Redefine Your #RelationshipGoals With Your Body & Your Plate
Trendy media outlets boast that "fit" is the new "skinny." Instagram bloggers encourage us to #eatclean. As our feeds populate with matcha-filled mornings and the deep hues of acai bowls, awareness of "healthy eating" seems to be at an all-time high.
Yet my experience as a registered dietitian in the dance industry shows me otherwise.
As a clinician, I've more recently found myself counseling less about "healthy eating" and more about how to fix broken relationships with body image and food. As a dancer, I get it.
Dancers continue to struggle with self-inflicted burdens surrounding their diet. Outdated ideas of an "ideal" body type promote pressure to achieve unrealistic perfection in an imperfect art form. We're burned out.
How do we find balance? Aside from day-to-day training, increased physical demands during peak times (think audition season and summer intensives) require dancers to adequately fuel their bodies. Here's the deal: The problem doesn't solely involve what we eat. Rather, it's buried in the confusion of how we should eat on a day-to-day basis.
Here are four ways to build a healthier relationship with food:
Maintain an Active Metabolism
Keep your metabolism revved by eating frequently. Photo by Brooke Lark/Unsplash
Our body's metabolic flame is meant to continuously burn, providing us with the energy needed to perform at our best. The most effective way to maintain this revved metabolism is simply to provide it with functional (and delicious) foods regularly. Minimally processed, high-fiber meals and snacks should be eaten every two to three hours. Stretching the time between meals will cause this metabolic flame to dim, resulting in that worn-out feeling around 5 pm.
Focus on Foods to Include, Rather Than Foods to Avoid
Focus each meal on getting protein, carbs and fat. Photo by Julien Sister/Stocksnap
Providing your body with all three macronutrients (complex carbohydrates, lean proteins and healthy fats) at multiple times throughout your day is essential. Don't be scared of carbs—they fuel your movement. Healthy fats like chia seeds, ground flax seeds, nuts and avocados heal your body and reduce the stress from your active lifestyle.
But Don't be Scared of All Packaged Foods
The first place to look on any packaged food is the ingredient list. Photo by Lluis Domingo/Unsplash
As dancers, we're busy! Prepping smoothie bowls is not always realistic. Luckily, many food companies are now playing a role in combining trusted quality with convenience. "Healthy" food is out there, as supermarket shelves are lined with packages shouting claims like "high fiber," "gluten-free" and "low fat." Just read ingredient lists before front-of-the-box claims and even before the nutrition facts label. Ask yourself: Where is the fiber coming from? Choose foods high in wholesome ingredients like whole grains—quinoa, barley, oats, amaranth, to name a few. Is the sugar natural sugar from fruit or added sugar from refined sources (think malt and syrup)? These don't have to be eliminated, but should be monitored throughout your day. What are the sources of protein and fat? Look for nourishing additions like nuts, eggs and beans.
Admit to Your Love of Food
Allow yourself to enjoy what you love! Photo by Igor Ovsyannykov/Unsplash
Food is culture. Food is fun. Food is social. Food is life. Don't fight cravings—embrace them! Whether you crave sweets, salty snacks or both, accept it and let yourself enjoy. This doesn't mean that we should create unnecessary temptations. Rather, decide on what you love and allow yourself to enjoy the best versions of these foods in moderation rather than restrict them. This attitude will help you balance indulgences without going overboard.
Just four years ago, the University of Southern California's Glorya Kaufman School of Dance welcomed its first class of BFA students. The program—which boasts world-class faculty and a revolutionary approach to training focused on collaboration and hybridity—immediately established itself as one of the country's most prestigious and most innovative.
Now, the first graduating class is entering the dance field. Here, six of the 33 graduates share what they're doing post-grad, what made their experience at USC Kaufman so meaningful and how it prepared them for their next steps:
Every dancer knows there's as much magic taking place backstage as there is in what the audience sees onstage. Behind the scenes, it takes a village, says American Ballet Theatre's wig and makeup supervisor, Rena Most. With wig and makeup preparations happening in a studio of their own as the dancers rehearse, Most and her team work to make sure not a single detail is lost.
Dance Magazine recently spoke to Most to find out what actually goes into the hair and makeup looks audiences see on the ABT stage.
On a sunny July weekend, hundreds of Seattle-area dance fans converged on tiny Vashon Island, a bucolic enclave in Puget Sound about 20 miles from the city. They made the ferry trek to attend the debut performance of the fledgling Seattle Dance Collective.
SDC is not a run-of-the-mill contemporary dance company; it's the brainchild of two of Pacific Northwest Ballet's most respected principal dancers: James Yoichi Moore and Noelani Pantastico. The duo wanted to create a nimble organization to feature dancers and choreographers they felt needed more exposure in the Pacific Northwest.