What Type of Cross-Training You Should Try, Based on Your Zodiac Sign
Summer is almost upon us, and whether you're a student about to go on break or a pro counting the days till layoff, don't forget that with warm weather comes a very serious responsibility: To maintain your cross-training routine on your own.
Those of us who've tried to craft our own cross-training routine know it's easier said than done. So we consulted the stars, and rounded up the best options for every zodiac sign. (TBH, you should probably consult an expert, too—we'd recommend a physical therapist, a personal trainer or your teacher.)
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Birthday: March 21-April 20
Why It Works: Aries love the thrill of competition but are way too independent for team sports. So an individual sport it is! Boxing also gives them a chance to let out some of their pent-up aggression, and to show off their outsized courage.
The Benefits: Boxing is a great way for dancers to build upper-extremity stability and work on functional core strength. Plus, Tamisha Guy swears by it, and we like to have whatever she's having.
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Birthday: April 21–May 21
Why It Works: Oh, Taurus, you traditionalist, you. What better workout for an earth sign who loves all things simple than a long run in the great outdoors? Plus, running taps into Taurus' groundedness and connection to nature, and allows them to flex that powerful determination they're so known for.
The Benefits: Running sometimes gets a bad rap as cross-training for dancers, but the truth is, when done correctly, the benefits can far outweigh the potential costs. For one, the aerobic challenge can give dancers a much-needed endurance boost, since our bodies are often more accustomed to performing in short anaerobic bursts. And while running was long thought to be bad for the knees, a 2017 study shows that it can actually help prevent knee injury. (If you need more evidence that running can be dancer-friendly, ask our editor-in-chief or Joffrey Ballet dancer Joanna Wozniak.)
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Birthday: May 22–June 20
Why It Works: As a Gemini myself, I'll spare you the cliches about my sign being two-faced or moody and instead educate you about how we're actually misunderstood: We're just adaptable, intellectual and have a strong need for variety in our lives! As such, we need a cross-training option that will keep our roaming minds engaged—like strength-training, which can incorporate a range of different exercises into one workout.
The Benefits: While late-spring babies may have a special propensity for strength-training, it has become a non-negotiable form of cross-training for dancers of all kinds (and signs). A smart, personalized strength-training routine can help address weaknesses or inconsistencies in our bodies, or help us prepare for the specific challenges presented by whatever rep we're working on at the moment.
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Birthday: June 21–July 22
Why It Works: Cancers need a workout where they can have space to be in their feelings. Gyrotonic, which is often practiced in private sessions, scratches Cancers' itch for quiet time and gives these often-insecure signs an opportunity to work out in a judgement-free zone. And as highly emotional and sensitive people, Gyrotonic's focus on the whole person can help Cancers find mental as well as physical balance.
The Benefits: The perks of Gyrotonic for dancers are well-documented. The practice emphasizes circular motion in the body, and can be a powerful injury-prevention tool as well as way to find balance and proper alignment.
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Birthday: July 23–August 22
Why It Works: Leos are the life of every party they enter, so their cross-training routine should be just that—a party. HIIT classes, which often involve sweating alongside your neighbors to loud, danceable music, are the perfect option for a sign that loves to engage with other people and flaunt their abilities.
The Benefits: HIIT—with its short, demanding bursts of cardio followed by less-intense recovery periods—can mimic the anaerobic demands of dancing, and help dancers improve their power and explosiveness onstage. Plus, interval training can be adapted to whatever kind of cardio you find best supplements your dancing: Whether it's running, swimming, spinning or boxing, you can work in high-intensity intervals to get the anaerobic benefits.
Birthday: August 23–September 22
Why It Works: As the token perfectionists of the zodiac, Virgos need a cross-training option where they can put their extreme attention to detail to work. There are few workouts more precise than Pilates, which also satisfies Virgos' desire for method and efficiency.
The Benefits: We're guessing that we don't have to convince you that Pilates is good for dancers. But in case you need a reminder of just a few of its perks, Pilates can help reign in hypermobility, improve stability and provide a low-impact solution for dancers looking to build strength.
Birthday: September 23–October 22
Why It Works: If we had to pick the two words most commonly used to describe Libras, they'd likely be balance and symmetry. And barre classes demand attention to both those concepts in spades. Plus, barre is the ultimate pre-brunch workout to do with friends—and Libras do not like to do things alone.
