How Dancer Danielle Peazer Created Her Own Workout Method
When commercial dancer Danielle Peazer took on an ambassadorial role with Reebok in early 2016, she didn't realize the gig would also lead to a career shift. But while traveling with and teaching workshops for the brand, the idea for DDM (Danielle's Dance Method) Collective started to take shape.
"I'm not a gym person, so when I would travel, I looked for classes to take instead. I found a lack of choices, especially in the UK, for dance-based methods. I was also seeing a very one-dimensional approach to fitness on social media," recalls the London-based dancer, who has performed for pop world heavy-hitters like Kylie Minogue and Justin Timberlake. "I was posting my own workout videos on YouTube, and between the people coming up to me after class asking where I taught and the positive messages I received online, I saw there was a real want for this."
Over the next year and a half, Peazer developed her own fitness method, combining her classical ballet training at the English National Ballet School with her professional commercial work dancing in music videos, on tour and on shows like the reality-TV series "The X Factor UK." Now 29, Peazer is in full swing, with DDM Collective pop-up classes, brand collaborations and a wellness blog.
Intended for dancers and non-dancers alike, DDM includes three key components: sculpt, cardio and style. "Sculpt focuses on more isolated movements to tone the body, whereas cardio is all about getting the heart rate up and building that stamina that all dancers have," Peazer explains. "Then, the style component is more coordinated, dance-based moves."
Ranging from hip rolls to squats executed from a classical second position, DDM is designed for every level of fitness. "I'm not teaching you how to dance," Peazer says. "But I'm breaking down what I've done into simplified steps that anyone can do."
In addition to the classes, which Peazer has hosted in the UK and plans to bring to New York City and Los Angeles, she also shares free workout videos on her YouTube channel to allow people to work out on the go worldwide. "I don't want it to be something that's stressed over," Peazer says. "I want everyone to feel like they can take class and just really enjoy it."
Just hearing the word "improvisation" is enough to make some ballet dancers shake in their pointe shoes. But for Chantelle Pianetta, it's a practice she relishes. Depending on the weekend, you might find her gracing Bay Area stages as a principal with Menlowe Ballet or sweeping in awards at West Coast swing competitions.
She specializes in Jack and Jill events, which involve improvised swing dancing with an unexpected partner in front of a panel of judges. (Check her out in action below.) While sustaining her ballet career, over the past four years Pianetta has quickly risen from novice to champion level on the WCS international competition circuit.
Sean Dorsey was always going to be an activist. Growing up in a politically engaged, progressive family in Vancouver, British Columbia, "it was my heart's desire to create change in the world," he says. Far less certain was his future as a dancer.
Like many dancers, Dorsey fell in love with movement as a toddler. However, he didn't identify strongly with any particular gender growing up. Dorsey, who now identifies as trans, says, "I didn't see a single person like me anywhere in the modern dance world." The lack of trans role models and teachers, let alone all-gender studio facilities where he could feel safe and welcome, "meant that even in my wildest dreams, there was no room for that possibility."
It's hour three of an intense rehearsal, you're feeling mentally foggy and exhausted, and your stomach hurts. Did you know the culprit could be something as simple as dehydration?
Proper hydration helps maintain physical and mental function while you're dancing, and keeps your energy levels high. But with so many products on the market promising to help you rehydrate more effectively, how do you know when it's time to reach for more than water?
Inside a bustling television studio in Los Angeles, Lindsay Arnold Cusick hears the words "Five minutes to showtime." While dancers and celebrities covered head to toe in sequins whirl around preparing for their live performances on "Dancing with the Stars," Cusick pauses to say a prayer to God and express her gratitude.
"I know that it's not a given, and I'm grateful for the opportunity to do what I love for a living," says Cusick, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. For her, prayer is a ritualized expression of her faith that she has maintained since she was a girl in Provo, Utah. Even with her seven-plus years of industry experience, she always takes a moment to steady herself and close her prayer in Christ's name before rushing onto the stage.