How to Revitalize Your Ballet Body
Summer is a time for our dancers to take a break from the stage for some well-deserved relaxation and recovery. However, the work never truly ends. Even during their time off, professional dancers practice healthy habits and various activities to keep their bodies and minds conditioned for the grueling season to come. Principal dancer Patricia Delgado shares 6 tips that help her rejuvenate during the summer months off.
Every year during the summer layoff I set different goals for myself. When we are working during the season, almost all of my focus is devoted to performing. By the end, I feel accomplished and grateful, but also physically and emotionally drained. The layoff can be a time to explore the physical rest, recovery and cross-training aspect of our work and also a time to find inspiration elsewhere such as teaching, exploring other art forms and traveling!
The layoff is a good time to make sure our muscles heal. One way of doing that is through eating healthy foods. I have had the pleasure of being in New York City during this break and have enjoyed the many delicious ethnic restaurants NYC has to offer, especially Indian and Asian cuisines which have many healing properties in their spices! With the extra energy, I’ve been exploring new recipes, for example, cooking more meats and fish. I’ve also been baking because its very therapeutic to me. I even took a baking course to sharpen up some of my skills at the Institute of Culinary Education. It’s great to shift your focus and work your brain in a different way!
I’ve made it a point to sleep in and take naps during this layoff as well. As dancers, we are “on” all the time and expected to perform our best night after night. Sleep is one thing that sometimes gets neglected. Catching up on sleep has really helped me feel rejuvenated physically and emotionally.
I’ve immersed myself in Gyrotonics® this break! I have always had a love and respect for the work especially when coming back from injuries, but I never felt like I had enough time and energy during the season to continue digging deeper and understanding the work better. Working one on one with a trainer has been helpful to address certain habits that sneak into our movement patterns. I have found new ways of moving that I am excited to apply this season coming up!
(Gyrotonics? Watch Patricia’s sister Jeanette Delgado in our Gyrotonics® 101 video!)
I find exploring new cities to be extremely inspiring and invigorating. New York City is charged with creativity and stimuli! I saw Cabaret on Broadway for the first time and was blown away. I even biked the Williamsburg bridge! Just roaming the streets and exploring new neighborhoods was great fun! I was fortunate enough to visit Charleston, SC for the opening of Shepard Fairey’s “Power and Glory” art exhibit (Shepard will be collaborating with Justin Peck for his new piece on us next season). Hearing him explain his process and thoughts on art and life inspired me not only as an artist but as an individual living in our society. I look forward to exploring more of his work and honored to be a part of this incredible collaboration next season. In addition, I saw Hubbard Street perform and attended several Chamber music concerts. I left feeling extremely inspired and wanting to explore some modern and contemporary classes as well as possibly going back to taking piano lessons.
One thing that has become a staple of mine during the layoff has been researching the ballets we will be performing the following season. I’m a little bit of a nerd when it comes to researching ballets. I love learning about the history of the work and watching old videos as well as watching performances of the ballets and how they are danced today by other companies. The Library for the Performing Arts in NYC has an incredible array of information especially on the Balanchine ballets. You can watch original ballerinas coach ballerinas of today. It’s incredible the amount of details that can be passed on to keep these ballets as alive as they were when Balanchine created them! Watching New York City Ballet and American Ballet Theatre perform live is always great inspiration! Going to the theater when on layoff is the most fulfilling because I find myself watching as a fan and an admirer. While in season, there is a personal focus that changes the way in which I enjoy the the theater.
Of course, taking class is a must! No matter what extracurricular activities you do, nothing replaces a ballet class! Its like eating breakfast, NECESSARY! It’s been great to take class with different teachers around NYC! Keeping the mind and body awake and taking in different thoughts and ideas teachers have about ballet has been helpful and stimulating!
Catch Patricia onstage when our 2014-2015 Season opens in October!