Many dancers’ bags double as mini 7-Elevens. They’re chock full of carefully selected snacks that fuel dancers through the day, the performance and the season. There’s not a casual cracker in there! These stashes are as individual as the dancers themselves: Every performer who’s put a protein bar to her mouth has a different snack philosophy. Five stars let us peek at their noshing habits.

Jeanette Delgado
Company: Miami City Ballet
Rank: Principal
Go-to snack: Pumpkin seeds. “They make me feel good after rehearsal, and are ideal for muscle fatigue.” (An excellent source of energizing protein, these seeds are loaded with anti-cramping nutrients like potassium, as well as magnesium and zinc.)
Afternoon pick-up: Almonds, walnuts or a mix of both. “Nuts really sustain me. A handful is all you need—otherwise it’s too fattening.”
Sweet treat: Fresh medjool dates. “Three dates give me a nice boost directly after class or rehearsal; one before and two after works as well.” (Dates have quick-acting sugar, fiber and calcium, as well as essential nutrients like iron, copper and magnesium.)
Favorite bar: Vega Whole Food Vibrancy bars, created by vegan triathlete Brendan Brazier, author of The Thrive Diet. “They’re expensive, but they’re made with dates and raw almonds.”  








Daniil Simkin
Company: American Ballet Theatre
Rank: Soloist
Go-to snack: A packet of Trader Joe’s individually packaged nuts and dried fruit mix. “I like quantifying things. A small, separately packed bag of nuts, preferably roasted and salted, is ideal for me so I don’t over-eat. I like to snack during shows. It’s more of a nervous thing, I guess.”
Alternative snack: Fruit—sliced pineapple and watermelon in the summer, grapefruits and oranges in the winter, or apples and bananas any time of the year.
Favorite bars: He’ll sometimes grab a granola bar or a Clif bar, but Simkin generally avoids protein bars. “They are glorified chocolate bars. I’d much rather have a real cookie than think that I’m doing something good for my body by eating ‘healthy.’ ”
Sweet treat: Cookies. “I don’t think I will ever refrain from eating cookies. Ask me again in a couple of years: I might reduce the amount, but I don’t think I will ever lose my appetite for those simple carbs. When I feel really down, I get one from Levain Bakery on the Upper West Side. They are heavenly delicious.”
Snacking philosophy: “I know all the benefits of good nutrition, but everything is good in moderation. Just don’t obsess over it.”






 

Misty Copeland
Company: American Ballet Theatre
Rank: Soloist
Go-to snack: Unsalted peanuts. “I’ve noticed over the years that my body responds best to nuts. I eat them throughout the day if I feel my energy drop, either before and after lunch.”
Alternate snack: Mixes with dried fruit and yogurt-covered raisins.
Favorite bar: “I don’t do protein bars.”
Former bad habits: 1. Forgoing snacks. “I wasn’t eating often enough throughout the day, and when I did eat, it was too large a meal that was too high in fat.” 2. Relying on the vending machine. “Anything that comes in a plastic bag from a machine, I have no business eating.”
Sweet treat: A cookie or Pinkberry (although she doesn’t stash that in her bag). “I make sure that almost every night I have something sweet!”






 

Heather Ogden
Company:
The National Ballet of Canada
Rank: Principal
Go-to snack: A fresh grapefruit. “I just peel it and eat it. It’s sweet and smells great.”
Alternate snack: Raw almonds. “They have the good fat we need. A handful works—not more than 12 a day.”
Favorite bar: A maple nut or peanut butter Clif bar. “They look like real food rather than those overly processed bars. I sometimes just need a bite, so I can nibble on it throughout the day.”
Afternoon pick-up: Organic yogurt with granola.
Instant booster: A packet of Emergen-C for the minerals and potassium.
Former bad habit: Going to the studio unprepared. “Now I have snacks on hand so I don’t need to go for empty calories. I think ahead.”
Sweet treat: A killer good chocolate chip cookie.

Craig Hall
Company: New York City Ballet
Rank: Soloist
Go-to snack: A really ripe banana. He finds ripe ones tastier because of their sugar content.
Alternate snack: Almonds and pumpkin seeds. “They both travel well in Ziploc bags. I get a quick little boost, and mentally, it’s good just to nibble on something. It’s comforting.”
Favorite bar: LUNA bars, especially the chocolate peanut butter flavor. “I know, they are made for women, but I don’t care! They fill me up without weighing me down. I get a great burst of energy.”
Former bad habit: Twizzlers. “When I first started in the corps, I was more of a junk food guy. But they did more harm than good, and wouldn’t give me the sustaining energy
I needed for partnering.”
Sweet treat: A milk chocolate bar with almonds. “The sugar is a quick pick-me-up.”
Pre-show prep: A swig of water with a few drops of peppermint oil. “It’s a great breath freshener, and it clears the sinuses. It’s like drinking a box of Altoids.”

Nancy Wozny writes and snacks from Houston, TX.




















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Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 'The Nutcracker.' Photo by Rich Sofranko

Catching a performance of The Nutcracker has long been a holiday tradition for many families. And now, more and more companies are adding sensory-friendly elements to specific shows in an effort to make the classic ballet inclusive to children and adults with special needs.

