What Dancers Eat

Forget Black Friday. This Atlanta Ballet Dancer Makes Holiday Gifts in Her Kitchen

Ashley Wegmann at work in her kitchen. Photo courtesy Wegmann

For Ashley Wegmann, food is about fuel, but it is also about community. A few times a month, she joins a group of Atlanta Ballet dancers for a rotating party they call "Family Dinner."

"Someone hosts, and we all help prep and cook while snacking and drinking wine," says Wegmann. The group also hosts a big Thanksgiving dinner each year since the dancers are always busy rehearsing The Nutcracker, and most don't live close enough to family to travel home.


"It's a huge potluck with all the traditional dishes and some international ones from our foreign dancers." The home-cooking culture is so strong at Atlanta Ballet that the dancers have created a cookbook called Bravo, which supports the Dancers' Resource Fund for career transitions.

Wegmann in Don Quixote. Photo by Charlie McCullers, courtesy Atlanta Ballet

Wegmann's specialty? Homemade chocolate chip cookies, adapted from a recipe in The New York Times. "I make them for most of our big get-togethers and special occasions," she says. "People are always requesting them."

She first started baking back in high school while growing up in New Jersey. The hobby gave her a love for creating homemade gifts. Today, one of her favorite foods to gift is infused honey. "It is so versatile," says Wegmann, who adorns her petite and festive mason jars with personal tags and string. "And it lasts a lot longer than, say, a loaf or a poppyseed cake."

How to Make Ashley Wegmann's Infused Honey:

Photo via Getty Images

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. of raw honey (preferably locally sourced)
  • 1–2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
  • 5–7 cardamom pods, cracked open so seeds are exposed

Directions:

Add cinnamon and cardamom to a half-pint mason jar, then fill with honey. Cover and let sit, in a sunny spot if possible, for two to four weeks.

The longer the honey steeps, the stronger the flavor. "I try to let the honey infuse for about a month before I gift it," says Wegmann. "I've also made other varieties with lavender and rosemary."

The Conversation
Dancers Trending
Photo by Alfredo Cannatello, courtesy Rodríguez

Mention "flamenco" to anyone in the Cuban dance scene, and they are likely to bring up Irene Rodríguez. Artistic director of Compañía Irene Rodríguez, Cuba's premiere flamenco company, Rodríguez has shared the stage with such renowned flamenco artists as Eva Yerbabuena, María Juncal and Antonio Gades. She is also a faculty member at Havana's Fernando Alonso National Ballet School, and has served as a choreography consultant at Ballet Nacional de Cuba.

Starting this week, she's stateside to direct the flamenco and Spanish dance program at Jacob's Pillow.

Keep reading... Show less
Dance Training
Irina Kolpakova in the studio with Katherine Williams. Photo by Quinn Wharton for Pointe.

Being coached by a treasure like former Kirov prima Irina Kolpakova is an experience most dancers only dream of. But company members at American Ballet Theatre have been the lucky beneficiaries of her wisdom since 1990. Thanks to Instagram, where pros like Gillian Murphy and James Whiteside share snippets of their sessions with Kolpakova, any ballet lover can be a fly on the wall during rehearsals with the famed ballet mistress.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox