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

"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

Christian Newman

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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Topical Pain Relievers Are the Next Item on Your Dancer Self-Care Supply List

With the stressors of the pandemic still lingering more than one year later, self-care is, rightfully, a priority for everyone right now. But dancers have always known the importance of keeping their bodies and minds as healthy as possible. After all, your body is your instrument, and as we make our long-awaited returns to the studio and stage, finding self-care strategies that work for you will be crucial to getting back up to speed—mentally and physically—with your rigorous performing and training schedule.

Dancers have a myriad of options to choose from when it comes to treating minor ailments like soreness, swelling and bruising. One that's quickly gaining popularity are topical pain relievers, which provide targeted, temporary relief of minor pain. These days, there's more than just your tried-and-true Tiger Balm on the shelves. From CBD lotions to warming gels and patches, finding the product that's right for you can be as difficult as finding the perfect Rockette-red shade of lipstick…but even more beneficial to your dance career.

Read on for our breakdown of some of the most common ingredients to look out for in the topical pain relief aisle.

May 2021