While the accommodations vary depending on the company, many are presenting shorter versions of the ballet with more relaxed theater rules. Additionally, lower sound and stage light levels during the performance, as well as trained staff on hand, make The Nutcracker more accessible for those on the autism spectrum and others with special needs.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's performance will take place on Tuesday, December 26th, and they are one of the pioneer companies in presenting sensory-friendly performances of The Nutcracker (their first production was in 2013). PBT also offers sensory-friendly versions of Jorden Morris' Peter Pan and Lew Christensen's Beauty and the Beast throughout the year.

See our list of sensory-friendly performances, and check out each site for all of the details regarding their offerings.

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Pilates hundred intermediate set-up, modeled by Jordan Miller. Photo by Emily Giacalone.

The Pilates hundred is a popular exercise used by many dancers for conditioning and warming up, but it's also one of the most misunderstood. Pumping your arms for 100 counts sounds simple enough, but it requires coordinated breathwork, a leg position that suits your abilities and proper alignment. Marimba Gold-Watts, who works with New York City Ballet dancers at her Pilates studio, Articulating Body, breaks down this surprisingly hard exercise. When done correctly, the benefits are threefold: "If you're doing it before class," she says, "the hundred is a great way to get your blood flowing and work on breath control and abdominal support all at once."

To Start

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Nod your chin toward the front of your throat, and reach your fingertips long.

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Pointe Stars

At just 16 years old, the Bolshoi Ballet's Maria Alexandrova already had the makings of a great artist. In this variation from Coppélia, she portrays the carefree Swanilda with blithe, youthful ease.

When she bounds on stage in her perky pink tutu, you immediately notice her legs–they just go on forever. In the first sequence of steps she keeps her jetés and développés low, but then the phrase repeats and she lets her gorgeous extensions fly. She sails through Italian fouettés and whirls around in piqués en manège that get faster and faster. While she nails all the virtuosic movement, Alexandrova also pays beautiful attention to detail throughout the variation. Even the simplest steps become something exciting, like her precise pas de bourrées beginning at 1:03 that sing with musicality.

Swanilda has been one of Alexandrova's signature roles throughout her career. For a fun side by side, watch her perform the same variation almost 20 years later in this video. Although Alexandrova formally retired from the Bolshoi in February, she still performs frequently in Moscow and internationally as a guest artist. Happy #ThrowbackThursday!


Pointe Stars
Ingrid Silva and her dog, Frida Kahlo. Photo by Nathan Sayers for Pointe.

You're probably already following your favorite dancers on Instagram, but did you know that you can follow many of their dogs, too? We rounded up some of our favorite dog-centered accounts and hashtags to keep you pawsitively entertained (sorry, we can't help ourselves).

Cora and Maya (American Ballet Theatre's Sarah Lane and Luis Ribagorda)

Sarah Lane and Luis Ribagorda's pups Cora and Maya update their profile pretty frequently. Often accompanying Lane to the ABT studios, they can also be seen using tutus or piles of pink tights as dog beds.

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Vladislav Lantritov and Ekaterina Krysanova in "Taming of the Shrew." Photo by Alice Blangero, Courtesy Bolshoi Ballet.

If you haven't checked your local movie listings yet for this weekend, hop to it. The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema series and Fathom Events is broadcasting a performance of Jean-Christophe Maillot's The Taming of the Shrew to theaters nationwide on Sunday, November 19. (To see if it's playing near you and to purchase tickets, click here.) While the rest of the Bolshoi's cinema season features 19th- and 20th-century classics, The Taming of the Shrew gives audiences a chance to see the revered Moscow company in a thoroughly modern, 21st-century take on Shakespeare's famous play.

Aside from a limited run in New York City this July, American audiences have had little exposure to Maillot's 2014 production. To learn more, check out these two exclusive, behind-the-scenes webisodes below. Principal dancer Ekaterina Krysanova, who stars as the hotheaded Katharina, gives an intimate play-by-play of two major scenes in Act I. The first is her fiery rejection of three potential suitors (who all would prefer to marry Katharina's younger sister Bianca).

The second scene breaks down Katharina's first encounter with Petruchio (danced by the larger-than-life Vladislav Lantritov), the only man who seems to be able to challenge her. Here, too, we see the shrew's heart start to soften. (Don't miss her time-stopping attitude turn at 4:27.)

The Bolshoi Ballet in Cinema Series continues through June; for more details on upcoming screenings, click here.

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Smuin Ballet dancers Erica Felsch, Rex Wheeler, Mengjun Chen and Tessa Barbour in "White Christmas," choreographed by dancers Ben Needham-Wood and Michael Smuin. Photo by Keith Sutter, Courtesy Smuin Ballet.

Nutcracker-ed out? Or just can't get enough holiday ballets? These unique Nutcracker interpretations and non-Nutcracker productions will make your season bright.


The Hip Hop Nutcracker

Through December 30

Tchaikovsky's masterful Nutcracker score isn't just for classical ballet…

Hip Hop + a live DJ + an electric violinist unite in The Hip Hop Nutcracker, currently touring the U.S.

Familiar characters such Drosselmeyer, the Nutcracker, Mouse King and Marie (here called Maria-Clara) dance through an updated New York City storyline with choreography by Jennifer Weber, artistic director of the Brooklyn-based theatrical hip hop company Decadancetheatre.

Premiered in 2014, The Hip Hop Nutcracker is produced by New Jersey Performing Arts Center.

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