Health & Body
via Burst

In December, I had pretty much every illness you can imagine: pneumonia, vertigo, flu, stomach virus. I had to drop out of Nutcracker because I kept fainting. Every time I try to come back, I take steps backwards. I've tried doing as much as I can in class, and I still almost pass out. I've lost so much strength, but dance is my life. What should I do? —Kayla

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Everything Nutcracker
Thinkstock

I always get sick during Nutcracker. Help! —Emily

Long days, late nights, chilly weather and overworked bodies make the perfect recipe for disaster during Nutcracker season. I'll never forget burning up with a fever backstage in my Arabian costume, or the time when a flu outbreak caused major casualties in our Snow and Flower corps. Staying well requires a combination of nutrition, hydration and sleep—not to mention preparedness and discipline.

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Ballet Stars
Morgan in Mobile Ballet's production of Swan Lake. Photo by Jan Johnson, Courtesy Morgan.

Kathryn Morgan was one of New York City Ballet's most promising soloists, until her career was sidelined by hypothyroidism. In 2012, after two years of unexplained energy loss and headaches, and rapidly gaining 40 pounds, she left the company and returned home to Alabama to focus on her health. But she found her way back to ballet on her own terms, starting a popular blog and YouTube channel that over 32,000 subscribers use as a resource. Now, she's dancing again—most recently starring in To Dance, a musical about ballet dancers in Cold War Russia that premiered at FringeNYC; and touring with Ballet in the City, an organization that presents professional ballet performances across the U.S. With more opportunities on the horizon, she spoke with Pointe editor Amy Brandt about calling the shots in her career. —Suzannah Friscia

What was it like after you left NYCB and moved back home?

I had begun to hate ballet. I had begun to not even want to show my face and dance. So when I left, to my surprise it was a huge relief at first. But then the depression set in. That wave of relief brought on an even worse onslaught of medical problems—once the pressure was off, my body blew up, my hair fell out. I started to miss dancing and thought the thing I'd wanted to do forever was gone. My parents would say, “What do you want to do instead?" and I didn't have an answer. It took probably another year or two before I started to want to get back into it or thought that I could.

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