Magazine article Dance Magazine

Maria Chapman: This Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Goes for a Run Almost Every Day

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Maria Chapman: This Pacific Northwest Ballet Principal Goes for a Run Almost Every Day

Article excerpt

As a kid, Pacific Northwest Ballet principal Maria Chapman loved sprinting, but she gave it up for ballet at age 13. She started running again only after joining PNB in 1995, when she began including running drills in her cross-training routine with former Olympian Peter Shmock.

Today, she can't imagine not running regularly. "I try to run every day, even if it's just 15 minutes if my schedule is tight," Chapman says. She typically goes for a run of up to 45 minutes before morning class, taking her dog to a grassy lakefront trail. She mixes up her program to include intervals some days, faster, shorter runs on other days and occasionally slower, longer jogs. "They each offer their own benefits, and I don't want my body getting used to one thing." Sometimes she'll run later, to warm up before evening rehearsals or performances.

Does she worry about repetitive-stress injuries? "I don't really run enough to cause stress. And stretching my calves, quads, hamstrings and outside leg muscles following each run helps me avoid injury," says Chapman. "If I were to ever feel that running was too much on my body, I would ramp down. My ballet performances are my ultimate goal, and any cross-training I do has to support that goal."

Even after surgery for a metatarsal dislocation in her mid-foot in 2009, Chapman (with her doctor's approval) was running within two months--long before returning to ballet class. In fact, she feels that running helped her rehabilitation process. "The single-plane movement made it a good choice, easier to manage compared to ballet with its constant changes of direction," says Chapman. …

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