What Dancers Eat
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.

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Dancers Trending
NYCB's snow scene. Photo by Paul Kolnik, courtesy NYCB

As any good bunhead would tell you, for me, Nutcracker is a yearly tradition as old as leaving cookies out for Santa Claus. But this year, I got to experience it with fresh eyes by taking both my 35-year-old fiancé and my 5-year-old nephew for their first times.

I didn't plan on being a Nutcracker evangelist. But my fiancé Brent decided he really, really wanted to see it, and my mother decided that Nutcracker tickets were really what I should give my nephew Robbie for Christmas. So I found myself taking Brent with me to New York City Ballet, and Robbie to San Francisco Ballet while I was home for the holidays.

And experiencing it with them made me realize just how much those of us who've seen and performed Nutcracker dozens of time take for granted. Their reactions made me see the ballet in a whole new light:

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Dancers Trending
Erik Tomasson, courtesy San Francisco Ballet

Waking up in the morning after a late performance and walking to class isn't always easy. But once I'm in the studio and the pianist begins, a familiar rhythm ensues.

I love the physicality of this routine. It is like solving a puzzle every day, translating the imagery in my mind into my body. Ballet technique is an art in itself: the art of engaging some muscles and relaxing others, balancing hips over toes, and shaping fingers and feet.

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