Performance opportunities – such as NBS’ annual Spring Showcase – are a vital and exciting part of students’ artistic growth. But young dancers must learn how to appropriately fuel their minds and bodies to ensure that they can perform safely and successfully.
As it turns out, that fuel must be balance.
Rebecca Dietzel, NBS’ consulting nutritionist, writes in A Dancer’s Guide to Healthy Eating
, that “there are six things that are essential for life: water, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and proteins,” making it clear that balanced nutrition is about far more than simply how much food we eat. For NBS students, these components work together to ensure they can support their growing bodies and undertake athletic feats.
Martine Lamy – former principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, and current ballet faculty member at NBS – notes that nutritional balance was critical during her career, and it remains vital today.
“Balanced nutrition is always
important for dancers – whether it’s during a performance run or in everyday class. It’s critical for maintaining health and preventing injury; if you run out of fuel; both your mind and body can't work properly."
A Holistic Approach
Nutrition is important for both training and performing – especially as it’s a vital component for the body’s overall immune functionality. Rosehip tea, lemons, limes, apples, cabbage and broccoli provide vitamin C, all of which are helpful in boosting the immune system. Eating foods containing probiotics, such as fermented foods (kimchi, yoghurt) and prebiotics, including whole grains like barley and oats, will encourage a healthy digestive tract – which is another critical factor in building immunity.
But immune function and overall health are about balance, too. A holistic approach includes:
- Eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fermented foods;
- Avoiding processed foods and sugars;
- Staying hydrated;
- Exercising regularly;
- Getting enough sleep but also going to sleep and waking up at regular times;
- Finding ways to minimize stress
So whether training and/or performing, every student must find a balanced approach in order to sustain their energy and long-term health.
Martine Lamy knows it’s a process that is important to practice every day.
“It can be tricky to find the right balance. But once you do, it sets you up for success over your entire career and for the rest of your life.”