Aaaaand we’re back! April has been a busy and exciting month for me, and I can’t wait to share what I’ve been up to! This past weekend marked the premiere of my ballet company’s spring performance, The Sleeping Beauty Ballet, which we have been preparing for not only this month, but since the beginning of the semester. Here is a snapshot of what a dancer’s life the week before a performance entails.
Today I’m still home on Long Island for Easter break. Though I have no official rehearsal to attend, I still make sure I’m active today to retain the strength, stamina, and flexibility I’ve been working on all semester. This morning I get a bit of cardio in (I run/walk in intervals for a half hour around the block–loving this spring weather!) as well as ab exercises (your usual variety of planks and crunches) and 45 minutes of stretching (don’t forget the splits!) When I call my grandma to thank her for the birthday card she sent me, I use the down time to work on balancing (in first, fifth, coupé, and passé!)
Back at Fordham! I rush from class to rehearsal; today is our first day in the theater. We roll our special floor called marley out onto the stage–without it the stage is too slippery for us to dance in our pointe shoes. Finally we’re ready to stretch and warm up before blocking (walking through the entire show to finalize spacing and transitions between scenes). We run through the entire show–not bad for the first time! We’re free to go three hours later.
Today is our tech rehearsal, which is a chance for us to coordinate sound and lighting for the production. In order to work out the technical kinks and fix choreography for the last time, we stay at the theater late…I practically face plant into my bed when I get home!
Dress rehearsal! I slick my hair back into a bun, apply glitter to my eyelids, and swipe on dark red lipstick. We pose for some group photos and then begin our first (and only!) full run through with music, lights, costumes, and props. When I get home around 9:30, I soak my feet in ice water…by this point, my feet have been in pointe shoes everyday this week for multiple hours and my toes are not happy about it. I take a hot shower to relax my muscles and leap into bed.
Showtime!! I start working on my hair and makeup at 4, then pack up my two tutus, sparkly bodice, fresh pink tights, pointe shoes, toe pads, and tiara. I lug it all across campus and arrive at the theater by 5:15. Again, we roll out and tape down the marley, then warm up with a pre-performance pilates workout. Then we have a half hour for our own pre-show rituals. Some girls do cardio, foot exercises, or review their dances; I take the time to stretch, which also helps me focus and calms my nerves. I play some soothing Sam Smith music–I need a break from the classical stuff!–to do pliés and a barre stretch meditatively. At 30 minutes to curtain, we gather backstage to step into our tutus, secure our tiaras, and tie on our pointe shoes, then warm up our feet with lots of relevés and échappés. With one minute left, we scurry into the wings and whisper Merde! (the French equivalent of “break a leg” for dancers). Suddenly the curtain lifts, the stage lights blaze, and all my worries in the world fade away.
Despite being the self-proclaimed queen of dessert, I try to eat clean this week before the shows to keep my body feeling lean and energized. When I do need a sweet tooth fix, I whip up this smoothie that’s super quick, easy, and delicious. Bonus health points: soy milk provides extra protein and potassium in bananas helps prevent muscle cramps!
1 cup milk of choice (cow, almond, soy…)
2 tbsp peanut butter
Blend for 20-30 seconds depending on if you prefer a thick or thin consistency.
Still longing for dessert? I keep a bag of Hershey’s Special Dark Kisses on hand for when I’m craving sweets. Dark chocolate keeps my sweet tooth at bay and boasts legitimate health benefits! Snack away!