Growing up I basically knew next to nothing about eating healthy, my diet basically consisted of packaged food, sugary soda, and whatever Mom made for dinner. It wasn’t until I was thirteen that I really became serious about becoming a professional ballet dancer. Every person who’s ever made that career a goal seems to have a tipping point when you are no longer taking one to three ballet classes a week to ,ballet basically takes over your entire life. You’re at the studio daily, taking a minimum of two classes a day, adding on private lessons, auditioning for summer intensives & year around ballet schools , all on top of trying to be an average teenager. So you are EXHAUSTED! Plus once those auditions start happening at a regular pace, you start seeing how truly competitive the ballet world is. You are no longer the star of your home studio but you are just another person in a room with a pair of tights, a bun on your head, & a number on your chest. Everywhere you look there’s someone who seems to have better turnout, higher jumps, more pirouettes, or legs longer than a coastline. Like any aspiring ballerina, I realized that I needed to do everything I could to be the best I could be. Between dancing over twenty hours a week and cross training , I knew I was doing all I could in the studio to be successful but what about outside of the studio?
My first experience learning about nutrition and how it is connected to being successful in ballet was when I attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. I was a freshman in college and for the first time I was 100% percent responsible for feeding and cooking for myself. The possibility of having pizza and ice cream for every meal was suddenly an option but so was eating nothing except lettuce and egg whites. Basically, I was clueless and decided to take a Nutrition Class. This definitely opened my eyes for the first time that food could actually fuel me to be more productive and stronger as a dancer. Throughout my journey as a dancer, I went on to become a trainee at the Richmond Ballet for two years then ultimately received my first company contract with Ballet Virginia. During these years, my responsibilities increased as I was no longer a student at a school but I was performing with professionals. Each year added more training, more performances, more choreography, and more pressure. With my life evolving, I found that I struggled to know what my body needed, as my energy needs were constantly changing and growing.
That’s when I decided I needed to get serious about taking care of my health. My desire to work hard needed to be matched with a desire to fuel my body’s needs for adequate fuel. I was so fortunate to work with an amazing nutritionist, Emily Cook Harrison from Dancer Nutrition. She CHANGED my life, I learned about the different food groups, meal timing, how to eat pre and post exercise, and so much more. Seeing the impact all this knowledge had on my health and my dancing I was inspired to learn even more. Thus, through Cornell University online I earned my certification of Nutrition and Healthy Living.
With my certification, I’m so thrilled to share my knowledge with other dancers. I’ve even created a my own guide for learning the basics of the different macro and micro nutrition groups, all with some quick snack & meal ideas perfect for busy dancers and athletes (for more information check out my Get in Touch + Shop page). Plus I can’t wait to share even more knowledge with y’all by posting snack, meal, and fitness ideas (maybe even a recipe book). Because dancers, your body is your instrument , TAKE CARE OF IT!
Every Ballerina Needs to Take a Bow