When Alessandra Stenta put aspirations of pursuing a professional dance career behind her to study biochemistry in college, she had no idea that one day, her dance and science worlds would merge.
After growing up dancing in her mom's studio, Stenta worked towards dentistry school as an undergrad, and spent her summers traveling as a dancer for EDM music festivals. But she came to realize that being a dentist wasn't what she wanted. "I was really lost and confused and wanted to find answers," she says. She moved to Australia for a year, then spent two months in India in 2015, where she received certifications in yoga and spirituality.
"It was a total culture shock—our rooms were in the middle of a jungle with cloth walls—but I learned so much about myself."
She settled in Los Angeles and landed a spot at MSA Agency. Living out her childhood dreams, she has since worked with artists like Snoop Dogg and Meghan Trainor, and continues her yoga and meditation practices.
"Over the years, several of my family and friends had approached me with their struggles of figuring out what they wanted to do in life and with their confidence in pursuing their passions," Stenta says. So she decided to share the tools she's learned.
Her 21 Day Wellness Program, which includes an e-book and guided meditation, can help dancers fine-tune their goals, control nerves and sharpen their mind for auditions, rehearsals and performances.
Originally planned to launch in April, Stenta ended up holding it back. "I didn't want people thinking that I was only launching it because we were going through this time," she says. "But people are now, more than ever, dealing with anxiety and stress, and could really benefit from it."
After a brief explanation of the scientific reasoning behind her practices, the program is broken down into three parts: The first section includes guided exercises like questions, goal setting and visualization; the second and third parts include a morning ritual (15 minutes to write and a 15-minute guided meditation) and a wind down.
"As long as you're giving yourself, at minimum, 15 minutes without looking at your phone in the morning and just really reflecting inward, that's what it's all about. Give yourself that time to ground yourself," Stenta explains.
"This is such a difficult career, and as dancers, it can be hard to stay on your path," Stenta says. "It's really easy to lose your motivation and self-confidence when you're being told no at auditions. The practices in the book are designed to help you weather those challenges."
And if you find yourself with less time to dedicate to your morning ritual and evening wind down post-COVID-19, Stenta says not to worry. "Even if these practices are too much to do every single day when we get back to our regular routines, use them before an audition. It doesn't even have to be right away in the morning—doing the guided meditation an hour or so before will just put you in the right mindset so that your nerves don't get in the way of your dancing."