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Be Iron Clad: Why This Mineral Is a Must for Dancers

For on-the-go dancers, iron is a must. Without enough of the mineral, it can lead to fatigue and a lowered immune function. That's why stocking your fridge with iron-rich foods is so important.


But it doesn't stop there. You should also make sure that other healthy habits, like drinking tea, aren't hampering your body's ability to absorb iron. According to research from the journal Food Science and Nutrition, micronutrients in tea, known as polyphenols, have been shown to limit iron absorption to a certain extent. However, Emily C. Harrison, a dietitian at Atlanta Ballet's Centre for Dance Nutrition, says that there are some dietary strategies that can improve iron absorption in healthy, tea-drinking dancers. Here are her top nutritional tips:

1. Stock your diet with a variety of foods high in iron, like beans, peas, leafy greens, chia seeds and meat, if you eat it. Vitamin C helps absorb iron from plant sources, so pair the two into the same meal or snack. Harrison recommends kale and red peppers gently sautéed in olive oil, with a squeeze of lemon juice as a dressing, or spinach and black bean tacos with fresh lime juice and cilantro.

Bowl of oatmeal with apples on a linen placemat. Next to it is a cup of tea and another bowl with chia pudding and an apple.

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2. Foods fortified with iron are also great choices. Try oatmeal, dry cereal and pasta made from red lentils or black beans.

3. Dancers drinking less than three cups of tea daily and eating iron-rich foods are at a lower risk for iron deficiency.

4. If a dancer is anemic, one to two cups of tea per day is still permissible, though they'll need to increase their intake of foods high in iron and possibly take a low-dose iron supplement, less than 18 milligrams. If anemia continues despite a dancer's iron-rich diet, consult a doctor to rule out other possible problems.

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How to Support the Black Dance Community, Beyond Social Media

The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Theresa Ruth Howard's leadership spurred ballet companies including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet to pledge #BalletRelevesForBlackLives. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.

The work we're doing on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.

A responsible ally amplifies Black voices­­. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.

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Class of 2020, These Ballet Stars Have a Heartfelt Video Message Just for You

Congratulations to this year's graduating seniors!

You might not have had the chance to take that long planned-for final bow, but we're here to cheer you on and celebrate all that you've accomplished. And we've brought together stars from across the ballet world to help us; check out the video to hear their best wishes for your futures.

To further fête all of the ballet grads out there, we're also giving away 100 free subscriptions to Pointe... plus, one lucky bunhead will receive a personalized message from one of ballet's biggest stars. Click here to enter!


Tulsa Ballet in Ma Cong's Tchaikovsky: The Man Behind the Music. Kate Luber Photography, Courtesy Tulsa Ballet.

Updated: Mark Your Calendars for These Online Ballet Performances

Updated on 5/27/2020

Since COVID-19 has forced ballet companies around the world to cancel performances—and even the remainder of their seasons—many are keeping their audiences engaged by streaming or posting pre-recorded performances onto their websites or social media channels. To help keep you inspired during these challenging times, we've put together a list of upcoming streaming events and digital performances.

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