It's a question every dancer asks herself: If I want to perform my best, should I eat before or after rehearsal? The answer: Both.

 

According to an article in The New York Times, it turns out that eating easily digestible carbohydrates (think white bread or white rice) in the hour before exercising helps athletes work out for longer. That means your fouettés won't lose steam by hour two or three in the studio.

 

But if you don't eat anything after dancing, you'll probably feel sluggish at the barre tomorrow. Have a bite of carbs post-rehearsal, when your muscles are “primed” to slurp blood sugar out of the bloodstream and replenish lost fuel stores, says John L. Ivy, a professor of kinesiology at the University of Texas at Austin. Even better, mix those carbs with protein, which repairs muscle fibers, and can help you store yet more energy. The best recovery snack of all is actually chocolate milk, which has the ideal ratio of carbs to protein. Plus, it's just downright tasty.

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Francesca Hayward (center) in Cats (courtesy NBCUniversal)

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Sarasota Ballet's Kate Honea and Ricardo Graziano in Balanchine's Western Symphony. Frank Atura, Courtesy Sarasota Ballet.

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Sponsored by The Rock School
From left: Sarah Lapointe, Derek Dunn and Jeanette Kakareka. Courtesy The Rock School

For more than five decades, The Rock School for Dance Education has been launching young dancers into professional ballet careers around the globe. Boasting distinguished alumni such as Beckanne Sisk, Michaela DePrince and Taylor Stanley, the Philadelphia-based institution has garnered a well-deserved reputation for pairing rigorous training with a tight-knit, welcoming community. Their summer intensives are no different, with a wealth of prestigious faculty members, many of whom are Rock School alums currently dancing at companies around the world.

What inspires busy pros to keep returning to their alma mater? We talked to three of The Rock School's buzziest alums about why they make it a priority to come back and teach:

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