How to Live Alone—Without Overeating
Help! I was never a big eater until I got an apartment without a roommate. Landing a wonderful, well-paying role in a musical made it possible to move to a spacious studio with an open kitchen. So what's with my sudden need to keep eating?
—Food Junky, Queens, NY
After ruling out any metabolic disorders associated with changes in your eating habits, you might consider the layout of your apartment. While open kitchens are trendy, a recent study in Environment & Behavior shows that people who see extra food get more refills and end up eating a greater amount of calories. Unless you want to remove everything edible from your countertops, a strategically placed screen between you and the kitchen can help solve this problem.
It also sounds like you're under considerable stress, due to all the life changes that have happened recently. Landing a new role is a major professional achievement, but with it can come different responsibilities, job conditions or hours. Plus, you've had a change in your living situation and have altered your social habits, since you left your roommate. According to the Social Readjustment Rating Scale, an inventory of common stressors used in psychology, the more changes you have within a year, the higher your chance of developing a stress-related disorder, such as overeating. Although the impact of a particular stressor will vary from one dancer to another, you can regain a greater sense of stability by practicing good health habits, such as getting rid of any junk food, and scheduling regular meet-ups with friends.
Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at email@example.com.
For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.
New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.
"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "
She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.
Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"
At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle with Ballet Theatre, she staked her claim to that title role.
Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.