Health & Body
Quinn Wharton for Pointe

We know there are certain things dancers can do pre-show to help them perform at their best. (Like warming up, eating something energizing and maybe even taking a nap!)

But pre-show routines are also highly individual, and involve artists preparing their heads for performance just as much as their bodies. That could mean anything from listening to a favorite song, bonding with cast members or meditating.

Feeling like your pre-show ritual could use a bit of inspiration? These 12 pros shared their tried-and-true routines with us:

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Health & Body
Even a 10-minute nap can give you a performance boost. Photo by Getty Images

On busy performance days, international guest artist Joy Womack always makes time for one activity after class and rehearsals: a nap. "I like to feel well-rested when I need to be in the spotlight at night, not dragging at the end of the day," she says. "It helps me recover and refocus."

With her earbuds tuned to a guided medi­tation app, she can squeeze in a nap wherever she needs to. "One time I even took a nap on the floor of the tour bus in Siberia," she says. "Dancers can sleep anywhere."

Joy Womack prioritizes napping before a show. Photo by Quinn Wharton for Pointe magazine.

As research has revealed the benefits of short daytime naps, power-napping advice has proliferated, and more dancers are choos­ing to include a nap in their pre-performance routines. Approaching napping strategically will help you get the most out of an afternoon snooze.

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Dancers Trending
Whoever told Emma Portner not to move to NYC probably feels silly now. Photo by Quinn Wharton

Raise your hand if you've received bad advice from well-meaning friends or family (or strangers, tbh) who don't know anything about what it really takes to be a dancer.

*everyone raises hands*

Sometimes it's even dance insiders whose advice can send you down the wrong path. We've been asking pros about the worst advice they've ever received in our "Spotlight" Q&A series, and rounded up some of the best answers:

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Victoria Jaiani

Joffrey Ballet

Breakfast Philosophy: “Mornings have always been important to me. I can remember watching my mom busy in the kitchen, talking about how it would be a great day because we were sitting down together and eating good food. It's a tradition, but it's also legit—as an athlete, it certainly helps health-wise."

When: “I'm up at 6, because my baby's up. Around 7 or 7:30, my husband, son and I all have breakfast before I go to the studios for our 9:45 class. It's such a lovely time together before we start the day."

Her Go-Tos: “We always have fruit, like pineapple or berries or melon—whatever's seasonal. They're packed with vitamins and just feel fresh before a hard day at work. And protein—eggs or yogurt. Or sometimes oatmeal."

To Drink: “I always have some orange juice, even if it's just a few sips."

Victoria Jaiani's Sunny Side Up Eggs in Pepper

“This is my favorite breakfast. The first time we tried it was in Vienna. It's yummy, brings good memories, and you're getting vegetables and protein—all the good stuff."

Ingredients

• 1 bell pepper, sliced into 1/2" circles

• 1 egg per pepper slice

• salt and pepper to taste

• 1 oz. feta and a few olives

Directions

1. Slice a bell pepper into a circle, and place it on a hot, greased pan and crack an egg inside of it.

2. Season with salt and pepper and cook sunny side up until the egg white is cooked through but the yolk is still runny.

3. Serve with feta cheese and olives on

the side.

Photo by Erin Baiano for Dance Spirit.

Ashley Everett

Beyoncé's lead dancer and dance captain

Breakfast Philosophy: “I'm not the biggest morning person—but I always eat something before I dance, even if I'm not hungry, because as soon as we start I'll be starving."

When: “Around an hour or so after I get up—about 10:30 or 11."

Her Go-To: “I make a lot of smoothies. They satisfy me but leave me feeling light."

If She's On Set: “I'll do an egg white omelet with vegetables and maybe a piece of toast."

Ashley Everett's Green Smoothie

“When I was growing up, my dad used to always cook french toast and waffles and pancakes, but it was hard for my body to process all that and it would weigh me down. Smoothies have been really helpful, because they're liquid but really filling with all these nutrients in them."

