’s not just about the technique but to also get them to understand how to express themselves through their performance. When children are young it is relatively easy to get them to perform because they haven’t developed all the inhibitions that come along with pre-teen and teens, but once those hormones start to come to life it can be an uphill struggle to get them to just enjoy their dancing. Usually it is because they are afraid to demonstrate any emotion because they feel so unsure of themselves, but for those that have these issues they definitely need help to feel confident letting it all come out!

I don’t encourage “mirror dancers,” but very often students are afraid to really look at themselves in the mirror and to actually like what they see. This is the first hurdle that they need to get over. You know the dancers that I am talking about, the ones whose eyes are always darting from side to side giving a look of total insecurity. I encourage my dancers to get acquainted with themselves and to look in the mirror and see someone who looks fabulous and exciting instead of dull and unattractive. To find the qualities in their faces that they like and to make different expressions to see which ones they think reflect their personalities best. Of course, in the beginning they are unable to look at themselves without giggling and feeling supremely embarrassed but the more they get used to looking at their faces the more they begin to see their redeeming features. Then the key is to get them to dance to different types of music so that they can have an opportunity to express whatever feelings are appropriate.

Just as we teach technique so must we teach performance skills to our students so that they are truly able to not only express themselves but also to reach out to their audiences with something powerful and meaningful. There is so much emphasis today on how many leaps and turns dancers can do and all the other tricks that are used in choreography that the message can sometimes be very confusing to young dancers. Of course we want them to have clean, strong technique but let’s not get away from the real reason people dance, and that is as a means to express themselves. Let’s not override the beauty of movement and the feeling of being at one with the music, the pure joy and empowerment of making something memorable on stage that will leave the audiences wanting more!

I always tell my dancers that the technique is the vehicle to help them bring the most that they can to their dancing. It is extremely important to have correct technique, and the more you have the more possibilities open up for a dancer to show the world how talented they are, but technique alone does not a dancer make! There are many technically great dancers in every major city who struggle on a regular basis to find a job performing because they have become so hung up on only perfecting their technique that they have forgotten why they wanted to dance in the first place. I find this so sad because they probably didn’t have a teacher who could help them to develop their individuality and confidence to a point that they felt comfortable with themselves so that they could get out on a stage and express their feelings to their audiences. Some people are just shy and find it so difficult to come out of themselves and put their feelings on display, however if you can get them to do it as teens they will go out into the world with confidence and this will help them even if they don’t become performers because they will be well received everywhere.

Once dancers understand the whole picture and everything that is needed to make a terrific performance, they will fall in love with dance all over again! They definitely need help to arrive at this conclusion unless they just happen to have that “it” factor, but as we know, those individuals are few and far between. The more we are able to help them find themselves, the more they will be able to give to their audiences, and the better they will feel about themselves in general.

New Capezio Pointe Shoe “The Airess”

My Pointe Shoe Story – From Beginner to Airess

By The Dance World Editor July 31, 2015

From Dance Informa

Do you remember your first pointe shoe fitting and your first pointe class? Although it was uncomfortable and unconventional, it was so magical to dance on your toes. Your shoes were shiny, new and so pretty and you felt like a real ballerina.

Alison-Stroming-Capezio-Pointe-Shoes-700x250

Finding your feet in pointe is a personal journey from how you sew your ribbons and break in your shoes to what style and brand you like to wear. Some dancers seem to transition to pointe like they were made to dance on their toes and others find it a challenge of perseverance, blisters, bunions and cramping arches or aching ankles. Any ballerina will agree, though, that no matter the pain, pointe is worth its ethereal illusion of weightlessness. Ballerinas are happiest when upon their toes.

Award-winning, young competition dancer and model Tate McRae, 12, started dancing at six and first started pointe about two years ago, at 10 and a half. “When I finally got en pointe, it was a dream come true,” she exclaimed. “I am finally a ballerina,” she thought.

allison2

Read the full article My Pointe Shoe Story

 

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How to Stretch your Feet

By:The Dance World Editor

By: Ballet Hub

Stretching and strengthening your feet have many benefits to your overall technique and presentation as a ballet dancer.  Dancers have found all sorts of ways to stretch feet over the years using all sorts of tecnhniques like cramming their feet under a piano or couch, using tools built specifically to stretch feet, or even asking a friend to do it. And while some are effective, some other techniques can actually be quite risky and may result in injury.

A dancer strives for two things, among many others: strength and flexibility.  One without the other and there is an imbalance.

Today we’ll show you a couple ways to stretch your feet that are both safe and easy.

These foot stretches are simple stretches that don’t require you to buy anything, ask anyone or use any tools.

