Magazine article Dance Magazine

Lillian DiPiazza: Juggling Her Career and College, Plus Swimming and Strength Training

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Lillian DiPiazza: Juggling Her Career and College, Plus Swimming and Strength Training

Article excerpt

Earning a college degree while dancing full-time can leave you few hours to do much else. But Pennsylvania Ballet principal Lillian DiPiazza knows how to prioritize--especially when it comes to her body.

Two years ago, she got a stress fracture in her lumbar spine. "That was a warning sign that I needed to be doing different types of exercises outside of ballet," says DiPiazza. So she started practicing a 15-minute series of core stabilizers every morning and night, and during any break in the rehearsal day. "They look like you're doing nothing, but they're actually very effective!" For example: Lying on her back with her feet flat on the floor, she lets one knee slowly fall to the side, then brings it back up without moving her center or hips.

Even when her schedule is packed, DiPiazza makes a point to visit the gym three or four times a week. "It helps to have a gym buddy," she admits. Her boyfriend-who's a doctor by day and an enthusiastic surfer in his time off-helps motivate her. If she doesn't head to the pool, they'll hit the weight room together. DiPiazza follows celebrity trainers like Kirk Myers on Instagram to find new strengthtraining exercises, then modifies the resistance to make the movement safe for her body if necessary.

This May, she graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in urban studies. "In time, I want to start putting what I learned to use," she says. "But right now I'm just looking forward to not being so busy."

"It's refreshing to use your brain in multiple ways with college courses. …

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