Emma Hawes (photo by Sian Richards)

'Tis the season to start dreaming up resolutions, and if one of yours is to boost your workouts, then we have you covered. Read on for a round-up of some of our best workout tips!

1. Don't be afraid to target your weaknesses. The National Ballet of Canada's Emma Hawes uses her workouts to focus on stabilizing her hypermobile shoulder joints. Use the extra reps in your own workouts to focus on what actually needs strengthening, not just what you wish was different (i.e. endless foot exercises).

2. Have you been trying to squeeze in morning workouts but just can't get yourself out of bed on time? Research shows that jump-starting your day with physical activity (as opposed to hanging out in a split before barre) has a whole host of benefits. Here's how to make it happen:

  • Mark your calendar. You wouldn’t skip out on a doctor’s appointment you’ve had on your schedule for months. Similarly, when you pencil in your gym time, you’re more apt to follow through.

  • Invite a buddy. When you know your friend is waking up early to meet you at the gym, you’re less likely to bail on your cross-training plans.

  • Get to bed. Though it’s never good to scrimp on sleep, it’s especially important to wake up feeling rested when physical activity is first on your list.

  • Lay out your clothes (and any special shoes or equipment you’ll need, like a yoga mat) ahead of time, so you’re not rifling through your dresser for a sports bra at the crack of dawn.

  • Pack your bag with anything you’ll need for your dance day if you’re going straight to the studio afterward.

  • Prep your breakfast. Don’t forgo the first meal of the day in order to fit in a workout. Instead, pack a portable breakfast, like a homemade smoothie made the night before, or yogurt, a granola bar and fresh fruit.

3. Give yourself enough time to warm up before performing. Acacia Schachte, who danced with Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet, commits to Pilates, yoga and a ballet barre before she hits the stage, so her core feels steady and she can dance freely.

4. Try something totally new, like TRX training. Even though this workout was developed by a Navy SEAL, tons of dancers swear by it because it forces you to work against your own body weight—even when you're off balance or destabilized.

Rebecca Krohn (photo by Henry Leutwyler)

5. Fuel yourself properly. New York City Ballet principal Rebecca Krohn eats every couple of hours because her body needs it. Find a balance that works for your energy levels so you can dance your hardest.

6. Take a nap! Sleep is essential. We broke down the best ways to catch some shut-eye, even when you're rehearsing nonstop.

 

For more news on all things ballet, don’t miss a single issue. 

 

Ballet Careers
Sisters Isabella Shaker and Alexandra Pullen. Photo Courtesy Alexandra Pullen.

This is the second in a series of articles this month about ballet siblings.

My mom was in the corps de ballet at American Ballet Theatre. A generation later, so was I. As if that's not enough for one family, my younger sister Isabella Shaker dreams of following in our dancing footsteps. Her endeavor, and her status as somewhat of a child prodigy, stirs feelings of pride and apprehension within me, since I have lived through the ups and downs of this intense yet rewarding career.

Ballet will always be my first love and the thing that brings me the most joy, and my dance career has opened endless opportunities for me. However, it's a difficult career path that requires a lifelong dedication. It's super competitive and can lead to body image issues, physical injury and stress. Most dancers will face some of these problems; I definitely dealt with all three.

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Gabriel Davalos, Courtesy Valdés

For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.

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Ballet Stars
Photo by Jayme Thornton

It's National Bullying Prevention Month—and Houston Ballet breakout star Harper Watters is exactly the advocate young dancers facing bullying need. Watters is no novice when it comes to slaying on social media, but his Bullying Prevention Month collaboration with Teen Vogue and Instagram is him at his most raw, speaking about his own experiences with bullies, and how his love of dance helped him to overcome adversity. Watters even penned an incredible op-ed for Teen Vogue's website, where he talks candidly about growing up queer. Catch his amazing anti-bullying video here—and, as Watters says, "Stay fabulous, stay flawless, stay flexible, but most importantly, stay fearless."

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News
Alicia Alonso with Igor Youskevitch. Sedge Leblang, Courtesy Dance Magazine Archives.

Her Dying Swan was as fragile as her Juliet was rebellious; her Odile, scheming, her Swanilda, insouciant. Her Belle was joyous, and her Carmen, both brooding and full-blooded. But there was one role in particular that prompted dance critic Arnold Haskell to ask, "How do you interpret Giselle when you are Giselle?"

At eight, Alicia Alonso took her first ballet class on a stage in her native Cuba, wearing street clothes. Fifteen years later, put in for an ailing Alicia Markova in a performance of Giselle with Ballet Theatre, she staked her claim to that title role.

Alonso received recognition throughout the world for her flawless technique and her ability to become one with the characters she danced, even after she became nearly blind. After a career in New York, she and her then husband Fernando Alonso established the Cuban National Ballet and the Cuban National Ballet School, both of which grew into major international dance powerhouses and beloved institutions in their home country. On October 17, the company announced that, after leading the company for a remarkable 71 years, Alonso died from cardiovascular disease at the age of 98.

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