Foot Stretch Technique #1: Grab and Pull Back

simple safe foot stretch for ballet dancerThe basic idea, as you may have guessed, is that you grab your foot and pull back.  Let’s take a look:

  • Sitting on the floor, place the foot you want to stretch over your other thigh to create a figure 4 with your legs.
  • With the hand closest to your heel, push into your heel.  Be sure to relax your Achilles!  (the large band coming down from your calf that attaches to your heel)
  • With the hand closest to your toes, place it over your toes and up your foot a couple inches and pull back so that your foot arches, feeling a nice stretch on the top.

And that’s it!  It’s simple but effective.  Need a little more stretch?  Read on for technique number 2!

Foot Stretch Technique #2: Wrap n’ Push

It’s not really called “Wrap n’ Push,” as that name was made up just seconds ago.  More important than thinking of a creative label, is how effective this foot stretch really is!  If you find that stretching your feet with your hands hasn’t quite worked well, this one is for you.  Let’s take a look

  • Once again, sitting on the floor, place the foot you want to stretch over your other thigh to create a figure 4 with your legs.
  • Lift your foot up slightly and wrap your arm (that is on the same side of the leg you bent) under your bent leg, grabbing the top of your foot toward your toes with your hand.
  • With your free hand, place it on top of your hand that is grabbing on the top and bottom half of your foot.
  • Lean slightly forward so that your elbow is tucked more closely under your calf and the top of your arm is pushing right into your calf muscle.
  • Now that you’re setup, be sure not to feel any tension in your knee and remember to relax your foot and Achilles.
  • Begin stretching your foot by pulling back with both of your hands and at the same time equally pushing your leg forward.

 

 

foot stretching technique for ballet dancers
Stretching TechniqueSitting on the floor, cross one leg over the other to make a figure 4.
Foot stretching exercise for dancer on floor
Wrap your arm underneath your leg and foot, placing your hand on top, over the bottom half, of your foot.
foot stretch for dancers increase flexibility
Place your free hand over the hand that is already holding your foot.
foot stretching on ground for better feet dancer
Begin the foot stretch by pulling back with your hands while your lean forward.

By pulling equally on your foot with your hands and pushing out with your arm, your leg shouldn’t actually move, but you should feel quite a bit more extra strength to better stretch your foot.

You can play around with this one to best suit it to your body, but the push and pull action that allows for the additional strength is the general idea.

Remember, you should never feel that you are straining or “working too hard” to stretch your feet.  You don’t want to overstretch your feet.  Ease into it slowly and take a break from time to time to let the whole foot relax.  You will end up getting more out of your stretches this way.

a great foot stretch for dancersHere is one final look at this effective stretch, but from the angle you’d see if trying it for yourself.

Why Are These Foot Stretches More Safe and While Some Others Aren’t?

The biggest reason why these foot stretches are more safe is because you are in complete control of the stretch and you are doing it with your hand, meaning you are not adding additional stress on your body.  For example, other stretches may often involve the dancer prying their feet underneath a heavy object and stretching their knee until they feel a stretch.  By doing so, the dancer is placing an incredible amount of tension and strain on the knee joint, muscles in the leg, and digging their heel painfully into the ground for more leverage.

You don’t want to overstretch your feet.

Another popular (for unknown reasons) method for stretching feet is asking a friend to stretch your feet.  For this to happen, the asker first must assume that the stretcher is actually okay with touching his or her feet.  Then the asker usually sits on the floor with a leg stretched out in front while the stretcher pushes down with a lot of force.  This is basically the same idea of prying your foot underneath a heavy object, but now you are at risk of your friend pushing down with enough force that by the time you yell out “Ouch!” its too late and you’ve overstretched your foot.  This technique, though popular in schools, is not recommended for many reasons, besides safety, you are now relying on someone else to do the work for you, which is like asking someone to do all of your homework while you get the credit.

Still, Always Be Careful

Stretching your feet is always recommended, so long as you aren’t facing an injury of course.  But that being said, you always want to be careful.  Don’t stretch your feet so much that you’re actually causing them to be weak, which leads us to our final tip.  Also, be sure that you stretching your feet in a sickled position.

Always Wrap Up With a Few Strengthening Exercises

Now that you’ve stretched your feet so well, you want them to be able to get there on their own without help from your hands.  There is little chance that will happen without adding some exercises to strengthen your feet in the range of their new found flexibility. After you’ve done some foot stretching, be sure to grab a therapy band for some strengthening exercises or do some tendus.

A dancer strives for two things, among many others: strength and flexibility.  One without the other and there is an imbalance.  Weak but very flexible feet can be just as much of a hurdle as strong but flexible feet when it comes to ballet technique.

