You guys, we made it. Our office run is tomorrow and I've officially survived my first rehearsal process with Royal Caribbean. It was intense and I need several naps.
Rehearsals are, in my opinion, the most grueling part of any contract. So I've come up with a list of must-haves that get me through physically demanding rehearsals.
Recently bunions have become a major source of pain in my dance career. I only did pointe in high school and college and other than that I trained mostly in flat shoes or barefoot. But in my professional life, pretty much every show I've done requires dancing in heels and after about four years of prancing down the streets of Universal Orlando in chunky Bloch character heels, my feet started forming some lovely bunions. And re-reading this I realize how gross it sounds to talk about feet, but hey it's the reality of the job.
I started using a gel toe spacer between my big and second toes for when I'm actually dancing and that helps a lot. But what I find really gives me a lot of relief is using YogaToes after a long rehearsal. Think of a larger, hunkier version of those toe spacers you get from the nail salon after a pedicure. I leave them on for 20 to 30 minutes every night, especially when I've been dancing all day, and I find it really helps. I recommend these to all my dancer friends. You will not be disappointed!
Using protein powder is a life saver for me. We were in rehearsals six days a week for seven weeks. Meal prepping is a clearly a challenge with that schedule, not to mention our housing is a refurbished (that's me being polite) dorm with not a lot to work with in the way of cooking supplies. So if there's a quick, healthy way to get the protein and nutrients I need, I'll take it.
I prefer Arbonne protein powder. It's vegan so personally it's much easier on my stomach than a whey-based powder and the vanilla is so yummy even on its own. All I need is water and a shaker bottle and I'm all set. It's easy! A lot of my cast uses protein powder too so it's clearly a good way to stay on top of what your body needs, especially with long days and nights of rehearsal.
And since I'm a firm believer that balance is key, we move from protein powder to ice cream. And in my opinion, Talenti Gelato is particularly on point.
So far, my favorite flavors are Raspberry Cheesecake and Fudge Brownie and while I haven't tried them all, I'm sure every one of them would make me feel deep feelings of bliss and happiness. Lord knows it is well deserved after a long day of trying to Cha Cha with ballroom pros and realizing your white girl dance moves are not cutting it behind Ela from Ukraine. To ease the pain, a pint of gelato will do.
I will say that it's a bit pricey so if you feel like the Publix brand Rocky Road makes your dreams come true, save your coins and stick with that. But I've been cursed with expensive taste and I don't think I can ever go back.
Yoga Studio App
Aside from dancing, yoga is definitely my favorite workout. But when time (and money) are in short supply, I love that I can still have a great practice wherever my phone has enough battery. The Yoga Studio App by Gaiam is $3.99 and well worth it as it contains downloadable classes for beginner, intermediate, and advanced yogis.
You can practice anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and the classes have a range of focuses including balance, strength, flexibility, meditation, or a lovely combination. There are even options for runners, back pain, or if you're just in need of some relaxation. I've been using this app for a few years now and I found it exceptionally useful during my time here.
Sore muscles are constant. Growing up I would always use IcyHot or Tiger Balm to soothe aches and soreness. But a few years ago I learned about Arnicare Gel made from arnica plants and it's my new favorite. It doesn't give off a harsh scent, it's not oily or anything, no parabens which I love, and it works.
It's good for joint pain, muscle soreness, and even bruising. No one wants to have their busted knees showing at an audition, so the fact the it also helps with bruising is a huge plus for me. Arnicare Gel is a little more expensive that it's IcyHot counterpart, but I don't mind paying more for a better product that boasts plant-based relief. Find it at any grocery or drug store.
Duh, everyone already uses Netflix. This isn't some secret site I'm unveiling to you for the first time, but it's still a life-saver. Like I said, I'm a huge believer in balance. And while it's easy for me to get carried away spending all of my time going over "Big Noise" and working out that extra hour at the gym, I've learned that in the long run what really helps me be the best dancer I can be, is to relax, step away from my work, and escape for a while. And for this rehearsal process, Netflix is that escape.
And I'd like to add, it can be anything that takes your mind elsewhere. Whatever that is for you, whether it's going to the movies or hanging at the pool or mingling at Mingles, it is super important to step away from the rehearsal process, let it all sink in to your subconscious, and chill.
P.S. My favorites on Netflix right now are "Reign", "Grace and Frankie", and "Orange is the New Black" (again).
So there you have it. A dancers' rehearsal survival guide that I hope other dancers may find helpful. Have anything to add? Let me know what gets you through a tough rehearsal period. I'd love to hear from you!
We fly out to meet the Adventure of the Seas in Freeport, Bahamas on Sunday so it's bon voyage for now! Time to pop some champagne and celebrate.