Magazine article Dance Magazine

Fuel the Fire: Four Performers Share the Pre-Show Meals That Set Them Up for Success

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Fuel the Fire: Four Performers Share the Pre-Show Meals That Set Them Up for Success

Article excerpt

What should you eat before a performance? It can be challenging to find foods that give you the right amount of energy without weighing you down. But what's perfect for one person won't necessarily work for another. Every dancer has to experiment to find their own ideal pre-performance menu.

Lauren Grant

dancer, Mark Morris Dance Group

Start strong: "I always start a show day with a great breakfast. I love steel-cut oats because they provide sustained energy. The night before, I'll boil the oats, then turn the heat off and let everything steep overnight. In the morning, I'll reheat them and add coconut oil, bananas, cinnamon and high-quality cultured butter or grass-fed whole milk."

Throughout the day: "After breakfast, I stick to smaller meals: a few unsalted pistachios or a little whole-milk yogurt for bursts of protein."

Advice: "Once when I was 16, before dancing Aurora in Sleeping Beauty, I only ate a bowl of Raisin Bran and lost steam by the end of the Rose Adagio. But there were also times early in my professional career when I ate too much--you don't want your body trying to digest onstage. Smaller, calculated, nourishing meals throughout the day are better."

Mathilde Froustey

principal dancer, San Francisco Ballet

Pre-show meal and snacks: "If the ballet starts at 8 pm, I'll eat a meal that includes bread or cereal around 4 pm. After that, I'll keep my blood sugar up using something I discovered when I ran half-marathons: GU Energy Gel. It has minerals, vitamins, a little caffeine and some sugar. I also have drinks with electrolytes to avoid cramps or getting dizzy or tired."

Post-show dinner: "When I've had a good performance, I like to celebrate after with a nice salad, cheese and red wine."

Feeding the soul: "I always have a little dark chocolate before a show."

Advice: "It can be taboo in ballet to talk about food. …

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