Coming Soon: Doctors Who Actually Get Dancers
Ever gone to the doctor and feel like they just don't "get it"? Dancers don't exactly live regular lives, and they don't have regular needs. So regular physicians don't always have the know-how to answer your questions or advise you in a way that makes sense within a dancer's lifestyle.
There's good news: Next month, The Actor's Fund and Mount Sinai are opening a doctor's office specifically for performers. The Friedman Health Center for the Performing Arts will offer primary and specialty care right in The Actor's Fund's building in New York City's Times Square.
Watch Wendy Whelan and other performers explain the benefits here.
Because it's catering to performing artists, the center will have extended hours that accommodate dancers' abnormal schedules. It will also be flexible enough to handle the many health insurance changes that freelancers and Broadway performers often have to deal with. (This comes as especially welcome news since the current political climate has left so many dancers uncertain about what sort of coverage they'll have in the future.)
This is just the latest offering from The Actor's Fund. While visiting the building, you can also get personalized health insurance counseling to figure out your best options and how to enroll. You can go to a Dancers' Resource support group if you're struggling with an injury, get advice from Career Transition for Dancers, speak with a financial counselor, and take advantage of the many benefits The Actor's Fund offers dancers. Don't be fooled by its name—anyone in the performing arts qualifies.
Just hearing the word "improvisation" is enough to make some ballet dancers shake in their pointe shoes. But for Chantelle Pianetta, it's a practice she relishes. Depending on the weekend, you might find her gracing Bay Area stages as a principal with Menlowe Ballet or sweeping in awards at West Coast swing competitions.
She specializes in Jack and Jill events, which involve improvised swing dancing with an unexpected partner in front of a panel of judges. (Check her out in action below.) While sustaining her ballet career, over the past four years Pianetta has quickly risen from novice to champion level on the WCS international competition circuit.
Sean Dorsey was always going to be an activist. Growing up in a politically engaged, progressive family in Vancouver, British Columbia, "it was my heart's desire to create change in the world," he says. Far less certain was his future as a dancer.
Like many dancers, Dorsey fell in love with movement as a toddler. However, he didn't identify strongly with any particular gender growing up. Dorsey, who now identifies as trans, says, "I didn't see a single person like me anywhere in the modern dance world." The lack of trans role models and teachers, let alone all-gender studio facilities where he could feel safe and welcome, "meant that even in my wildest dreams, there was no room for that possibility."
It's hour three of an intense rehearsal, you're feeling mentally foggy and exhausted, and your stomach hurts. Did you know the culprit could be something as simple as dehydration?
Proper hydration helps maintain physical and mental function while you're dancing, and keeps your energy levels high. But with so many products on the market promising to help you rehydrate more effectively, how do you know when it's time to reach for more than water?
Inside a bustling television studio in Los Angeles, Lindsay Arnold Cusick hears the words "Five minutes to showtime." While dancers and celebrities covered head to toe in sequins whirl around preparing for their live performances on "Dancing with the Stars," Cusick pauses to say a prayer to God and express her gratitude.
"I know that it's not a given, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to do what I love for a living," says Cusick, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For her, prayer is a ritualized expression of her faith that she has maintained since she was a girl in Provo, Utah. Even with her seven-plus years of industry experience, she always takes a moment to steady herself and close her prayer in Christ's name before rushing onto the stage.