Francisco Granciano, Courtesy PTDC

Recover Like a Pro: Parisa Khobdeh's Post-Show Routine

The minutes after curtain comes down can be the trickiest of a dancer's day: Despite your adrenaline high and the impulse to celebrate the night's achievements, you need to jumpstart your body's recovery so that you can take the stage again the very next day.

Smart dancers like Parisa Khobdeh follow a carefully calibrated routine during busy performance weeks, whether they're at home or on the road. The 14-year Paul Taylor Dance Company veteran shares her tried-and-true post-show rituals.


Stretch: "While I'm still warm, I have a 10-minute routine with a friend in the company, where I actively stretch and she passively stretches me, then vice versa."

Ice: "I'll fill a bucket or trash can with ice, add water and stand in it for at least a minute. Bringing down any inflammation helps me feel better the next day."

Eat: "I eat my biggest meal of the day after the show. I always have protein and vegetables. I try to avoid sugary foods during show weeks, and that includes vegetables that are higher in sugars."

Hydrate: "I add electrolytes to refuel while I'm hydrating. I love coconut water. I also avoid alcohol when I'm performing."

Sleep: "I prefer eight hours a night, though that can be a luxury. To relax before bed, I read a book or meditate. I'll forfeit staying out late—I can save that for after the season."

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Luke Isley, Courtesy Ballet West

How Do Choreographers Bring Something Fresh to Music We've Heard Over and Over?

In 2007, Oregon Ballet Theatre asked Nicolo Fonte to choreograph a ballet to Maurice Ravel's Boléro. "I said, 'No way. I'm not going near it,' " recalls Fonte. "I don't want to compete with the Béjart version, ice skaters or the movie 10. No, no, no!"

But Fonte's husband encouraged him to "just listen and get a visceral reaction." He did. And Bolero turned into one of Fonte's most requested and successful ballets.

Not all dance renditions of similar warhorse scores have worked out so well. Yet the irresistible siren song of pieces like Stravinsky's The Firebird and The Rite of Spring, as well as the perennial Carmina Burana by Carl Orff, seem too magnetic for choreographers to ignore.

And there are reasons for their popularity. Some were commissioned specifically for dance: Rite and Firebird for Diaghilev's Ballets Russes; Boléro for dance diva Ida Rubinstein's post–Ballets Russes troupe. Hypnotic rhythms (Arvo Pärt's Spiegel im Spiegel) and danceable melodies (Bizet's Carmen) make a case for physical eye candy. Audience familiarity can also help box office receipts. Still, many choreographers have been sabotaged by the formidable nature and Muzak-y overuse of these iconic compositions.

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