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What Are Those Weird Boots Dancers Are Wearing?

Many dance companies and physical therapy offices are jumping in on a new trend: recovery boots. But what are they? And, more importantly, how can dancers benefit from them?

The Royal Ballet's Olivia Cowley in a pair of recovery boots


We asked Gregory Retter, clinical director at The Royal Ballet, which recently invested in its own set.

How do recovery boots work?

Through sequential compression; it's an idea that's been around awhile, but the boots make it accessible. They have four chambers—foot, calf, mid-thigh, upper thigh—that gradually fill up with pressure to help flush metabolic waste from the muscles. It's almost like squeezing a tube of toothpaste.

When should dancers use them?

Whenever you need to recover. They're particularly useful after a day of rehearsals before an evening performance to feel fresh again. We also use them to reduce any swelling from injury in the legs.

How long should dancers have them on?

20 to 45 minutes.

Is there anything dancers need to do while wearing them?

These boots are part of a whole recovery strategy. We encourage dancers to sip electrolyte-replacement fluids while lying back in a reclined position in the boots, and to zone out for some psychological recovery, too. We also encourage dancers to wear compression garments afterwards, to maintain the positive effects of compression while they're walking around.

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Clockwise from top left: Photo by Loreto Jamlig, Courtesy Ladies of Hip-Hop; Wikimedia Commons; Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet; Natasha Razina, Courtesy State Academic Mariinsky Theatre; Photo by Will Mayer for Better Half Productions, Courtesy ABT

The 10 Biggest Dance Stories of 2019

What were the dance moments that defined 2019? The stories that kept us talking, week after week? According to our top-clicked articles of the year, they ranged from explorations of dance medicine and dance history, takedowns of Lara Spencer and companies who still charge dancers to audition, and, of course, our list of expert tips on how to succeed in dance today.

We compiled our 10 biggest hits of the year, and broke down why we think they struck a chord:

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Christopher Duggan, Courtesy Nichols

I Am a Black Dancer Who Was Dressed Up in Blackface to Perform in La Bayadère

On Instagram this week, Misty Copeland reposted a picture of two Russian ballerinas covered head to toe in black, exposing the Bolshoi's practice of using blackface in the classical ballet La Bayadère. The post has already received over 60,000 likes and 2,000 comments, starting a long overdue conversation.

Comments have been pouring in from every angle imaginable: from history lessons on black face, to people outside of the ballet world expressing disbelief that this happens in 2019, to castigations of Copeland for exposing these young girls to the line of fire for what is ultimately the Bolshoi's costuming choice, to the accusations that the girls—no matter their cultural competence—should have known better.

I am a black dancer, and in 2003, when I was 11 years old, I was dressed up in blackface to perform in the Mariinsky Ballet's production of La Bayadère.

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Here's the First Trailer for the "In the Heights" Movie

Lights up on Washington Heights—because the trailer for the movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical In the Heights has arrived. It's our first look into Lin-Manuel Miranda's latest venture into film—because LMM isn't stopping at three Tony awards, a Grammy award, and an Emmy.

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