A strong work ethic doesn't entail running yourself into the ground. Photo Courtesy Thinkstock.

Headed Toward Burnout? Here's How to Rethink Your Work Ethic

After reading your column I now understand the problems of being a workaholic. My dilemma is that the dance teachers in my BFA program praise an extreme work ethic and use me as a role model for other dancers. How can I give my body a break?

—Burned-Out Dancer, New York, NY


Why not rethink what a good work ethic entails? Part of being a diligent dancer is taking care of your body with smart recovery strategies. If you're working hard all of the time, you'll likely end up running yourself down, and you won't be able to perform at your best. However, if you start focusing more on recovery, you should return to the studio feeling extra refreshed and engaged.

During breaks throughout your dance day, increase your mental and physical reserves with a combination of the following:

  • taking short naps
  • listening to music
  • rolling out
  • lying down with your legs up sans shoes to reduce swelling

Photo by Nathan Sayers

At night, aim for nine or more hours of sleep, and don't forget to eat regular meals and snacks that fuel your body. Weekly rejuvenating activities, like massage and acupuncture, are equally important. With practical strategies like these, your reputation as a role model should remain intact.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at advicefordancers@dancemedia.com.

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What It Was Like When Ruth Bader Ginsburg Was in the Audience—or Backstage

The 27 years that Ruth Bader Ginsburg spent on the U.S. Supreme Court were 27 years that she spent as one of Washington, D.C.'s most ardent, elegant and erudite supporters of the performing arts. The justice, who died on September 18 of metastatic cancer, was also an avid cultural tourist, traveling to the Santa Fe and Glimmerglass operas nearly every summer, as well as occasionally returning to catch shows in her native New York City.

Ginsburg's opera fandom was well known, but her tastes were wide-ranging. Particularly in the last 10 years of her life, after Ginsburg lost her beloved husband, Marty, it was not unusual for the petite justice and her security detail to be spotted at theaters several nights a week. She saw everything, from classic musicals to serious new plays, plus performances that defied classification, like Martha Clarke's dance drama Chéri, with Alessandra Ferri and Herman Cornejo, which toured to the Kennedy Center in 2014.

To honor Ginsburg, Dance Magazine asked three dance artists whose performances the justice attended to recall what Ginsburg meant to them.

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