GABRIELLA WILTZ

An Apple a Day…

Being a dancer is really a funny thing if you think about it. Ask one if they believe dance is a sport and get a firm answer. Don’t let a dancer overhear and athlete saying dance is easy! That is an argument that never ends, I would know. Sure enough we put our bodies though a lot of crazy things on a regular basis but more often than not we don’t take care of them.

This week my freshman seminar classes consisted of a lecture on nutrition for dancers and a session with the physical therapist about things we should do to stay strong. Now I won’t sit and act holier than thou–I know that I don’t take care of my body the way that I should. On some days I can physically feel my body screaming for help. My main problem is that I don’t know how to take care of myself!

“OOO Gabë, you eat unhealthy!” Okay, so what am I supposed to eat?

“OOO Gabë, you need to get stronger!” Okay, so how am I supposed to do that?

These are questions that I’ve been trying to figure out on my own for years but injury after injury and burger after burger I’ve pretty much gotten no where. Lately I’ve been thinking about the whole dancer-to-athlete comparison and I’ve noticed one major difference–athletes get a WHOLE LOT of help. In general, I think dancers that are around my age and stage of dancing are so uneducated on the body. I won’t speak for anyone else but I know that my knowledge of the body, what I put into it, and how it’s truly affected by the way I use it is very slim. What little I know about nutrition I grasp from random lectures. What little I know about the body I grasp from doctors after I’m already injured.

I want nothing more than to be healthy and last for as long as possible, but this week I’ve learned that my head is filled with tons of misconceptions. It’s going to take time and I’ll have to do it bit by bit, but slowly and surely I will educate myself and then start to change my lifestyle.

Slowly but surely.

One comment

  1. I’m 100% in the same boat. Luckily I’ve never had the misfortune of being seriously injured, but I can say that when something does come along my way, no matter how small it might be, my anxiety takes over and I things WAY out of proportion. It’s either that or I don’t treat things as enough of a big deal and they take forever to get better or they get even worse. I credit this totally to my lack of knowledge when it comes to my body.

    And you’re so right! We don’t get enough personalized help. When I eat at Kennedy for breakfast I find a whole table of football players receiving feedback and pointers over their dining choices from some personal nutritionist. Um, where’s my nutrition guardian angel?

    But not having someone to hold our hand the whole way through this learning process will make the lessons we encounter sink in only more. I’m noticing that this dance department puts a lot of responsibility onto the student’s shoulders, and although things might seem tougher, we’re becoming extremely independent and we’re learning to analyze our own bodies and when the time comes to face a major obstacle we’ll be all the more prepared to overcome it.

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