How This San Francisco Ballet Dancer Became An Instagram Foodie Star
Natasha Sheehan is a perfectionist when it comes to her technique or getting the ideal shot of her food. Photo by Quinn Wharton
"Whatever I'm into, whether it's ballet or healthy food," says Natasha Sheehan, "I'll research anything and everything about it."
That curiosity has led the San Francisco Ballet corps member, 19, to develop a sideline as an Instagram foodie star and food blogger. Sheehan shares recipes and photos of her beautifully styled meals, along with behind-the-scenes ballet insights, with her more than 44,000 followers.
"For food photography, natural light is best," says Sheehan. Styling a dish and setting up the shot can sometimes take a very long time, she admits. "As a ballet dancer, being a perfectionist, I try to make the food look as perfect as possible."
A devotee of Dr. Mark Hyman's pegan diet, which combines elements of paleo and vegan plans, she focuses on whole, unprocessed ingredients like organic fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and high-quality proteins like chicken and fish. "I've found that eating food in its natural state makes me feel my best, so I've stuck with that," says Sheehan, who hopes to become a nutritionist after her dance career.
She shared one of her favorite recipes with Dance Magazine:
Vegan Spinach Walnut Pesto
Sheehan loves making this pesto to put on zoodles (zucchini "noodles"), salads or roasted vegetables, or to dip raw vegetables in to snack on.
1/2 cup walnuts
4 cups fresh basil
2 cups spinach
1/3 cup apple cider vinaigrette (olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, garlic, Himalayan pink salt)
zest from 1/2 lemon
salt and black pepper to taste
Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth.
Add lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. If you prefer your pesto to be more thinned out, add either extra olive oil, lemon juice or water.
For more on Sheehan's daily diet, how she solved her recurring digestive issues and her homemade energy ball recipe, pick up a copy of Dance Magazine's August issue.
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.
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.