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A Dancer's Guide to Summer Produce

Matthew Henry via Burst

Whether you're heading off to a summer intensive or loading up on classes at your hometown studio, buying fresh and seasonal produce is a great way to get the fuel you need for dancing. Fruits and veggies are tastier (and often cheaper) when they're in season, since they are more locally abundant and don't have to be shipped from far away.


Here are a few foods that are in season right now, to get you started:

Beets

Jill Wellington via Pixabay

A good source of potassium (helpful for reducing muscle cramps) and fiber, which keeps you feeling satiated for longer. Plus, the phytonutrients in beets have antioxidant, detoxification and anti-inflammatory benefits. Try grating raw beets over salad to mix up your usual blend of veggies.

Watermelon

Juja Han via Unsplash

Is there anything better than a juicy slice of watermelon in the summer? True to its name, the fruit's water content is over 90 percent, helping you stay cool and hydrated on hot days. Watermelon juice may also help reduce muscle soreness if you drink it before a workout.

Strawberries and Blueberries

Jessica Ruscello via Unsplash

Fresh berries are a perfect summer snack, and not just because they're delicious. These have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and one study found that blueberries may give short term memory a boost.

Green Beans

SnapwireSnaps via Pixabay

Non-starchy vegetables like green beans are a healthy source of carbs that can help provide the energy you need for long rehearsals or performances. Green beans are also a good source of vitamin K, which helps blood to clot.

Cherries

Chris Liverani via Unsplash

They're known for their anti-inflammatory properties, and tart cherry juice in particular has been found to reduce muscle pain and weakness after intense strength training or long-distance running.

Ballet Stars

What do Diana Vishneva, Olga Smirnova, Kristina Shapran and Maria Khoreva all have in common? These women, among the most impressive talents to graduate from the Vaganova Ballet Academy in recent years, all studied under legendary professor Lyudmila Kovaleva. Kovaleva, a former dancer with the Kirov Ballet (now the Mariinsky), is beloved by her students and admired throughout the ballet world for her ability to pull individuality and artistry out of the dancers she trains. Like any great teacher, Kovaleva is remarkably generous with her wealth of knowledge; it seems perfect, then, that she appears as the Fairy of Generosity in this clip from a 1964 film of the Kirov's The Sleeping Beauty.

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Sponsored by BLOCH
Courtesy BLOCH

Today's ballet dancer needs a lot from a pointe shoe. "What I did 20 years ago is not what these dancers are doing now," says New York City Ballet shoe manager Linnette Roe. "They are expected to go harder, longer days. They are expected to go from sneakers, to pointe shoes, to character shoes, to barefoot and back to pointe shoes all in a day."

The team at BLOCH developed their line of Stretch Pointe shoes to address dancer's most common complaints about the fit and performance of their pointe shoes. "It's a scientific take on the pointe shoe," says Roe. Dancers are taking notice and Stretch Pointe shoes are now worn by stars like American Ballet Theatre principal Isabella Boylston, who stars in BLOCH's latest campaign for the shoes.

We dug into the details of Stretch Pointe's most game-changing features:

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Ballet Careers
Ali Cameron, Courtesy Queensland Ballet

An artistic director's position was far from Li Cunxin's mind when the Brisbane-based Queensland Ballet came calling in 2012. Since his retirement from the stage in 1999, the Chinese-Australian dancer had embarked on a highly successful career at the helm of a stockbroking firm. His wife, former dancer and current Queensland ballet mistress Mary McKendry Li, changed his mind, Li remembers. "She said, 'Wouldn't it be nice to give something back to the art form that we both have benefited so much from?' "

Seven years later, Li's contribution has been dramatic. Queensland Ballet, once a struggling choreographer-led company, has become one of Australia's most exciting repertoire ensembles, with Liam Scarlett on board as artistic associate. The budget has more than quadrupled, to over $20 million USD, and Li has launched not one but three major construction projects, with world-class headquarters, a theater and a new academy all in progress.

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News
Gene Schiavone, Courtesy Boston Ballet

Wonder what's going on in ballet this week? We've rounded up some highlights.

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