For more on this article CLICK HERE

Dancer Recommended Recipes!

By: The Dance World editor

By:  Amy Omernick

dancerreicpesblog

Check out what these dancers recommend as great recipes for dancers! We have a few of our own too.

 

Kimberly Braylock, San Francisco Ballet
Kale Chips
Click here for the recipe via Smitten Kitchen 

Melissa Chapski, Ellison Ballet
Chia Raspberry Drink
Click here for the recipe via Mama Natural

Miko Fogarty, Indiana Ballet Conservatory
Dried Mango
Click here for the recipe via POPSUGAR

Samantha Figgins, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
An Avocado and Hummus
Click here for the recipe via Inspired Taste

Angeli Mamon, Pacific Northwest Ballet
Luna Bars
Click here for the recipe via Chocolate-covered Kate 

Shannon Rugani, San Francisco Ballet
Greens Energy Bar
Click here for the recipe via Epicurious

Danielle Hernandez, The Dance World Editor  & Competitive Latin Dancer

Strawberry/Kiwi Smoothie (add a scoop of protein 11-14 grams recommended)

Click here for the recipe via All Recipes 

Want more on healthy dancer recipes? Email the Dance World Editor!

danielle@on1dancewear.com

 

Boston Ballet’s Dusty Button

What I’ve learned from Formula 1 Racers: Ballerina Dusty Button
By: The Dance World Editor

DI_Dusty_MAINBy Allison Gupton of Dance Informa.

She’s not just her multiple pirouettes. She’s not just her gorgeous lines. Dusty Button, principal dancer for Boston Ballet, is so much more. She is a choreographer, dance fashion line designer, car enthusiast, dedicated wife and an inspiration to young dancers everywhere.

Dance Informa was fortunate enough to chat with Button about her inspirations, what a day in her life looks like and her advice for dancers wanting to pursue a career in ballet.

Tell me a little bit about where you’re from and your dance training. What made you want to pursue a more ballet-centric career?

“I am a Southern Bell, having grown up in South Carolina, and the training was much slower paced than that of London, New York City and Boston, as I learned once leaving home at a young age to pursue my career. I am very structured and of all genres that I studied, ballet seemed to be the one with the richest and most structured history. With a foundation like that I can only see room for growth.”

 

Read the rest of the article HERE

Healthy Food Choices

Healthy food choices for Dancers

By: The Dance Wolrd Editor

By Emily C. Harrison MS, RD, LD. via Dance Informa
www.dancernutrition.com.

If you are one of the many people who have had a hard time losing a few pounds using traditional approaches of counting calories and fat grams, then it’s time for a new approach. New Year’s resolutions give us an enthusiastic opportunity to seize the day, but how do we really make change happen and stick to it in a sustainable way?  “Sustainability” has become such a buzzword that can all too easily lose its impact or become cliche.  But making choices that are sustainable for our bodies, our busy lives, and the environment is exactly what we have to do to make a lasting difference.  The beauty of the sustainability approach, is that when you stop obsessing over calories, fat grams, and carbs, you open yourself up to making delicious food choices based on more positive criteria.

#1 Eat Real Food 

Before you make a food choice, ask yourself if it’s real food. “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”.  Michael Pollan’s famous quote sounds so simple, but in this day of ultra processed food, we have to actually define “real food”.  This means fresh, unprocessed fruits, vegetables, beans, seeds, nuts and whole grains.  If the food label is longer than a typical tweet, or if you don’t recognize some of the ingredients, then rethink eating it.  This doesn’t have to be hard. Instead of a pop tart for breakfast, grab overnight oats out of the fridge.  Instead of cheese puffs from the vending machine, pack almonds and a clementine.  Instead of chicken nuggets for lunch, have a hummus, cucumber, spinach sandwich on whole grain bread with lentil soup.  Don’t stress about calories, simply plan ahead to aim to get a fruit or veg at each meal and snack.

#2 Eat Clean 

Eating real food (not from packages, boxes, cans, or plastic) automatically limits your exposure to some substances that have been linked to weight gain, learning challenges, and even sometimes cancer.   Packaged, conventional products often have more sugar, salt, fat, additives, preservatives, colors, dyes, GMOs, pesticides, herbicides, and nasty chemicals like BPA.  Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical found in the lining of canned foods, plastic packaging, and some drink bottles.  There are numerous studies linking BPA and the rising rates of obesity 1,2,3,9. The obesity epidemic is multifaceted and bigger than just our over consumption of calories, but chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics in our food are thought to be contributing factors 1,2,3,10.

