Krumpe in The Firebird. Photo by Tony Spielberg, Courtesy Ballet Austin.

Ballet Austin's Aara Krumpe Shares Her Cross-Training Secrets

Morning whirlwind: As a mother of two boys, the a.m. hustle is hectic for Ballet Austin's Aara Krumpe. But she always makes time for a 15-minute home workout on her Pilates reformer before company class. She uses the apparatus to warm up her feet and calves and do crunches and arm work. "By the time I walk in the studio, I can already feel the backs of my legs and my core," she says.

Favorite tool: During breaks between class and rehearsals, Krumpe stretches and uses a yoga block for support. "I focus on keeping my hips loose and open." To stretch her psoas, she'll lie down with the block propped under her tailbone and let gravity do the rest.


Creature of habit: Krumpe has oatmeal for breakfast and lunch daily, and likes that it's calorie-dense and keeps her full. "Everyone makes fun of me, but it fuels my body. When I'm partnering and people are squeezing and lifting me, I don't want a ton of food in my stomach." If her day is more demanding, she'll also snack on a protein bar. At night, she fills up on a big salad with protein, vegetables and cheese.

Krumpe with Paul Michael Bloodgood in Stephen Mills' Desire. Photo by Anne Marie Bloodgood, Courtesy Ballet Austin.

Visualization 2.0: Another routine Krumpe can't do without? Her pre-performance quiet time. "I tell my kids that I'm going to take a nap, and I lie in bed and go through the whole ballet in my head." While many dancers use visualization to quickly review a tricky section of choreography, Krumpe says she never rushes through this integral technique. "I have to do it in real time. It helps me think of the nuance of the movement and what I want to present to the audience with each note."

Nighttime soak: When the curtain comes down, Krumpe grabs her yoga block for cool-down stretches and rolls out her calves. Once at home, she spends 10 to 15 minutes in the hot tub, stretching more and massaging out any kinks in her legs. Sometimes, she follows that with a contrast ice bath for her feet. Then it's off to bed for a minimum of eight hours. "That's very important for longevity in my career, and so my muscles have time to get ready for the next day."

Off-season schedule: During the summer, Krumpe does a longer version of her reformer workout and visits the YMCA for three heart-pumping elliptical sessions each week. She also takes at least four open adult classes weekly at Ballet Austin's school. It's a full schedule, says Krumpe, but "I'll stagger it to make sure that I always have a day to relax."

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