Health & Body

Your Body Tips

Should You Be Eating…Insects?!

Warning to anyone squeamish: Bugs are about to become the next health craze. In 2013, the U.N. recommended edible insects as an eco-friendly way to provide enough protein to an ever-growing population. Now, nutrition experts have gotten on board for the critters’ many health benefits: Because they’re eaten whole with their exoskeleton and internal organs, insects contain all nine essential amino acids, plus omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, insoluble fiber and B vitamins.

Before you cringe, know that there may already be several bugs in the processed meals and snacks we eat. Many companies have long used insects for purposes like dyeing foods and coating candy. And the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows packaged food to contain certain amounts of “accidental insect fragments”—up to 90 fragments per 100 grams of chocolate, for example—because these bits and pieces are essentially harmless.

Today, aside from the occasional grasshopper taco, entrepreneurs are mostly grinding up farm-raised insects (typically crickets, which have a nutty, toasted flavor) into a flour that can be used in baked goods and protein bars. Want to try a taste? Check out products like Exo’s cricket-flour protein bars or the cookies from Bitty Foods.

Power Through Cramps

Menstrual cramps are never a welcome visitor, but on a performance or audition day, they can be especially distressing. To help them pass more quickly, increase your core temperature with an easy warm-up, like a few yoga moves or a gentle jog. The heat will speed the breakdown of the inflammatory compounds that make your uterine muscles contract, shortening the amount of time you’re in pain.

Kota Yamazaki, Mina Nishimura, Raja Feather Kelly and Julian Barnett, Photo by Janelle Jones

Japanese-born, New York–based choreographer Kota Yamazaki returns to his roots as a butoh dancer in Darkness Odyssey Part 2: I or Hallucination. He explores butoh founder Tatsumi Hijikata's idea of the extreme fragility of the body. Yamazaki is joined by contemporary luminaries Julian Barnett, Raja Feather Kelly, Joanna Kotze and Mina Nishimura, each of whom engages in drastically eccentric pathways, making the body appear to disintegrate before your eyes. Music is by Kenta Nagai and visual environment by lighting wizard Thomas Dunn. Dec. 13–15, Baryshnikov Arts Center. bacnyc.org.

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Melina and Regina Willoughby, photo by Ashley Concannon

There's a surprising twist to Regina Willoughby's last season with Columbia City Ballet: It's also her 18-year-old daughter Melina's first season with the company. Regina, 40, will retire from the stage in March, just as her daughter starts her own career as a trainee. But for this one season, they're sharing the stage together.

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Career
Garnet Henderson and Rebecca Hadley, PC Julie Lemberger

"So what do you do?"

This is the first question many of us ask when we're getting to know a new person—but it's one I've come to dread. When I tell people that I'm a dancer, occasionally I am met with enthusiasm and interest. But more often, I'm met with confusion, condescension or even hostility. "Oh, that's fun. I wish I could do something fun like that," a new acquaintance once said to me. She then proceeded to tell me about how difficult her job was and how hard she was working, making it clear that in her mind "fun" meant "easy." And if I had a dollar for every time a simple getting-to-know-you conversation has turned into a debate in which I've had to defend my career choice, maybe I could quit one of my other jobs.

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Dancers & Companies
Peter Martins. Photo by Adam Shankbone, Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

(Update: Peter Martins will be taking a leave of absence from the company as more accusations surface. Read more here.)

Yesterday The New York Times reported that New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet are jointly investigating sexual harassment claims involving Peter Martins. According to a statement from SAB, it "recently received an anonymous letter making general, nonspecific allegations of sexual harassment in the past by Peter Martins at both New York City Ballet and the school."

Martins, who serves as NYCB's ballet master in chief and SAB's chairman of faculty and artistic director will not be teaching his weekly class at the school as the investigation continues. He currently maintains his positions at both organizations.

While sexual harassment allegations have recently been made against a growing list of Hollywood heavy-hitters, politicians, news anchors and other men in positions of power, this is the first investigation this year of a major figure from the dance world.

Immediate reactions were varied, though emotionally charged. Here are a few of the many responses:

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From left: Justin Peck, Rebecca Krohn, Jonathan Stafford and Craig Hall. Photo by Erin Baiano, via The New York Times.

On Saturday, New York City Ballet announced who will be leading the company while ballet master in chief Peter Martins is on a self-requested leave of absence amidst an ongoing investigation into sexual harassment allegations.

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Thinkstock

Simone Messmer was 19 the first time she used cocaine. She was at another company's gala when someone pulled out a bag of the white powder. There, at the coat check counter, party guests took turns snorting the drug. "I was hesitant, but at the time I was willing to try anything once," she says. "Everyone around me was getting hyped up. But for me, it made me feel grounded."

She would later learn that her reaction—feeling grounded instead of hyped—probably had to do with undiagnosed ADHD. The sensation kept Messmer, then a corps member at American Ballet Theatre, returning to the drug multiple times a week for a year. And it nearly jeopardized her career.

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Dancers & Companies
Barker in class with Royal New Zealand Ballet. Photo by Stephen A'Court, Courtesy RNZB

According to several reports from New Zealand–based news outlets over the past week, the Royal New Zealand Ballet is facing significant internal upheaval just a few months after Patricia Barker took over as artistic director.

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Dancers & Companies
PC Getty Images

Last night, the New York City Ballet board of directors approved ballet master in chief Peter Martins' request for a temporary leave of absence amidst an ongoing investigation into sexual harassment.

The investigation came to light on Monday, when the New York Times reported that NYCB and the School of American Ballet had hired a law firm to investigate their leader after receiving an anonymous letter detailing instances of harassment.

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Dancers & Companies
Wendy Whelan with Kyle Abraham

While it's appalling that any male leader would use his power to humiliate women, the accusations against Peter Martins opens up a wonderful, rosy possibility. In an email conversation about Martins stepping down temporarily, a friend of mine wrote, "They won't hire a man in this climate."

I suddenly found myself getting giddy with the thought that a woman might lead New York City Ballet. I pictured a former NYCB principal coming in and calming the dancers down, respecting them, inspiring them, treating them like adults, listening to them and encouraging communication between all factions of the company.

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Health & Body
Ascaf, Courtesy Batsheva

A newcomer to Batsheva's main company, 23-year-old Amalia Smith is quickly learning how to keep her body safe and supple during Ohad Naharin's rigorous rehearsals and world tours. Fatigue has become both a hurdle and a teacher.

"Decadance is pretty much a marathon, and the new piece Venezuela is such crazy cardio I nearly had an asthma attack!" says Smith. Fortunately, the new discoveries she's made through Gaga have helped her handle its intense demands.

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