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advice to my younger self

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

As a professional ballet dancer, I know firsthand the dedication, discipline, and sacrifice that it takes to achieve one's dreams. Looking back on my younger self, I see the same passion and determination that drove me to pursue my journey forward. However, there are some things that I wish I could tell my younger self to make my journey a little easier. In this blog post, I'll share some of the advice that I would give to Mel - a headstrong young-20-something-year-old.

Hey, Mel. Congratulations on your first performance as a professional ballet dancer. You're doing a great job curating your dream career, but I'm concerned about your health. While it's important to work hard to pursue your dream passions, you need to take care of yourself too. I know it's tough to get enough sleep with your work and commute schedule, but you need to prioritize rest. This habit you have of undereating before a show won't make you look better, it will actually hurt your stamina and increase your risk of injury. When it comes to nutrition, it may sound scary, but you must fuel your body properly. As a dancer, you need to balance the big three, eat the rainbow, hydrate, and love the foods you eat to support your energy levels, muscle growth, and overall health. Make peace with food. I promise it’ll help your longevity as a dancer.

Social media can be a double-edged sword, especially for performers. While it's great to have a platform to showcase your talent, you’re putting a lot of pressure on yourself to look a certain way. Don't let this pressure shrink you, both physically and mentally. You are meant to perform and take up space. Embrace your strength and your power, both on- and off-stage. Use this to find your inner voice, as well. This will help you navigate challenges, setbacks, and uncertainties. Don't be afraid to speak up for yourself and ask for what you need. Whether it's taking a break to rest or snack, getting feedback from your director, or exploring new opportunities, trust your instincts and advocate for yourself.

Finally, remember that life is a continual learning process. I know you’re impatient but it’s true that you don't have to have everything figured out right now. Making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn - you’re a visual and learn-by-doing learner anyway. Embrace the journey and enjoy the process. You'll be amazed at where your dedication and hard work will take you in just a few years.

And there you have it. In my professional dance career, I've learned that pursuing dreams requires both passion and practicality. While it's important to work hard and strive for excellence, it's equally important to take care of yourself, find your inner strength, and embrace the journey. By fueling your body with the right food + nutrition habits, you can eMpower your performance and overall health as a dancer. I hope this advice to my younger self can help you, dancers + performers, navigate your journey with grace and resilience.

All are images of a baby professional ballet dancer who was incredibly focused and obsessed with what she was and wasn't eating on a daily basis.

Interested in what nutrition support can look like for you? Schedule your free strategy session today and let's take the first step together.

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I'm a Nutrition Educator & Wellness Coach based in and serving Washington, DC and the DMV region. My lifestyle-focused method has successfully helped clients achieve personal results and enhance athletic ability, eMpowering performance in class, rehearsals, and on-stage. As professional dancer myself, I have gained nutritional balance and improved my own relationship with food through many years of practice and a Masters of Science in Nutrition from University of Bridgeport. I bring this depth of personal and academic experience to a variety of clients, particularly performance athletes and fitness enthusiasts. In my spare time, I teach yoga and manage Ballet Embody, a professional contemporary ballet company.
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