Even Ballet Dancers Have “Layovers”
Noriko Zaragoza shares how she handles breaks during the season.
San Diego Ballet has layover breaks during the season, and it can get very tricky for us to stay in shape. Here are some tips that I have been doing for 13 years.
1) It is very important to rest.
You can’t rest the entire break but I usually take at least one week off from all the exercise.
2) Get back to exercise slowly.
I’ve been doing this for over 13 years so I know how much I need to push myself to get back to dancing full time. You can’t put pointe shoes on and jump around on the first day coming back. It is best to ease into it slowly to stay avoid injuries.
3) Make sure you do other strengthening excises.
I highly recommend going to the gym more often than usual. I do a lot of stamina excises such as jogging for a few miles and strengthening exercises such as weight lifting with very light weights for my upper body. It helps fix my bad posture and also helps develop my petit allegro. There is a common misconception that ballerinas don’t go to the gym to do weight training and that is just a fairy tale. You need to be strong in multiple ways to survive the ballet world.
4) Keep eating healthy.
It is especially important to watch what you eat everyday when you are not as active as you usually are. I make sure to eat a balanced diet and watch my portions. During the season I have breakfast, a snack, lunch, a snack, and dinner, but when it’s off-season I have breakfast, very light lunch, a snack, and dinner. I crave fresh fruits and vegetables naturally and haven’t had any problems maintaining my weight but I understand that is a very difficult issue for some young dancers. You should always write down what you eat in a day and if you should substitute for healthy alternatives if you can. Or at least give it a try.
5) Keep up your treatments.
I try to keep up my regular acupuncture treatments once a week even when we are off. It helps me maintain a strong body and away from sickness.
6) Don’t forget to do something that you can’t usually do.
Life gets very busy sometimes and we all forget how important it is to relax and do nothing. I have a difficult time reminding myself how important this is. I think it’s good idea to stay away from my computer and maybe read a book, take a nap or cuddle with my pups. Ringo and Krush somehow know when to come up and ask for a cuddle. They are the perfect independent dogs that don’t need much attention but they make sure to remind me that I need to take a break, sit in the sun and do absolutely nothing. Sometimes the best plan is no plan.