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 advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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Studio Bleu students Jaxon Keller, Samantha Halker and Alia Wiggins. Photos by Chris Stark

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When it comes to equipment, dancers don't need much—just shoes and whatever can fit in their dance bag. But between rehearsals in the studio and performances on stage, one major piece of equipment often goes overlooked—the floor.

Dancers too often find themselves warming up on the concrete or carpet backstage, or wanting to practice in a location without a proper floor. For years, Harlequin Floors has offered a solution to this problem with its innovative turning board, offering a portable and personal floor that can be flipped between marley and wood. Now, they've revolutionized portability again with their practice mat, offering dancers the option to roll up their own personal floor and sling it over their shoulders like a yoga mat.

We spoke with experts from every corner of the dance industry to see how Harlequin's products have become their everyday essentials:

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