Christopher Peddecord, Courtesy Werhun

5 Things Dancers Could Learn From Triathlons

Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal's Ashley Werhun has a quirky post-season hobby: mini triathlons. The race includes a 250-meter swim, a 10-kilo­meter bike ride and a 2.5-kilometer run. What can dancers get out of taking part in this very different sport?

You'll Appreciate Your Physical Possibilities

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"It felt so good to identify as just a human accomplishing something, as opposed to a 'dancer,'" says Werhun. "I can appreciate my body for something else besides dancing."


It Feels Great to Encourage All Abilities

"I loved the atmosphere, where all levels of fitness and ages come together, with people passing me cheering me on. I got the same high that I do from performing. It's amazing to have that feeling off-season."

You Need to Relax After Pushing Yourself

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At the finish line, Werhun was glad to see physical therapy and massage available. She took it easy for a few days after the race. "I made sure to roll out and stretch, and sit in the hot tub that week to rebalance anything that the race did to my body."

Cross-Training Improves Stamina Without Wearing You Out

To train, Werhun swims two to three times a week for 30 minutes, including high-intensity intervals (switching between crawl, backstroke and breaststroke).

Swimming Can Double As Self-Care

Werhun, photographed by Jeremy Coachman

Being in the pool helps Werhun tackle BJM's versatile rep, with its unpredictable challenges. "We might be on pointe in one piece, and then do something earthy in kneepads for another. My body can get super-confused. I need something that brings me back to neutral. Swimming does that. It's like getting a massage."

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Here's What to Do If You Find Out Your Company Is Closing

Relegated to the last phases of COVID-19 reopening, many dance companies have hung on precariously through slashed ticket revenue, reduced government funding and slowed philanthropic giving.

"A heartbreaking reality is that some companies may not recover financially from this pandemic," says Nora Heiber, the Western executive at the American Guild of Musical Artists. Many large companies will survive by tightening their belts, but smaller groups, hardly with an abundant cash flow to begin with, may face closures, leaving their dancers afloat in a tenuous job market. We asked three experts, including a dancer who has been through a company closure, to weigh in on what to do when your job disappears.

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