Nutcracker season starts today at many ballet companies, including New York City Ballet. For corps members like Claire Kretzschmar, that means an always demanding schedule reaches a whole new level of busy. Here's how she keeps herself going.

Kretzschmar in the Coffee variation. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB.

• At night: A hearty meal, a good night's sleep, the occasional ice bath for her feet and time to relax. "I like to read a little bit and have tea before bed. It can take me two or three hours to calm down after a show," she says.

• In the morning: Exercises to stabilize her core and hips, and breakfast while listening to a podcast and answering emails. "I find it calming to be a little productive and connect with the world."

• Pre-curtain: "I like to have a lot of time, so I normally have a snack and start getting ready with hair and makeup two hours before I have to dance."

• After the show: "I take this phrase from the TV show 'Parks and Recreation': Treat yo' self. That's one of my key phrases for heavy seasons. For me that means preparing a nice meal and having a treat after dinner, whether it's something healthier that I've baked myself or bought from my favorite bakery." Kretzschmar loves anything sweet: cakes, cookies, pies, brownies, you name it.

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