Kretzschmar as Sugarplum Fairy. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB

Steal These Nutcracker Survival Strategies

Nutcracker season starts today at many ballet companies, including New York City Ballet. For corps members like Claire Kretzschmar, that means an always demanding schedule reaches a whole new level of busy. Here's how she keeps herself going.

Kretzschmar in the Coffee variation. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB.


• At night: A hearty meal, a good night's sleep, the occasional ice bath for her feet and time to relax. "I like to read a little bit and have tea before bed. It can take me two or three hours to calm down after a show," she says.

• In the morning: Exercises to stabilize her core and hips, and breakfast while listening to a podcast and answering emails. "I find it calming to be a little productive and connect with the world."

• Pre-curtain: "I like to have a lot of time, so I normally have a snack and start getting ready with hair and makeup two hours before I have to dance."

• After the show: "I take this phrase from the TV show 'Parks and Recreation': Treat yo' self. That's one of my key phrases for heavy seasons. For me that means preparing a nice meal and having a treat after dinner, whether it's something healthier that I've baked myself or bought from my favorite bakery." Kretzschmar loves anything sweet: cakes, cookies, pies, brownies, you name it.

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