Health & Body

8 Diet Myths, Busted!

Dietitians give straight answers to young dancers' most common questions. Thinkstock

Certain diet myths have persisted for decades. And Instagram and Facebook tend to magnify whatever wellness trends are hot. "Eating healthy is easy, but social media is making it so hard," says Rachel Fine, founder of To The Pointe Nutrition. With so much misinformation out there and compelling photography that markets crazes like #cleaneating as keys to covetable bodies, it's wise to listen to qualified professionals more than influencers. DT asked five experienced nutritionists and dietitians to set the record straight on dancers' most commonly asked questions.


Are carbs bad?

No. Carbohydrates are a major classification of nutrients and should account for 55 to 60 percent of your total calories. Carbs are the preferred source of energy for working muscles (and the brain, too, by the way). Getting regular servings of carb-rich foods like oats, quinoa, whole grains, sweet potatoes, fruits, veggies and legumes is the way to go for energy and performance. Dancers don't need to fear weight gain when eating reasonable portions of whole foods like these. Refined grains (like enriched white flour or bran), table sugar, candy and soda are the kinds of carbs that dancers need to be mindful of. These foods don't offer much nutritional value and won't keep you full very long—they should be once-in-a-while treats. —Emily Harrison, a former ballet dancer who advises performers and students through her company, Dancer Nutrition

Teaching Tips
A 2019 Dancewave training. Photo by Effy Grey, courtesy Dancewave

By now, most dance educators hopefully understand that they have a responsibility to address racism in the studio. But knowing that you need to be actively cultivating racial equity isn't the same thing as knowing how to do so.

Of course, there's no easy answer, and no perfect approach. As social justice advocate David King emphasized at a recent interactive webinar, "Cultivating Racial Equity in the Classroom," this work is never-ending. The event, hosted by Dancewave (which just launched a new racial-equity curriculum) was a good starting point, though, and offered some helpful takeaways for dance educators committed to racial justice.

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Higher Ed
The author, Robyn Watson. Photo courtesy Watson

Recently, I posted a thread of tweets elucidating the lack of respect for tap dance in college dance programs, and arguing that it should be a requirement for dance majors.

According to onstageblog.com, out of the 30 top-ranked college dance programs in the U.S., tap dance is offered at 19 of them, but only one school requires majors to take more than a beginner course—Oklahoma City University. Many prestigious dance programs, like the ones at NYU Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase, don't offer a single course in tap dance.

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Teaching Tips
Getty Images

After months of lockdowns and virtual learning, many studios across the country are opening their doors and returning to in-person classes. Teachers and students alike have likely been chomping at the bit in anticipation of the return of dance-class normalcy that doesn't require a reliable internet connection or converting your living room into a dance space.

But along with the back-to-school excitement, dancers might be feeling rusty from being away from the studio for so long. A loss of flexibility, strength and stamina is to be expected, not to mention emotional fatigue from all of the uncertainty and reacclimating to social activities.

So as much as everyone wants to get back to normal—teachers and studio owners included—erring on the side of caution with your dancers' training will be the most beneficial approach in the long run.

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