This story originally appeared in the October/November 2016 issue of Pointe.
Cross-training keeps Andrea Yorita prepared for the demanding variety in BalletX's repertoire.
Choreographic chameleon: At BalletX, Andrea Yorita performs a wide range of contemporary ballet by dancemakers like Matthew Neenan, Annabelle Lopez Ochoa and Trey McIntyre. “It's very hard on our feet," she says. “Even within a show, we'll go from socks to bare feet to flat shoes to pointe shoes."
A solid foundation: To keep their pointework crisp, the dancers typically take class on pointe five days a week. Yorita also does Thera-Band work for her ankles each morning, plus doming exercises. “I try to keep all of those little muscles on the bottom of my feet strong, so I can be grounded when I'm dancing in socks."
Snack time: “I like to bring nuts to work, like almonds, because they're quick and easy," she says. Yorita also drinks a lot of coconut water or has a banana—the potassium keeps muscle cramps at bay.
Yorita's cross-training allows her to be grounded in one piece and light on her feet in the next. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy BalletX.
Hitting the gym: Every other day, she spends an hour at the gym. “As a female dancer, I use my lower half more than my upper half," so workouts aim to even out her whole body. After a warm-up on the elliptical, she does arm exercises with lightweight dumbbells, pull-ups, a kettle-bell twist for her obliques, reps on various arm machines and ab work on a mat, before foam-rolling her IT band. The routine may sound exhausting, but Yorita carefully gauges her energy and adjusts her workout if she's feeling fatigued.
Having his back: “I'm a small dancer, so I usually end up getting lifted. I want to strengthen my arms so if I'm in a weird position, I can help my partner." That means paying special attention to her lats, triceps and deltoids at the gym. Her cross-training has another benefit: Building support in her upper back has helped alleviate low-back pain.
Chilling out: Whenever she's doing heavy pointework, Yorita winds down by rolling out the bottoms of her feet with a small ball and soaking her ankles in a 20-minute ice bath. “That's really helped me keep inflammation down and my ankles feeling good."