Manzi in rehearsal, Photo via Instagram

"Besides the stage, baking is my other happy place," says New York City Ballet corps member Jenelle Manzi.

Four years ago, she thought her baking days were over when she was diagnosed with gluten intolerance. Manzi had been dealing with pain, frequent illness and joint inflammation for nearly 10 years. Once she cut out gluten, Manzi gradually started to feel better, noticing a transformation in how her body felt and functioned. She found her joints were less inflamed, and she got sick less often.

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How can I prevent injuries when I'm rehearsing new pieces most days and performing them at night? I've only been a corps member for a few years, but my body is starting to feel like a bag of bones.

—B.C., New York, NY

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Even the most veteran of performers can suffer from nerves before hitting the stage. While most of us feel most at home in front of a crowd once we're there, sometimes the wait to go on can be uneasy.

Breathing with intention is a simple way to calm this stage fright. According to Psychology Today, deep breathing, specifically through the diaphragm, can activate the vagus nerve, and trigger the "relaxation response" of your parasympathetic nervous system and lessen anger, anxiety, stress and even inflammation.

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Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp in 1959. Photo courtesy DM Archives

Dance Magazine has been writing about fitness and nutrition for dancers since before the phrase dance medicine existed. For our 90th anniversary, we took a look through our archives to find out how we've advised readers through the years. It turns out, some of our health coverage stands the test of time better than others.

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Jim Lafferty

Dancers looking to increase their flexibility rarely think about their upper backs. But this common place of tension could limit your neural mobility.

"The mobility of your back, especially your upper back, is very important when thinking about the mobility of the nervous system, fascial system and flexibility in general," says leading dance physiotherapist Lisa Howell in her Front Splits Fast Program. "If your upper back is very tight, then the nerves and fascia that lie along the spine can get restricted."

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I plan on moving to New York City this fall to continue my training and freelance work as a dancer/choreographer. A big concern is whether my health insurance will cover my medical needs for asthma. Can you give me any recommendations?

—Casey, San Francisco, CA

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Xiao Nan Yu in rehearsal for A Month In The Country. Photo by Bruce Zinger, courtesy National Ballet of Canada

What does it take to sustain a 20-year ballet career? The luminous principal dancer Xiao Nan Yu, who just marked two decades with National Ballet of Canada, shares how she's kept her body strong for long-term success:

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Danza Contemporanea de Cuba. Photo by Quinn Wharton

Summertime, and the living is...steamy. Studios can be hot. Outdoor festivals can be grueling—especially once those stage lights turn on. When the temperatures rise, movement feels harder and your body fatigues faster.

What's a dancer to do? Follow these steps to make the heat less taxing on your body so that it doesn't keep you from dancing your best.

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