NYCB's seven ways to help your body

February 3, 2009

This past October, New York City Ballet held its fourth annual Dance Wellness Workshop, “Bodies in Balance”—and I was there! With a panel of experts including Dr. Linda Hamilton, physical therapist Katy Keller and a handful of NYCB dancers, the focus of the workshop is to educate dancers on strengthening and healing their bodies. Here are some of my favorite tips from the day that you can incorporate into your daily routine:

  • Take one day off from dancing a week. It’ll strengthen and heal your muscles.
  • Eat a banana every day. It’s the perfect balance of nutrients.
  • Repackage your food into smaller portions using plastic containers or zipper bags. Jumbo boxes of food may be a great bargain, but they’ll tempt you to eat up to 25 percent more calories per sitting.  

I learned the most at Keller’s course, “Stretching for Increased Flexibility.” Here are a few of her tricks of the trade:

  • Flex your feet while you’re stretching. It gives a greater pull on your ligaments.
  • Start stretching on your tighter side. So if your right split is deeper than your left, start stretching on your left side from now on.
  • Try stretching in parallel. These are the muscles working overtime to help you turn out. They need to be released.
  • Don’t overstretch. An overstretched calf muscle can cause problems in the front of the ankle.