Magazine article Pointe

Jenelle Manzi

Magazine article Pointe

Jenelle Manzi

Article excerpt

Bee pollen, cacao nibs, flower buds-you might expect to find these items in a gardener's hands, not a dancer's pantry. Yet if you knew New York City Ballet corps member Jenelle Manzi, you wouldn't be surprised by this odd ingredient assortment. She's become known among her NYCB peers for her baked goods; all homemade, dairy-free and gluten-free. What began as a critical health need has blossomed into a growing passion project that includes an Instagram feed full of yummy recipes.

Though she has always had a penchant for baking, 28-year-old Manzi might not have believed she would one day be whipping up gluten-free batters. Focusing instead on ballet, she began training at her home studio at 4 years old and moved to NYCB's School of American Ballet at 11.

Manzi earned her apprentice contract at just 16 years old and joined the corps a few months later at 17. But by her second year in the company, she was on and off the stage due to two extra bones in her right ankle that had broken off and what doctors thought was a torn tendon. Mysteriously, the inflammation wasn't isolated to one ankle. "I couldn't put my rings on." she remembers. "My pointe shoes wouldn't fit. I didn't get a period. I had gastrointestinal issues."

Manzi isought the help of doctors and nutritionists' who recommended eliminating different food groups to root out the malaise's source. Gluten intolerance emerged as the clear culprit, and Manzi replaced traditional gluten-heavy foods like bread and pasta with substitutes like rice and quinoa. …

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