Could CBD Be a Game Changer for Dancers?
As more states legalize cannabis, it seems the sales pitch for cannabidiol—or CBD—gets broader and broader. A quick internet search turns up claims that CBD helps with pain, depression, acne, arthritis, anxiety, insomnia, heart disease, post-traumatic stress, epilepsy and cancer. But the marketplace is unregulated, which makes it tricky to find out what CBD actually does.
Still, some dance pros have become pro-CBD. James Moore, a principal at Pacific Northwest Ballet, has been using CBD capsules, tinctures and topical creams for almost four years, and he believes it's extended his career.
"The stigma still persists, and I don't want to have a reputation as a stoner," says Moore. "But CBD has really helped me. At 37 years old, it's getting harder to do what I do on a daily basis, but I wake up feeling more refreshed, with my muscles more pliable. I get a really direct benefit where I have arthritis in the SI joint in my back, and I'm less sore overall, without popping pain relievers containing harsh chemicals."
What Can It Actually Do?
Cannabidiol is the second-most abundant material in cannabis, but it won't get you high like the better-known psychoactive component of the marijuana plant, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). And experts believe that CBD has the potential to live up to at least some of the hype.
"Research shows that CBD in isolation doesn't have addiction liability and it significantly reduces inflammation and pain in animals," says Sara Jane Ward, PhD, who has been studying CBD for 10 years. "However, there is almost no clinical data on its effects in humans."
Yet Michelle Rodriguez, director of Manhattan Physio Group, is optimistic about the potential benefits. (In fact, her practice sells its own line of CBD bath bombs, tinctures and capsules.)
"When it's a good product, I've seen CBD aid in recovery of sore muscles and help the body heal itself," she says. "It's anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic, so paired with massage, it can relieve muscle strain."
Is It Legal?
Just because CBD products are widely available, it doesn't mean they're all above-board. The legality is complicated: In some states, anyone with a medical marijuana card can buy pot products, but Ward stresses that since CBD is coming from cannabis, it is technically a Schedule 1 drug—federally illegal, that is—according to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
"I don't think the DEA is actively trying to bust CBD users," says Ward. But in this Wild West environment, marketers can make outlandish claims with no official regulator. Third-party watchdogs have found THC, pesticides, bacteria, fungus, traces of the opioid fentanyl and other dangerous substances in CBD products.
Ward says the safest purchase is hemp-derived CBD. Hemp is a strain of cannabis that is now legal to grow and extract, as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent THC.
So, What Do The Experts Recommend?
If you want to try CBD, consult your doctor first—there could be concerns about the interaction with other medications, says Ward. There isn't enough research to confirm what dosage is most effective, so start slow; you may be more reactive to what is mild for someone else. And don't mix it with alcohol, warns Rodriguez.
Kendall Alway, owner of SF Performing Arts Physical Therapy, remains skeptical. "I'm supportive of things that work, but I see more and more conflicting information on CBD," she says. "The cream from one dispensary might not be the same as the one you buy at another. It could contain THC even if it's not supposed to. And I can't imagine that a dancer would be happy about becoming inebriated when they're expecting pain relief."
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Capezio, Bloch, So Dança, Gaynor Minden.
At the top of the line, dancers have plenty of quality footwear options to choose from, and in most metropolitan areas, stores to go try them on. But for many of North America's most economically disadvantaged dance students, there has often been just one option for purchasing footwear in person: Payless ShoeSource.
When Sonya Tayeh saw Moulin Rouge! for the first time, on opening night at a movie theater in Detroit, she remembers not only being inspired by the story, but noticing the way it was filmed.
"What struck me the most was the pace, and the erratic feeling it had," she says. The camera's quick shifts and angles reminded her of bodies in motion. "I was like, 'What is this movie? This is so insane and marvelous and excessive,' " she says. "And excessive is I think how I approach dance. I enjoy the challenge of swiftness, and the pushing of the body. I love piling on a lot of vocabulary and seeing what comes out."
Back when Robbie Fairchild graced the cover of the May 2018 issue of Dance Magazine, he mentioned an idea for a short dance film he was toying around with. That idea has now come to fruition: In This Life, starring Fairchild and directed by dance filmmaker Bat-Sheva Guez, is being screened at this year's Dance on Camera Festival.
While the film itself covers heavy material—specifically, how we deal with grief and loss—the making of it was anything but: "It was really weird to have so much fun filming a piece about grief!" Fairchild laughs. We caught up with him, Guez and Christopher Wheeldon (one of In This Life's five choreographers) to find out what went into creating the 11-minute short film.
When Hollywood needs to build a fantasy world populated with extraordinary creatures, they call Terry Notary.
The former gymnast and circus performer got his start in film in 2000 when Ron Howard asked him to teach the actors how to move like Whos for How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Notary has since served as a movement choreographer, stunt coordinator and performer via motion capture technology for everything from the Planet of the Apes series to The Hobbit trilogy, Avatar, Avengers: Endgame and this summer's The Lion King.
Since opening the Industry Dance Academy with his wife, Rhonda, and partners Maia and Richard Suckle, Notary also offers movement workshops for actors in Los Angeles.