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4 Ways to #TreatYourself During Nutcracker Season

For many dancers, Thanksgiving signals the kickoff of Nutcracker performances. But right now—that is, the calm before the magical winter storm—is the perfect time to start planning your survival strategies. Though it's certainly important to think about how you'll fuel your body, stay rested and ward off injury and illness, it's also necessary to build in some fun. Try these four light-hearted ideas to help you power through a marathon of performances. Cheers!

Photo by Jordan Matter, via dancersamongus.com

Via zadiesmith.com

Start a book club with your fellow dancers. It'll give you something to discuss in the dressing room besides the daily tally of your aches and pains. (We recommend Zadie Smith's new novel, Swing Time. While it's not a book solely about dance, it tackles identity, race and class as it traces the lives of two women with divergent paths. Their common bond? Shared dance classes when they were young girls, both from poor families in London. Lovers of tap and old-fashioned movie musicals will also appreciate the references to the Nicholas Brothers and several of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers' routines.)

Have a movie night—while you foam roll. Whether it's a cheesy holiday flick on cable or your favorite Christmas movie—like It's a Wonderful Life or A Charlie Brown Christmas—vegging in front of the tube is totally necessary during Nutcracker. If you're looking for dance-related fare, try these options:

— Hairspray LIVE! because who doesn't love a feel-good musical? Airs December 7 at 8 pm Eastern/7 pm Central on NBC.

— A Nutcracker Christmas, a Hallmark Channel original movie that's part love story, part ballet flick and stars former American Ballet Theatre soloist Sascha Radetsky and young phenom Sophia Lucia of "Dance Moms" fame. Premieres December 10 at 8 pm Eastern/7 pm Central on the Hallmark Channel. Click here for additional air times.

Via Getting to the Nutcracker

Getting to the Nutcracker is worth a watch if you're looking for some inspiration. The documentary follows students at the Los Angeles–based Marat Daukayev Ballet Theatre from Nutcracker auditions to the final curtain call. Available to rent on Amazon or stream for free with Amazon Prime.

George Balanchine's The Nutcracker brings a quintessential Nutcracker experience to your living room. New York City Ballet's version from 1993 features big names like Darci Kistler, Damian Woetzel, Kyra Nichols and Wendy Whelan. Oh, and a little boy by the name of Macaulay Culkin. Available to rent on Amazon.

Be an audience member. On a night that you're not performing, reverse your role and sit in the house of another dance production. Whether you take a trip to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular or watch a friend in her company's Nutcracker, seeing another show will give you fresh perspective and help reawaken the magic of the season, especially if you're feeling rundown.

Angela Cranford/MSG Photos, courtesy MSG.

Pull out your apron and pre-heat the oven. Holiday baking isn't just delicious (warm cookies with gooey, melty chocolate...mmm), it can be therapeutic. Turn on some relaxing music, bake solo and surprise your company with treats. Or, schedule a free afternoon to bake with your dance friends. If you're stuck for recipes, try these three that the Rockettes shared with us.

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