There are a handful of injuries that plague many dancers, tendonitis being one of them. Here, master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop explains how to find the best pointe shoe fit to keep pre-existing tendonitis from becoming inflamed.
Have long toes? This video is for you. Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop goes through pointe shoe fitting with long toes, and explains how to make your shoes work for you.
I'm a dancer who is currently injured and unable to walk a lot. My physical therapist and my massage therapist are giving me opposite instructions. My PT believes that I should do her exercises, even if they cause some of the "bad pain," and take three different kinds of exercise classes. My massage therapist tells me that I shouldn't do anything that causes "bad pain" and only do one exercise class per week for now. Who should I listen to? —Rachel
Have narrow feet? This video is for you. Master pointe shoe fitter Josephine Lee of the California-based ThePointeShop goes through pointe shoe fitting for extra narrow feet, and explains how to make your feet look their best regardless of shape.
Deli meat has been getting a bad rap lately—because it's processed, it's not the healthiest choice, and there are even concerns that it elevates cancer risk if it's eaten regularly. But how harmful is a ham sandwich? We asked Marie Scioscia, registered dietitian and author of Eat Right Dance Right, for the scoop on sandwiches.
If you're aiming for a higher développé, chances are you might not be working toward it in the most effective way. "Everybody focuses on the splits. That's fine, but there are so many other ways to gain flexibility that don't perhaps overstretch the wrong tissue in your hips," says physical therapist Michelle Rodriguez, founder and director of Manhattan Physio Group.
"Having a higher extension to the front or side not only requires flexibility in your hamstrings and adductors, but it also requires strength to lift the leg and hold it in that position," she continues. When working in arabesque, the mechanics are a bit different: Stretching should focus on opening up the front of the hip and creating length, not compression, in the lumbar spine.
Derek Dunn in George Balanchine's Prodigal Son. Liza Voll, Courtesy Boston Ballet
A new way of working: Derek Dunn may be known for his explosive jumps and strings of pirouettes, but the powerhouse dancer admits that he wasn't always working inthe smartest way. When he developed hip issues last year, he was forced to shift from "giving 150 percent all the time" to a subtler approach. "I'd been muscling through every- thing and tucking and cranking," he says. "But I've realized that my energy can be used in a much more effective way."
Houston Ballet principal Jessica Collado recalls dancing Giselle's Myrtha on an outdoor stage in the thick of a Texan summer. "At the beginning of the act my shoes still had some life in them, but when I bourréed off to go to my grave at the end, there was literally nothing left of them," she says. "They completely died."
While some pointe shoe brands are built with synthetic materials (making them longer lasting), most shoes are still made out of organic components like burlap and paper, which are incredibly susceptible to humidity. "The more moisture there is, either in the air or from your foot sweating, the faster your shoes will break down," says ThePointeShop founder Josephine Lee. Whether you're spending your summer performing outdoors or training in a crowded studio, muggy weather will have a huge impact on your shoes. Here are some tips to make it through.
Nayara Lopez in The Nutcracker's snow scene. Alexander Iziliaev, Courtesy Pennsylvania Ballet.
Many workouts, one goal: When Nayara Lopes is asked what she does to cross-train, there's no short answer. Some days she swims laps; other days she takes yoga. And then there are her elliptical sessions, strength-training with light weights and Pilates classes. Why does she work so hard outside of the studio? "Because I want to feel good onstage," she says. "There's nothing better than going out there and having fun and knowing you're gonna get through it." Thanks to her cardio routine, stamina isn't an issue. "When I'm onstage, I feel ready for anything."
Former Richmond Ballet dancer Shira Lanyi went through high school without getting her period. "My two older sisters had gotten theirs at 11, so my mom was so worried," says Lanyi, who didn't start her menstrual cycle until she was 26. At the time, Lanyi found her delayed puberty to be convenient. "To be honest, I was thankful because I was flat-chested, and that was great for dance."
But in fact, it's not okay for puberty and the things it brings (like your period) to be put on hold. The process is dictated by hormones that affect both your body and mind. While these hormones may be vilified for increasing the curves of your body and altering your moods, they make it possible for you to build up adequate bone mass and eventually bear children.