Healthy at Home
with Olivia Mackinnon
New York City Ballet Dancer and Ballet Inspired Fitness creator Olivia Mackinnon shares how she is staying healthy at home during quarantine. Balance is key as well as recognizing that staying in performance shape isn’t necessarily realistic. Read on for some inspiration!
Of course there are some things we’re all collectively experiencing but what have been the most major life changes for you?
I’ve had to adapt to this new normal of not being able to dance with my company. This pandemic has allowed me to take a breath from my normal lifestyle I’ve had since I was 17. I’ve made many new relationships virtually, and discovered a new love for teaching, and creating.
How are you staying positive and motivated dancing at home?
Having the ability to still connect with my colleagues each morning by taking class through zoom has helped continue my training, and keeps a consistent schedule each day for myself. I’m also able to see my pilates teacher each week. We work through ways of staying at my best even under the circumstances.
Have you made any adjustments to your meal plan? Any favorite quarantine meals or snacks?
Because I’m not pushing myself to the limits onstage, I’ve adjusted my afternoon regime by not eating as much throughout the day. I started making smoothies around 1:30-2:00pm filled with greens, collagen protein, and flaxseed to keep myself full until an early dinner.
As a performing artist I’m used to eating a light protein filled snack before the show, and then a large meal after performing late at night once I’m home. I’ve been enjoying this treat of eating dinner early, and retiring to bed at a decent time!
Are you coping with any anxiety or more challenging emotions? What are you doing to work through them?
I’ve grown so accustomed to my demanding schedule, and I have that type of personality that thrives off of staying busy, and fulfilled by work. As an athlete who’s career can go by quickly, it’s been difficult to have it put on hold for a year.
Instead of continuing to feel sad, I’ve tried to make my weeks filled with classes. Training for myself as well as teaching and helping others has helped.
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 have to remind myself that there is no way to stay in perfect performance shape without performing. However, there are so many other things I can do to keep myself in top form. On top of taking classes, and seeing my pilates teacher I’ve loved swimming!
I also launched Ballet Inspired Fitness in April. I’ve created classes for all levels that lengthen and tone the muscles. Teaching ballet privates, and group classes as well as teaching/creating my Ballet Inspired fitness has really kept me going.
Will you share about Ballet Inspired Fitness?
Once I started teaching ballet class privates I realized there was a need for a more inclusive way of exercising with a graceful quality.
There were so many ballet classes being provided online, but not many ways to help dancers condition their bodies in a way that translates into improving their everyday ballet class. I also wanted to make sure those who have never taken ballet were included, and that they would have the opportunity to learn positions and movements from the ballet vocabulary while moving their bodies.
All of the exercises elongate the body promoting long lines kindred to those of a ballerina. I started by teaching livestream classes on my instagram @oliviamackinnon and then transitioned to teaching Zoom based classes to build my clientele.
The Zoom classes provide my clients with more personalized attention, and it’s a fun way to meet and connect with new people from all around the world.
The goal is to have clients subscribe to gain access to a full library of classes. That way they can stream anytime, anywhere! I’ve also created tutorials explaining certain ballet movements you might see in my fitness classes. I want to make sure people understand how to perform them.
Photos of Olivia by James Jin and Gabriela Celeste