January 29, 2008

A Banana a Day?

After reading the story on stage fright (Nov. 2007) I can’t believe that no one mentioned potassium, which has helped me for years. I’ve found that taking a small amount (100–200 mg) about an hour before I go on really helps with the shakes, which I used to suffer from in the first few minutes onstage. Some people eat a banana before the show, but I could never stomach that. A musician friend told me about potassium 15 years ago and it truly changed everything for me.

I also have a little ritual where I touch my heart and then the stage and ask it to be good to me. I do this before the curtain opens or as close to the time I enter as possible.

Kimberley Cooper
Artistic Associate/Resident Choreographer/Dancer

Decidedly Jazz Danceworks

Calgary, Canada

Please note:
DM’s nutrition experts advise consulting with your physician before taking dietary supplements.

Inspired to Great Heights

“Bodies That Beat the Odds” (July 2007) was a major boost for my son. He kept that article with him as a reminder that there would be a place for him in the ballet world. At 5’6″, and a powerhouse of a dancer, he ended up making it to the end of almost every audition he went on last year, only to be told that each company had enough short men. As upsetting as it was for him, I told him only one company needed to see beyond his height to the incredibly talented dancer that he is. Three ended up offering him a contract, and he’s now dancing with a professional ballet company in featured roles.


Via e-mail

Hooked On Dance

In our Oct. issue, we asked readers if they remember when they got hooked on dance. Here are two readers’ reminiscences.  

I was 5 years old. My mother always took me to concerts, but this was my first experience at a ballet. It was the Ballet Theatre (later to be named American Ballet Theatre) production of Peter and the Wolf with choreography by Adolph Bolm and music by Sergei Prokofiev. I was enthralled and proclaimed to my family that I wanted to be a dancer. I went on to become a performer, choreographer, teacher, administrator, and fundraiser. My inspiration came from working with Carol Lynn, Martha Hill, José Limón, Antony Tudor, Louis Horst, Margaret Craske, Alfredo Corvino, William Schuman, and many others. Dance in all of its facets became my life. 

Now I am retired but still very active. I continue to assist our local young dancers when they perform yearly in the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker. The inspiration from that production of Peter and the Wolf many years ago has really kept me going!

Helene Breazeale, Ph.D.
Baltimore, MD

I had just moved to Portland, ME, intending to leave my consulting career and open a commercial photography studio. Making good art can be painstakingly slow, but my first attempt at dance photography was easy, exhilarating, and spiritually fulfilling. A dancer struck a pose, and I snapped. I moved a bit, adjusted, and clicked again. She moved. Click. And on we went. I found myself drawn into a visual dialogue. Later I would discover that it was actually a dance—although I hasten to say that I’m not a dancer. It was a magical moment, and one that changed my life. As the dancers put movement, motion, or even stillness into the world, I experienced and transformed that visual motion into something else. I was drawn into a journey that has spanned decades.

Arthur Fink
Peaks Island, ME



In “The Sarasota Ballet of Florida, Reinvented” (“Dance Matters,” Dec. 2007), Elite Syncopations is wrongly attributed to Frederick Ashton; it’s by Kenneth MacMillan.