On the Road Again: Our Best Tips for Staying Healthy On Tour

July 10, 2016

Now that we’re a couple of weeks into July, summer touring is in full swing. While you might have your cross-training, meal plan and daily routine down to a science when you’re at home, what do you do when you have to take the show on the road? Whether you’re headed to a dance festival, across the country or to Europe, rehearsing and performing on tour brings its own unique set of challenges. We’ve gathered a few of our best tips for staying healthy on the go.

Travel smart. 
Since dancers are so used to moving almost constantly, being cooped up for a long flight or drive can feel confining. When we talked to stars from Alvin Ailey about their strategies to keep their bodies feeling good on the plane, they cited the importance of staying hydrated, finding ways to adequately support the spine (in a word: pillows) and standing to stretch frequently. Additionally, catching a few Z’s on a long flight can help to combat jet lag.

Eating healthy
on the road
Companies typically provide their dancers with a per diem while on tour, but that doesn’t necessarily have to translate to eating out for every meal. Think about the best way to fuel your body on performance days. Pack whatever must-haves and tools you need—Alex Wong grabs his favorite protein powder, while Whitney Jensen always brings along tea—and check out a local grocery store upon arrival. If you have the means, cook your own meals. But don’t forget to sample the local cuisine—after all, trying new foods is one of the most fun parts of traveling.

Alex Wong samples the local cuisine. Photo courtesy Wong.

Stay strong. 
It might not be possible for you to complete the cross-training regime you do at home, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stay on top of your physical well-being. Check out Hubbard Street’s Jacqueline Burnett’s portable injury prevention tool kit, all of which can be tossed into a dance bag for easy transport. If you’re worried about missing yoga or Pilates class, pack your mat: apps and videos found online is one solution, though as Martha Graham principal dancer PeiJu Chien-Pott cautions, be sure to practice mindfully when working without a teacher. If the hotel you’re staying in has a gym, take advantage of it to stay on top of your weight-training, or try running outside in your new locale. But be cautious: if you’re heading into an environment that’s different from what you’re used to, such as high altitude or high humidity climates, be aware of how your stamina might be affected and plan adjustment time accordingly.

Keep bad habits at bay.
With all of the excitement that comes with working and performing in new places, it’s easy to fall into the pesky habits you purposefully keep out of your routine. Take it easy on the alcohol, make sure you’re getting plenty to eat and don’t underestimate the importance of a good night’s sleep.

Take it all in. 
Dancing on tour keeps you busy, and it can result in tunnel vision. Don’t lose sight of the fact that one of the coolest perks of life as a dancer is getting to travel for your job. Be a tourist when you aren’t in the theatre, absorb what you can of the local culture and enjoy the bonding experience of being in a new place with your colleagues. You’ll be home before you know it.

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