Last week, we told you to eat more chocolate. Add popcorn to that snacking list, too. The American Chemical Society just discovered that popcorn contains more antioxidants than any other snack. While a serving of fruit contains about 160 milligrams of polyphenols (a plant-based chemical that helps neutralize free radicals that cause damage in the body), a serving of plain popcorn contains up to 300 milligrams. That doesn't mean you should start eating popcorn instead of fruit, since the two contain a different set of vitamins and minerals. But popcorn is a smart alternative to chips or crackers. It’s also 100 percent whole grain, which can help with weight maintenance. To enjoy the health benefits, steer clear of varieties drenched in butter or made with partially-hydrogenated oils. The best way to prepare the snack is to pop plain kernels yourself using a stove-top popper or air popper. You can add a little cinnamon, chili powder, curry powder or a tablespoon of Parmesan cheese for extra flavor. Pop and snack away!
The first time I was called to learn Mozartiana, I didn't think I would actually get to do it. It's a coveted ballerina role in the company, and I was still early in my career. But I got to dance it once or twice, and then not again for many years. The ballet isn't in our repertoire that often, so each time we've performed it I've been at a different level as a person and as an artist.
Mozartiana's music, an orchestral suite of the same name, was written by Tchaikovsky as a tribute to Mozart and is based on four of the great composer's piano works.
Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB
I have a terrible fear of falling when doing turns on pointe. I sometimes cry in class when we have to do new turns that I'm not used to. I can only do bad singles on a good day, while some of my classmates are doing doubles and triples. How can I get over this fear? —Gaby
Ballet at home: Since she's not preparing for any immediate performances, Steele takes ballet barre three to four times a week. "I'm working in more of a maintenance mode," she says, prioritizing her ankles and the intrinsic muscles in her feet. "If you don't work those muscles, they disappear really quickly. I've been focusing on a baseline level of ballet muscle memory."
What she's always working on: Strengthening her glute-hamstring connection (the "under-butt" area), which provides stability for actions like repetitive relevés and power for jumps. Bridges are her go-to move for conditioning those muscles. "Those 'basic food group'–type exercises are some of the best ones," she says.
Sarah Steele working out outdoors near the Washington Monument
Courtesy The Washington Ballet