The Power of You

You have something unique that can make a big difference in the quality of your dancing: your body. That may sound obvious, but if you tap your potential fully you can achieve more than you ever imagined. A few changes in how you train and eat can help you articulate steps better, give you more stamina in rehearsals and make you a more relaxed and expressive performer. Throughout this health-and-fitness issue you will find tips, strategies and inspiration—like the “Healthy Moves” sidebar on this page—to help you achieve your best self.

 

It comes down to habits, and it’s easy to fall into bad ones. “The Danger Zone” (page 29) outlines some of the pitfalls that trap dancers every day. Of course, even the most dedicated dancer has her weak moments. “My worst mistake,” says senior editor Jenny Stahl, “was trusting other dancers’ health advice, like trying to fall asleep in second position to increase my turnout.”
And like many dancers, assistant editor Margaret Fuhrer ignored injuries, assuming she could work through them. “I spent most of my junior year of high school pretending that I didn’t feel a shooting pain in my right foot every time I passed through demi-pointe,” she says. “By the time I arrived at Boston Ballet’s summer program, what began as a minor injury had developed into a major—and excruciatingly painful—stress fracture.”

 

Injuries plague all dancers, even when they follow the rules. How you approach your recovery, however, can make a big difference. In “Back from the Brink” (page 33), ABT’s Stella Abrera, NYCB’s Megan LeCrone and Colorado Ballet’s Chandra Kuykendall share the ups and downs of the road back, and how persistence can beat the odds.

 

Persistence can also prove the tipping point between ability and opportunity. It took talent, drive and sheer hard work to get Maria Kochetkova, our cover ballerina, to San Francisco Ballet. She pays close attention to her body, working on her weaknesses as much as her strengths. “You have to know what’s good for your body,” she says, “and mine likes it when I dance a lot.”

 

Healthy Moves


Sharon Wehner, Colorado Ballet
I’m a go-go-go person, so I started taking 15 minutes each morning and night to meditate. Making the time and space to get quiet has been beneficial on all fronts—mentally, emotionally and physically. I tend to work constantly. On top of dancing, I’m in LEAP, a college program to help professional dancers earn a BA. Meditating teaches you to listen to your body. It has carried over to my dancing, particularly if I’m feeling a lot of nerves. I am more able to get my body into a relaxed and ready state.

Amanda Cobb, The Washington Ballet
Since I started Gyrotonic, I’m stronger, and I can turn better. I am getting my certification because I want to teach it as well as take it. Just being able to trust my body feels great. I love helping dancers with Gyrotonic—you have to have a good eye to see the imbalances because we’re strong and know how to fake it. I’d also like to work with athletes—maybe basketball players—to help Gyrotonic go to the next level.

Katherine Hartsell, Boston Ballet

Yoga helped me to work with my body in a more mindful way. I carry tension in my upper body and neck, so it’s great to have an hour and a half to focus on that area. I’m not very turned out, but yoga has helped me get to know the structure of my hip joints so I can work them properly. And it helps me to breathe fully. I teach yoga as well. Often dancers don’t feel comfortable speaking up, so making my voice loud enough was one of the hardest things for me when I started to teach. In a very literal way, I opened up—yoga hasn’t just opened up my body; it has opened up my personality.
—Rebecca Ain

Latest Posts


Getty Images

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.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

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.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks