CriticalDance Forum

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Author:  Cronos [ Tue Nov 16, 1999 6:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Eating

I am curious as to the eating patterns of dancers? Do you eat a lot before a performance, after a performance? When do you eat? Is it the same pattern on performance days and non-performing days?

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Nov 18, 1999 10:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

Deborah Bull talks a bit about food in her book about the first year away from the ROH, 'Dancing Away'. The theme that recurs throughout is ban****. DB travels a lot during the period of the book and she tells us that the first thing she does when she arrives in a new town is to find somewhere that sells ban****.<P>The other aspect that we hear about is a case of food poisoning, which sets her training back by 2-3 months and resulted in her missing a scheduled major performance.<P>DBs partner is a masseur/trainer and he has put her onto a training and eating regime which means that her weight and her energy levels are in better shape than they have ever been in her career. Her whole approach is that she is a champion athlete and she builds up for a major performance.<P>I'm not a dancer, but I do take care with my diet. You know - Big Macs, pizzas, that sort of thing. <P>NOTE: Those **** are not mine, the software is protecting you from my naming a fruit. uses a different system, which wouldn't let someone describe the pantomime '**** Whittington'. Neither does this system, I see. What fun!<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited 11-18-1999).]

Author:  Azlan [ Fri Nov 19, 1999 9:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

I wonder what the **** stands for...<P>Cygnet, Lucy, Jennifer, etc.? Anyone of the dancers want to tackle this one? Or is it not something you want to talk about?

Author:  Mikal [ Fri Nov 19, 1999 6:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

chronos:<BR>When I was performing, I would have a light breakfast...(coffee and toast). Then eat a light supper at about 5 pm...not much. <BR>It is usually wise to make sure you eat, but not too close to performance times.<BR>Usually a two hour separation is what most dancers do. After the performance is when we went out to eat.<BR>Actually, when I go to see a performance now, I still don't eat before going...I hate to feel full. And scared I will have a stomach problem while there. I go out after the show and have my dinner.<P>I am sure other dancers do things differently, but it seems like most females eat as little as possible anyway..due to weight problems. Most will get by on a Cigarette. <P>I wonder if the ***** was referring to the password?<P><P>------------------<BR>bek

Author:  Azlan [ Fri Nov 19, 1999 7:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

Yes, the cigarette...<P>I also knew one dancer who ran on coffee... or at least that's what I was led to believe...

Author:  pidge [ Fri Nov 19, 1999 9:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

Many of my friends who dance do what Bek says. They have something light before a show, and then eat afterwards. <P>Many dancers go by the low carbs/high protein eating regimine while they are rehersing, but change it for when they are performing. <P>And in general, I find that women watch what they eat much more than the men do, but that is true in general society. I have male dancer friends who eat anything and everything!<P>I suppose it also depends on what company your speaking about. I'm sure in some companies, women restrict themselves much more than in other companies... depending on how much the company is into the 'long, lith body' that is ideal (sterotypically) in (example) Balanchine ballets.<P>pidge

Author:  Albrecht [ Sun Nov 28, 1999 10:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

The pattern is different for ballet dancers and modern dancers and for males and females. In my perception, modern dancers have a heavier diet. I have also heard of some male ballet dancers who eat a lot.

Author:  trina [ Fri Mar 24, 2000 2:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

Great topic, and until now, undiscovered by me. When I was perfomring a lot, I stuck to a high-carbo (lots of pasta and bread), moderate protein diet. Tried to drink a lot of fluids and stock up on the potassium and vitamins (especially B complex, good for muscle function)! When you're a fulltime dancer, you have a weird relationship with your body. You have to look at it in the mirror every day...and face it. Also, the demands and standards in professional dance are so high, that you are always trying to create the "ideal" body...whatever the heck that is!<BR>The issue I'm dealing with now as a teacher, is anorexia/bulimia amongst younger dancers. A definite problem...complex. When this problem rears it's ugly head, we try to inform the parents asap, and hope that they seek professional help. <BR>What we also need to acknowledge is that in modern dance, the body types are widely varied and height/weight variables are a bit more sensible. In ballet, the standards are much more rigid, especially in the Balanchine oriented companies.<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited 03-24-2000).]

