What Dancers Eat

Why Broadway Dancer Ryan Steele Eats Whatever His Body Craves—Including Domino's

Steele relies on carbs for Broadway-worthy energy. Photo by Lee Gumbs, courtesy Steele

Ryan Steele has a simple rule for demanding days on Broadway: "I listen to my body," he says. "I have whatever I'm craving: If I need more protein, I go straight for that. If I'm tired, I know I need carbs."

This wasn't always Steele's approach. Growing up, shuttling between the studio and school meant relying on McDonald's and Burger King.


Now, he focuses on staying in touch with whatever his body is asking for, though eating between shows still challenges him. "You need enough calories, but you can't eat too much: A stomach full of lasagna won't do well," he says, with a laugh. "Often I'll go to Chirping Chicken for the chicken shawarma sandwich or wings—but nothing too much."

How He Figured Out His Ideal Meal Plan

Steele in the 2013 film Five Dances

Two years ago, Steele worked with a nutritionist for a month and a half to figure out what worked best for him. "It was always hard for me to eat as much protein as she suggested, so I turned to protein shakes," he says. The extra protein boost helped him pull double duty this summer when he was performing in Broadway's Carousel and rehearsing for a production lab at the same time.

For Steele, focusing on his own needs—not the trends or tips that work for others—is key. "Some people are intense around cutting carbohydrates, but I enjoy carbs and they help me with energy and blood sugar," he says. "Take three days and test different things, taking things out, or adding them back in. Everyone is different. It's all about the situation and your unique body."

His Kitchen Must-Haves

  • eggs
  • granola
  • Suja Green Juice
  • frozen dinners from Trader Joe's, like Superfood Pilaf and Chicken Chow Mein

His Favorite Nostalgic Treat

Even though New York City is home to some of the world's best pizza, Steele loves Domino's. "People give me a lot of sass about it, but I love the thin crust, which feels healthier. And the Pizza Tracker makes it feel so personal. Plus, I have tons of reward points!"

Why He Has to Take Singing Into Account

Because musical theater requires vocal health, too, Steele has to be careful of how late he eats and foods that lead to acid reflux. "I stay away from really creamy things," he says. "If I eat a lot of ice cream at once, the next morning I wake up achy. I sub in things like coconut milk ice cream instead."

The Conversation
Career Advice
Pacific Northwest Ballet principals Rachel Foster and Jonathan Porretta took their final curtain call on June 9, 2019. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB

We all know dance careers are temporary. But this season, it feels like we're saying goodbye to more stars than usual.

Many have turned to social media to share their last curtain calls, thoughts on what it feels like to say farewell to performing, and insights into the ways that dancing has made them who they are. After years of dedicating your life to the studio and stage, the decision to stop dancing is always an emotional one. Each dancer handles it in their own way—whether that means cheekily admitting to having an existential crisis, or simply leaving with no regrets about what you did for love.

We will miss these dancers' performances, but can't wait to see what awaits each in their next chapters.

Keep reading... Show less
News
A previous lab cycle. Photo by Evan Zimmerman/MurphyMade, Courtesy RRR Creative

Choreographic incubator Broadway Dance Lab has recently been rechristened Dance Lab New York. "I found the nomenclature of 'Broadway' was actually a type of glass ceiling to the organization," says choreographer Josh Prince, who founded the nonprofit in 2012.

Keep reading... Show less

mailbox

Get Dance Magazine in your inbox