Ingredients

• a handful of kale or spinach

• 1 banana

• 1 apple (green)

• 1/2 an avocado

• 1 orange (or orange juice)

• a splash of almond milk

• ice

• optional: cucumber or other veggies

Directions

Blend in a high-power blender until smooth, and enjoy!

Samantha Sturm

Sturm performing In Your Arms. Photo by Carol Rosegg, Courtesy In Your Arms.

Broadway dancer

Breakfast Philosophy: “I usually get tossed around a lot in rehearsals, so I have to make sure I have energy but won't feel sick."

When: “Breakfast tends to be the last thing I do as I'm getting ready, but I try to eat at least an hour before I dance."

Her Go-To: “I'll top an English muffin with ricotta cheese, avocado and red pepper flakes. It's perfect for energy in the morning. You get protein, fiber, carbs—everything you really need to sustain energy."

If Her Boyfriend's Cooking: “He'll make me an omelet—they're his specialty—with two or two and a half eggs, onion, tomato and sometimes avocado."

To Drink: “I have flavored coffee, like hazelnut with almond milk."

Parisa Khobdeh

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Khobdeh in Brandenburgs. Photo by Paul B. Goode, courtesy PTDC.

Breakfast Philosophy: “I find food to be almost ritualistic—eating and creating the space to eat so that I can really enjoy it."

When: “On rehearsal days, I'll wake up, have coffee and go to the gym. I don't like to dance on a full stomach, so I break my fast after rehearsal around noon."

Her Go-Tos: “I like Siggi's yogurt because it's high in protein and has a good ratio of carbs to fat. I'll add everything I can possibly fit into that cup—banana, berries, chia seeds, maybe peanut butter. Or I'll do a rice cake with peanut butter and top that with chia seeds or fresh fruit. Sometimes I'll start with a raspberry chia kombucha."

If She's Performing: “Even though I'm not hungry when I wake up, I'll eat early in the morning so that my body has time to digest before I dance. I'll have protein for muscle maintenance—egg whites with spinach, cheddar, salt and pepper, and green leaves on the side with a little bit of oil and vinegar, or a smoothie with berries, banana and yogurt or milk."

To Drink: “Coffee when I wake up, with a little bit of whole milk."

Photo by Gadi Dagon, courtesy Batsheva

Billy Barry

Batsheva Dance Company

Breakfast Philosophy: “Plain and simple does the job for me in the morning. Especially if I'm in a rush, which is usually the case."

When: “Around 9 am, before class

at 10."

His Go-To: “When I was in high school

I would commute to Manhattan, and my dad taught me how to make a quick and easy omelet, so the habit has stuck with me: Most mornings I'll make a two- or three-egg omelet with pepper, onion and tomato."

If He's in a Rush: “I'll have a bowl of Cheerios and pick up a salmon, lettuce and cream cheese sandwich on the way to the studio and have it after class at 11:30."

To Drink: “I make a pretty large mug of coffee at the studio after class."

Joy Womack

Kremlin Ballet Theatre

Photo by Quinn Wharton for Pointe.

Breakfast Philosophy: “I used to skip breakfast to avoid the feeling of being weighed down. I learned the hard way that was a bad idea."

Her Go-To: “After I wake up, I drink water and a special blend of Russian herb tea for cleansing and hormonal stability. Then I'll have two of my own energy bars, Prima Bar Minis. Each has 10 grams of protein, 9 grams of carbs and 6 grams of natural sugars."

When: “My breakfast is usually on the go—I like to work out right after I wake up. If it's a light workout day, I'll eat after the gym and before I head to class. If it's a 'push it' kind of workout day, then I have one Prima Bar Mini to fuel me through my session, and one after."B

To Drink: “I drink coffee with lemon. When I'm in the States I enjoy having coffee with almond or coconut milk, but unfortunately that's not available in Russia. Lemon is healthy, tasty, and now I prefer my coffee like this. It's kind of like a coffee lemonade." n

Ashley Rivers, a writer and dancer in Boston, once read that Ginger Rogers ate two eggs and toast for breakfast, so that's what she's eaten ever since.

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