There are some tried and true ways to bring more lightness to your dancing.
First, lets chat about eating in a way that will make you feel lighter. When you wait until you’re truly hungry to enjoy any food – you’ll understand how food impacts that feeling of lightness.
It’s not about under – eating or getting to a place of uncomfortable hunger.
Instead, you want to allow yourself the time between meals and snacks that you recognize the lightness that comes with healthy fueling. This also connects to the hunger scale and stopping eating before feeling over filled.
If you consider your hunger on a scale of 1 – 10 (1 being empty/”starving”and 10 being uncomfortably stuffed) before you eat, it can help you to better gauge your food needs. Now, your guestimate will not likely be 100% accurate which is why it’s also essential to listen to your body as you consume a meal or snack.
Pause before and after each bite.
Ultimately stop eating when you’re around a 6/7.
Experiment with stopping at different stages of your hunger scale.
By paying close attention, you’ll be able to head back into the studio after lunch feeling just as light as when you left.
Stay hydrated as this is going to keep things moving internally. Lots of water doesn’t make you bloated but rather it keeps your system flushed making you feel lighter and more energetic.
Eat some whole grains (broken record alert) – oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa – in smaller portions as snacks can help you to feel satisfied, energized and lighter. That’s a triple threat if you ask me!
Avoid gum and carbonated beverages. With gum, you’re constantly getting additional air into your mouth which leads to a bloated feeling. The bubbly stuff gets trapped in your stomach which leads to bloating.
Enjoy more raw foods – this is much easier in the warmer months. You’ll find smoothies, salads and green juices much more appealing in the heat. Listen to your body as it will likely crave those cold, lighter foods.
To feel lighter, you might rethink your dairy consumption. The older you get, the less lactase you produce. This is the digestive enzyme that breaks down lactose (the sugar in milk). Without being able to properly digest dairy, you’re likely to experience gas and bloating.
Now, don’t let thoughts of eating light make you crazy. My sister was recently on the NYC Subway and she texted me, “I’m sitting next to two ballet dancer’s who are talking about just eating lettuce.”
Just eating lettuce is not going to make you feel light…well, it might, but it will also cause potentially irreparable damage to your body and metabolism. Check out the most recent video on avoiding disordered eating territory as you pursue ballet.
In addition to the food factors, lifting up through your lower abs is going to help you feel taller and lighter as you dance.
Think : ribs in, abs lifting in and up, shoulders down, long neck.
Imagery will take this concrete concept to the next level. Imagine yourself floating along the studio floor. If you’re dancing Swan Lake, see yourself walking on water or flying.