Health & Body

5 Pack-Ahead Snack Ideas to Fuel Your Dancers' Long Days

Every dancer has different dietary needs and can find, through trial and error, which foods help them perform their best during full days of dance. But younger dancers will need your help to pick foods that provide energy and focus. Here's a handful of suggestions.

  • For a burst of energy on the go, eat a handful of mini pretzels or whole-grain crackers, a small bag of grapes or carrot sticks, a banana or a box of raisins.
  • For an easy lunch, make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread. Peanut butter is a great source of healthy protein, and it doesn't even need to be refrigerated.
  • For a convenient recovery food between classes or performances, try a prepackaged 8-ounce serving of vanilla or chocolate soy milk or shelf-stable regular milk.
  • The day before, make a green or fruit smoothie, put it into mini mason jars and then freeze it. Put one in a cooler the next day for breakfast on-the-go or lunch. Kids love it because it's like eating a sorbet.
  • If you shop for energy bars, keep in mind that many have as much sugar as a candy bar. Look for brands that have less than 7–15 grams of sugar and about 8 grams of protein.
Teachers Trending
Alwin Courcy, courtesy Ballet des Amériques

Carole Alexis has been enduring the life-altering after-effects of COVID-19 since April 2020. For months on end, the Ballet des Amériques director struggled with fevers, tingling, dizziness and fatigue. Strange bruising showed up on her skin, along with the return of her (long dormant) asthma, plus word loss and stuttering.

"For three days I would experience relief from the fever—then, boom—it would come back worse than before," Alexis says. "I would go into a room and not know why I was there." Despite the remission of some symptoms, the fatigue and other debilitating side effects have endured to this day. Alexis is part of a tens-of-thousands-member club nobody wants to be part of—she is a COVID-19 long-hauler.

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Teachers Trending
Annika Abel Photography, courtesy Griffith

When the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May catalyzed nationwide protests against systemic racism, the tap community resumed longstanding conversations about teaching a Black art form in the era of Black Lives Matter. As these dialogues unfolded on social media, veteran Dorrance Dance member Karida Griffith commented infrequently, finding it difficult to participate in a meaningful way.

"I had a hard time watching people have these conversations without historical context and knowledge," says Griffith, who now resides in her hometown of Portland, Oregon, after many years in New York City. "It was clear that there was so much information missing."

For example, she observed people discussing tap while demonstrating ignorance about Black culture. Or, posts that tried to impose upon tap the history or aesthetics of European dance forms.

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Studio Owners
Courtesy Tonawanda Dance Arts

If you're considering starting a summer program this year, you're likely not alone. Summer camp and class options are a tried-and-true method for paying your overhead costs past June—and, done well, could be a vehicle for making up for lost 2020 profits.

Plus, they might take on extra appeal for your studio families this year. Those struggling financially due to the pandemic will be in search of an affordable local programming option rather than an expensive, out-of-town intensive. And with summer travel still likely in question this spring as July and August plans are being made, your studio's local summer training option remains a safe bet.

The keys to profitable summer programming? Figuring out what type of structure will appeal most to your studio clientele, keeping start-up costs low—and, ideally, converting new summer students into new year-round students.

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