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6 Easy Eco-Friendly Swaps All Dancers Can Make

With dancers' busy schedules, it's easy to forget about how much waste we're creating, or how our daily routines might be contributing to pollution or climate change. But the fact is that everything we do—from getting ready for a show backstage to fueling up for a rehearsal—has an impact on the environment.

Start small by swapping out these six everyday items for eco-friendly versions. Don't worry, they aren't overly expensive: In fact some of them may save you money.


#1: Ditch Plastic Water Bottles

Swearing off plastic waters bottles is perhaps the easiest way dancers can make their dance practice more sustainable. Luckily, there are tons of fun, customizable reusable brands, like S'well, bkr and Klean Kanteen.

#2: Restock Your Stage Makeup

You may not think of your stage makeup as contributing to pollution, but the plastic packaging that many products come in creates unnecessary waste (that's often not recyclable) and the chemicals in some products pollute our waterways. Brands like Axiology, Inika and ILIA are committed to using natural ingredients and eco-friendly manufacturing practices.

#3: Bring Better Tupperware

We're all for bringing your own healthy meals backstage and to rehearsals. But instead of using plastic baggies or tupperware—which are made from fossil fuels and can leak chemicals into our food—opt for stainless steel or glass containers.

#4: Buy Non-Aerosol Hair Products

Yes, we've come a long way as far as ridding hairspray of toxic chemicals. But many hair products still contain aerosols, which contribute to smog and can damage our water supply. Non-aerosol products are just as effective at taming your flyaways.

#5: Swap Out Your Sneakers

Fast fashion shoe production tends to leave a large carbon footprint. Swap out your cross-training sneaks for a brand like Ecoalf, which makes its shoes from recycled waste.

#6: Upgrade Your Yoga or Pilates Mat

If you're using a mat to cross-train, make sure it's one that's free of PVC, synthetic rubbers and other ozone-depleting substances.

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TaraMarie Perri in tree pose at Storm King Art Center. Photo by Sophie Kuller, Courtesy Perri

5 Self-Soothing Exercises You Can Do to Calm Your Anxiety

Physical stillness can be one of the hardest things to master in dance. But stillness in the bigger sense—like when your career and life are on hold—goes against every dancers' natural instincts.

"Dancers are less comfortable with stillness and change than most," says TaraMarie Perri, founder and director of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and Mind Body Dancer. "Through daily discipline, we are trained to move through space and are attracted to forward momentum. Simply put, dancers are far more comfortable when they have a sense of control over the movements and when life is 'in action.' "

To regain that sense of control, and soothe some of the anxiety most of us are feeling right now, it helps to do what we know best: Get back into our bodies. Certain movements and shapes can help ground us, calm our nervous system and bring us into the present.

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