Hello and welcome to San Diego Ballet’s 2016-2017 Season! My name is Noriko Zaragoza and I am a long time company dancer with San Diego Ballet as well as a ballet teacher with the San Diego School of Ballet. I will be writing a series of blog posts this season and am very excited about reaching out to all of you.

Along with being a dancer I am also a happily married wife. For almost 6 years I’ve been married to my lovely husband who works a full-time day job and goes to school full-time at night for a DACM degree in eastern medicine. I can’t leave out my four legged kids, Ringo and Krush, both dogs are shiba inu breeds.

My first post is about getting ready for the start of the season. Here are some things that I do every single year before the big season starts or after coming back from a break.

I’m often cast in the roles that require a lot of stamina in our repertoire and it’s very important for me to build up my stamina before the season starts. I try to go to the gym 5 days a week and stay for about 1 to 2 hours. My typical gym workout consists of light running, upper body exercises for my bad posture, and core work. I’ve learned how important it is to be consistent even in the off season so that when it’s time to return to the stage I understand where my body is and what it can handle. I happen to have a nice gym where I live and thankfully it’s open 24 hours. I thank my husband for access to this.

What kind of ballet dancer would I be if I didn’t take class? I take ballet class at least 4 times a week during the off season and self-practice when I have time. During self-practice I usually focus on pointe work or brush up on repertoire that I already know we will be working on for the season. I am the type of dancer that learns very quickly physically, but mentally I need to take a little bit of extra time to get ready separately. I have to practice on my own a lot to get prepared for the next rehearsal. In fact, I don’t leave the studio until I feel comfortable that I can do it.

I also believe in Chinese medicine. I try to get regular acupuncture treatments at least once a week. It helps to keep my body on track and keep me injury free. I love seeing my acupuncturist every Monday, she is great! It is very important to find someone that you can trust and that understands your body and lifestyle. Two years ago my appendix ruptured and it left me with a 7 inch long scar in the middle of my stomach.  I stayed in the hospital for 11 days and wasn’t able to do basic things such as walking for about a month.  I needed to train myself to walk again, but 11 weeks later I was on stage. I can’t say thank you enough to my specialists that helped me during this time and continue to help me, including my primary Dr. Rebecca R. Rodriguez, D.O. from San Diego Sports Medicine and my lovely friend Stephanie Duerkopp-Faddis from Ouchie Acupuncture. They were vital in my recovery, given my special needs as a dancer.

When it comes to my diet, I don’t have a specific plan that I follow. I like to eat healthy, and I naturally crave fresh fruits and vegetables. I really don’t like to eat processed foods, but like anyone, everyone once in a while I like to eat out or have some junk food. I try to cook everyday using fresh ingredients so know exactly what I’m eating and what’s going into my body.

Check back next month were I will talk more about how food effects my life and my body. I’ll also introduce where I am originally from, why I am still dancing, and why I love this so much!

I’d love to hear from you. Please share your comments below.