Author:  Azlan [ Sun Mar 26, 2000 7:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

Protein bars, protein bars, and protein bars seem to have become the staple of dancers. Actually, there is a dancer I know who seem to live off coffee and vitamins.<P>For the most part, I think most dancers are expert nutritionists who know how to eat healthily but you hear horror stories of some who go to extreme measures to achieve impossible body configurations. Trina, is it then the role of the teacher to watch for these abnormal eating behaviors? If not, who? Parents?

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun Mar 26, 2000 1:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

Yes Trina, there does seem to be a more sensible approach in modern dance and greater acceptance of different body shapes. I can remember the Director of one of the UK ballet schools being asked why they had a weekly review of their students' weight. The reply was partly to pick up on pathological eating habits, but also to check on weight increase. She said, 'We want them to be employable and companies don't want 'thin', they want 'skinny, skinny, skinny'. <P>By the way, the censored food in my posts from last year was b-a-n-a-n-a-s, assuming the nanny checker is still switched on. Ban**** - yes, it is and was obviously compiled by someone from the Dan Quayle School of Spelling.<P><BR><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited 03-26-2000).]

Author:  trina [ Sun Mar 26, 2000 2:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

Another thing which always suprises me to no end is the number of dancers who smoke. I just don't get it!! It really cuts down on your respiratory capability...!<BR>Getting back to the anorexia issue..yes, we watch student's eating habits (us teachers). WE get the inevitable student dancer who tries to live on yogurt and ???? Coffee? <BR>The sad thing is that there are many companies which encourage this type of thing! Or at least turn a blind eye to it! I know of a promising ballet dancer who was around 5'3, weighed around 105. A well-known company director said to her that he would "love it if she would lose 15-20 lbs." I was stunned!<p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited 03-26-2000).]

Author:  Lucy [ Sun Mar 26, 2000 3:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

I know of one director who weighs his mice at Nutcracker. He weighs his dancers every Sat. and posts it. I think this is very distructive, and can do such harm.

Author:  spangles [ Tue Aug 31, 2004 9:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

we as teachers definitely need to be aware of our students weight,height and eating patterns, However, where do we draw the line of involvement? And what can we do to help if we do notice any problems? Do you think it is at all beneficial to perhaps record students weight and height at the beginning of each term to determine drastic weight loss etc? do you think as a studio as a whole, we could perhaps help by promoting good health and nutrition through brochures and lectures? I know the studio that I work for has a junk food free zone and that both teachers and students all study nutrition, anatomy and safe dance. would love to hear any comments thoughts etc.I think it is an important issue that needs to be discussed! And of course if we do see any problems arise, nip them in the bud asap with the help of professional practioners, parents/guardians etc.

Author:  Shallom [ Wed Sep 01, 2004 8:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Eating

As a modern dancer I feel like there is a greater acceptance of bodies in different shapes and sizes in modern dance as opposed to ballet - however, we still have to look at ourselves in the mirror for at least 4 hours every day and are trained to be continually critical of ourselves technically and aesthetically, just as in ballet. There is still a lot of pressure to be skinny, and those that fit the "dancer" body type often enjoy a greater degree of success - those with larger body types have to work a hell of a lot harder for their achievements, and they have to fight to be recognized as talented dancers. Even with the greater degree of acceptance in the genre of modern dance, there is always that feeling that if you were thinner, you would more accepted as a dancer by your peers, teachers and employers - if you could lose those 5 or 10 pounds, your career goals would be that much easier to achieve. Unfortunately, this is not just a fiction, this is true whether we like it or not. And unfortunately, this is where eating disorders make their entrance. There is a fine line that many dancers walk between "watching what you eat" and "eating the bare minimum that a body needs to stay alive". I've been there, and it's not much fun - or very useful in the long run. Muscles need food to grow, and brains need food to function. You can only survive off of coffee and vitamins for so long. ;)

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Post subject:  Re: Eating

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