The Benefits: Though barre is supposedly modeled after ballet classes, its focus on small, repeated movements builds different muscle groups than a dance class would, presenting an opportunity for dancers to give some much-needed attention to neglected areas of the body.
Scorpio: Hot Yoga
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Birthday: October 23–November 21
Why It Works: Scorpios' passion can sometimes be mistaken for seriousness, but really this water sign is just hyper-focused and intent on getting to the heart of the matter. Their intensity is well-suited for a hot yoga class (Scorpios are often called "fiery," after all) where they can put their powerful inner strength to the test.
The Benefits: Yoga's meditative pace can be a beneficial contrast to dancers' fast-paced schedules, and hot yoga in particular can help dancers gain flexibility and loosen tight areas. (Plus, the many dancers we've talked to over the years about hot yoga have called it injury-healing, body-toning and head-clearing.)
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Birthday: November 22–December 21
Why It Works: Sagittarius craves adventure and need to be on the move constantly. (No stationary bike for you, Sag!) Why not see cross-training as an opportunity for exploration? Hiking can indulge Sags' curiosity while giving them an outlet for all that energy.
The Benefits: Hiking—especially at high altitudes—can provide a welcome challenge for dancers' endurance. Just be sure to wear proper gear to keep the pressure off your joints. For several of the dancers we've spoken to about hiking, though, the mental and emotional benefits of getting outdoors are just as important as the physical ones.
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Birthday: December 22–January 19
Why It Works: The most dutiful of the signs, Capricorns are one of the few that could withstand—and maybe even enjoy—the demanding repetition of indoor rowing. They are patient, stubborn and disciplined: A match made in heaven for such a laborious—but ultimately rewarding—workout.
The Benefits: Rowing can help dancers build endurance, improve back strength and work upper-body muscles they normally wouldn't activate.
Birthday: January 20–February 18
Why It Works: Aquarius signs love camaraderie, and though there are many workouts one can do in a group, spin studios like SoulCycle and Peloton have successfully positioned indoor cycling as the cross-training option for those looking for a community-building experience. (The leaderboard feature available at some studios feeds into the Aquarius' competitive edge, too.) Plus, all that sitting should be grounding for a sometimes-flighty air sign.
The Benefits: Spinning can help dancers build both aerobic and anaerobic strength, depending on the class, and can strengthen the hamstrings, quads and glutes.
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Birthday: February 19–March 20
Why It Works: You probably could have guessed this one: Pisces fishies belong in the water, so should hit the pool for cross-training whenever possible. (If laps aren't your thing, try other aquatic options like water aerobics or aquacycling!) Pisces are spiritual signs who value alone time, so they can use that quiet time in the pool for self-reflection.
The Benefits: In addition to building aerobic capacity and strengthening the entire body (all low-impact, of course), recent studies have shown that swimming reduces lower back pain and relieves stress.
Yvonne Rainer's Parts of Some Sextets (AKA "the mattress dance") hasn't been revived since it premiered in 1965. Nor has Rainer had any wish to do it again, to ask performers to heave 10 mattresses around while carrying out 31 tasks that changed every 30 seconds. It was an unwieldy, difficult dance. (Even the title is unwieldy.) But Emily Coates, who has danced in Rainer's work for 20 years, became curious about this piece and was determined to see it again—and to dance in it. She will get her wish November 15–17, when the mattress dance will be performed as part of the Performa 19 Biennial.
Back in 2011 when Joe Lanteri first approached Katie Langan, chair of Marymount Manhattan College's dance department, about getting involved with New York City Dance Alliance, she was skeptical about the convention/competition world.
"But I was pleasantly surprised by the enormity of talent that was there," she says. "His goal was to start scholarship opportunities, and I said okay, I'm in."
Today, it's fair to say that Lanteri has far surpassed his goal of creating scholarship opportunities. But NYCDA has done so much more, bridging the gap between the convention world and the professional world by forging a wealth of partnerships with dance institutions from Marymount to The Ailey School to Complexions Contemporary Ballet and many more. There's a reason these companies and schools—some of whom otherwise may not see themselves as aligned with the convention/competition world—keep deepening their relationships with NYCDA.
Now, college scholarships are just one of many ways NYCDA has gone beyond the typical weekend-long convention experience and created life-changing opportunities for students. We rounded up some of the most notable ones:
"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.