Healthy at Home

with Betsy Mcbride

Betsy Mcbride and I met at the Kaatsbaan Summer Intensive many years ago. She was still a teen but already dancing professionally with Texas Ballet Theatre, I was one of her RA’s.

She was and is a beautiful dancer and after rising through the ranks to Principal at Texas Ballet Theatre, Betsy took the leap to American Ballet Theatre joining the corps de ballet in 2015.

I asked her to share a bit about her experience dancing from home during quarantine. Her words will hopefully make you feel less alone and inspire you to keep going!

Of course there are some things we’re all collectively experiencing but what have been the most major life changes for you?

For me the biggest change has been not having a schedule that’s packed full. This is usually my busiest time of year traveling for multiple tours domestically and internationally and rehearsing/performing most hours of the day.

It has definitely been an adjustment period not having scheduled routine but I’ve found that creating a new routine and schedule has helped keep my sanity. I also had to postpone my wedding that was scheduled for this August so that has been a big curveball trying to plan for our new date and wedding.

How are you staying positive and motivated dancing at home?

It’s definitely challenging because obviously there’s a lot less space and capability to do everything but I try to stay positive by keeping a routine of taking daily ballet class.

I love doing zoom classes with ABT, organized by ballet master Carlos Lopez. That way, I get to consistently see my friends and feel a little more normal.

I’m also trying to be less critical of myself than I would be in the studio because honestly there’s only so much you can expect from yourself when taking class at home.

Have you made any adjustments to your meal plan? Any favorite quarantine meals or snacks?

When we first went into quarantine I was definitely emotionally eating ha! So now I’m trying to reel it in and eat more nutritiously and cut out sugar (not entirely though).

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I find that since I’m not training as hard, I’m not wanting to eat as much meat. I’ve definitely been leaning towards plant based meals. I’ve been enjoying making smoothies in the morning. My quarantine guilty pleasure snacks have been chocolate chip cookies and goldfish.

Are you coping with any anxiety or more challenging emotions? What are you doing to work through them?

Yes, I think most people are on some level with all of this uncertainty. Keeping a schedule and focusing on what I can do now rather than thinking about the future helps calm my mind.

Definitely staying active and busy helps too. I also took an Ayurvedic workshop, led by ABT ballet master Nancy Raffa. I’ve tried applying some Ayurvedic methods to my day to help reduce stress.

Are you worried about staying in shape? What would you say to dancers who are concerned about losing technique or “getting out of shape”?

I am a little worried about that, mostly because it’s so much harder to stay motivated on my own and in an environment with lots of distractions. However, there are so many resources available for people to stay in shape that it’s definitely doable with self discipline.

To dancers worried about this: there are plenty of ways to keep working on your technique. Taking many different ballet and other styles of dance online, doing pilates/yoga/ and other cross training exercises as well. It’s also a great time to focus on things you feel you want to improve and really work towards whatever that may be.

How are you filling your extra time?

I try to take ballet class daily. I’ve been going on runs a few times a week with my fiancé and taking some yoga, pilates, and conditioning classes.

I did the National Training Curriculum and got ABT’s teaching certification and I did a choreographic workshop with Jessica Lang for ABT.

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I’ve been working on my athletic wear company, Rezonance Athletics, and I’ve taught a few virtual ballet classes. I’ve also been very busy trying to reschedule my wedding and deal with all that comes with that. For fun I’ve been reading a lot, watching Netflix, and learning to play the ukulele. Also, FaceTiming!

Will you share more about your activewear company? I’d love to hear more about how that got started.

Yes! Our company, Rezonance Athletics, was founded by my fiancé Simon Wexler, his sister Marina Hutto, his brother Brian Wexler, and myself.

We knew there were no fully eco-friendly and sustainable dance wear lines out there and we wanted to change that. After about two years of research and development, we came up with the first all eco friendly line of dance and athletic clothes for both men and women.

A lot of our products are made from recycled polyester which is made up from water bottles. One of my favorite leos of ours uses 7 water bottles!

ABT Dancer Betsy Mcbride “Healthy at Home”

Jess Spinner

Jess is a former professional ballet dancer turned Holistic Health, Nutrition, and Lifestyle Coach for high level dancers. She founded The Whole Dancer in 2015 after identifying a greater need for balance, wellness and support in the dance world. Since The Whole Dancer was founded, Jess has worked with 100's of dancers worldwide at top companies and schools. She has been featured in or written for Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher Magazine, Pointe Magazine, and Dance Spirit Magazine.

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