Ballet Stars

Steal Angelica Generosa's Workout Secrets, Plus Her Favorite Music for Ab Work

Generosa in Susan Stroman's TAKE FIVE…More or Less. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB.

Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Angelia Generosa uses cross-training to tackle the company's varied repertoire.

Cross-training philosophy: Pacific Northwest Ballet soloist Angelica Generosa kicked up her workout regimen a few seasons ago when she was first dancing "Rubies," along with a lot of contemporary rep. "I realized that I couldn't afford to get hurt," she says. "I had to take time to take care of my muscles, so they could recuperate and feel good for whatever PNB asked me to do." Now in her seventh season, Generosa acknowledges that just stretching before class isn't enough. "Maintenance is really important. Know what you need before and after class."

At the gym: She starts any workout (or busy day at the studio) with a 10-minute elliptical or bike warm-up. Generosa developed tendonitis in her left knee a few years ago, so this prepares the joint for more strenuous activity. Then, she'll do 20 to 45 minutes of cardio on the treadmill or elliptical; upper-body work, like arm circles while holding 10-pound free weights; ab exercises; and stretching, especially her quads after running.


Easing into the day: During the season, she arrives at least 30 minutes before class to stretch, roll out and warm up her knee. Back-strengthening exercises, like five slow reps of the cobra pose, keep a previous sacroiliac joint injury in check. She also lies with her back flat against the ground and both legs in tabletop, and lightly taps one foot at a time to the ground for 15 to 20 sets. "It activates my core, so I won't be wonky and maybe hurt myself."

Heating things up: During her off season, Generosa stays active with gym visits and hour-long sessions at CorePower Yoga three times a week. The heated class mixes flowing yoga sequences with abdominal work. "It helps me stay limber and definitely gets the blood pumping," she says. "I also like sweating it all out."

Backstage during The Nutcracker. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, Courtesy PNB.

Pre-class playlist: "I'm into Imagine Dragons right now," says Generosa, who uses their music as a soundtrack for ab work. Beyoncé is another top choice.

Juicy stretch: Generosa's favorite yoga pose is reverse warrior. "It feels great on your sides, your back and also your arms. And that low lunge feels really good."

What Fuels Her

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Breakfast: toast with avocado and a scrambled egg on top

Snack: PNB's lunch break isn't until 2 pm, so Generosa brings a banana, a chocolate chip Clif Bar and trail mix.

Lunch: She'll eat leftovers or grab something from the nearby grocery. "I like to make my own salad, or sometimes they have mini meals, like a fruit and hummus plate or a protein bowl."

Dinner: Generosa usually cooks. Homemade veggie pasta with cheese and extra vegetables is a recent favorite. If it's a performance day, she'll have something heavier, like steak and fries.

The Conversation
Ballet Stars
Angela Sterling, Courtesy PNB

Your teacher at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, Marcia Dale Weary, recently passed away. What impact did she have on you?

I feel deeply indebted to her. She shaped my life's course, and I know that were it not for her, I would not be living out my dream today. She led by example through her remarkable commitment to her work, as well as her genuine kindness and generosity.

You were a trainee with San Francisco Ballet. What was that experience like?

It was an exposure to different schools of thought. We were mostly in the full-lengths, and watching run-throughs of Sleeping Beauty and Don Quixote was revolutionary for me. But I was young and far away from home. That transition was hard. My body started changing. It wanted to be fleshy. Biology is cruel in that way. I desperately wanted to fit in, but it wasn't meant to be.

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