When you consider what else could be in your food besides calories and fat you automatically begin to make choices that support a healthy weight.  Don’t be misled by healthwashing claims that your bag of chips are “natural”4.  The word “natural” on your food package isn’t clearly defined in the U.S..  Instead, take 15 minutes to boil some quinoa, toss with dried fruit, nuts, and some olive oil dressing and presto you have dinner without any packages going to landfill.  Throw some beans, onion, and green pepper in the slow cooker, serve with rice, and dinner will be waiting for you when you get home from a long day.  Make extra to save.  No packages required, the calories will naturally be lower than something from a box, and you limit your exposure to obesogenic substances.  The Centers for Science in the Public Interest and The Environmental Working Group have wonderful tools that allow you to know more about how substances can affect the human body 3,4,8,9.

#3 Your Food Choices Affect More Than Just Your Waistline

Your food choices affect others. When you make the decision to buy a burger and soda you choose food products that come from a very unhealthy system.  Sodas and even bread contain high fructose corn syrup which is genetically modified to withstand spraying of industrial herbicides. The meat is likely from a factory farm that routinely uses antibiotics which contribute to antibiotic resistant infections in people (in the U.S.). It is estimated that 90,000 people die each year from antibiotic resistant infections and resistance is a major public health crisis10. Children who live near factory farms have higher rates of asthma and farm animal waste runoff has been linked to e. coli outbreaks10.  Red meat production contributes heavily to pollution5,6,9,10. Choose a veggie burger instead, you’ll get less calories and fat but you also positively impact others on the planet.

Ultimately you are voting with your fork to decide what kind of future you want. This New Year, instead of worrying about calories, make a real sustainable difference by eating clean, eating less meat and dairy, and eating with the seasons. You just might be surprised how sustainable eating affects your waist line (and waste line) well after January’s burst of motivation has worn off.

Emily Harrison
Emily Cook Harrison MS, RD, LD
Emily is a registered dietitian and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nutrition from Georgia State University. Her master’s thesis research was on elite level ballet dancers and nutrition and she has experience providing nutrition services for weight management, sports nutrition, disordered eating, disease prevention, and food allergies. Emily was a professional dancer for eleven years with the Atlanta Ballet and several other companies. She is a dance educator and the mother of two young children. She now runs the Centre for Dance Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles. She can be reached at emily@dancernutrition.com
www.dancernutrition.com

Sources:

1. Association Between Urinary Bisphenol A Concentration and Obesity Prevalence in Children and Adolescents. JAMA. 2012;308(11):1113-1121.  jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1360865
2. BPA in food packaging tied to childhood obesity: http://contemporarypediatrics.modernmedicine.com/contemporary-pediatrics/news/modernmedicine/modern-medicine-feature-articles/bpa-food-packaging-cont?page=full
CDC.gov, Overweight an Obesity:  www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html
3. Center for Science in the Public Interest: Chemical Cuisine, Learn about Food Additives: www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm
4. Center for Science in the Public Interest: Eating Green. www.cspinet.org/EatingGreen/
5. Live Science:  www.livescience.com/22050-heat-waves-high-death-tolls.html
6. Years of Living Dangerously: http://yearsoflivingdangerously.com/topic/heat/
7. Healthwashing: www.huffingtonpost.com/andy-bellatti/healthwashing_b_4101450.html
8. CSPI Food Day: Food Impact Quiz: www.foodday.org/14questions
9. Environmental Working Group. ewg.org
10. Industrial Farm Animal Production in America: a report of the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 2010.

Cozy Winter Wishes

By: Danielle Hernandez A Dance World Editor

This week’s picks are perfect for keeping warm in class this winter. Staying warm and properly warming up is crucial during the winter months as exerting cold muscles can lead to injury.  Here is a collection of some of our favorite pieces of warm ups and knitwear to add to your collection this season.

clairkd

Shadow Stripe Wrap Sweater and Shadow Stripe High Waist Shorts by KD Dance.

These 2 pieces are the perfect addition to any dancer’s wardrobe. Wear them as featured or pair one or both over a leotard and tights.

capezioromper

 

Capezio Long Sleeve Knit Romper

Nothing says Prima Ballerina like a classic looking romper. This Capezio romper features thumb hole and dolman sleeves.

jumpsuitsansha
Sansha Jumpsuit

 

 

Sansha Knit Jumpsuit

All dancers, especially ballet dancers need a great jumpsuit as part of their collection. The top can be folded over for a different look and it’s the perfect piece when warming up at the barre.

warmupboots_1024x1024

Bloch Warm-up booties

These are a must have for any dancer- especially those taking multiple classes. These boots are incredibly warm, comfortable and can be worn alone or over your ballet and pointe shoes.

We’ve shared our favorites. Tell us which one you love! What is your go-to dance look this winter? Leave a comment.

 

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