This week FITtopia had the pleasure of interviewing 26 year old ballerina Lucy Green who dances under QB's artistic director Li Cunxin (anyone remember Mao’s Last Dancer? That was him!)
Born in Sydney and now based in Brisbane, the 26-year-old has performed many principal and lead roles during her time with the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) including Cinderella, Giselle and Swan Lake. The New Zealand Herald declared, ‘every inch of her a stunning new star on the rise’. Lucy recently joined Queensland Ballet in a dream position as a Soloist and her years of hard work has now paid off with an ambassador role with Sealy.
Ballet is a youth-worshipping world filled with a lot of pressure and pain. Being a professional ballet dancer is an incredibly demanding career - physically, mentally and emotionally - but ballerinas face different challenges to those of other sport and fitness professionals.
Here are some of her top tips for achieving peak performance.
Get enough sleep
Ballet is a very specialised art form that combines the ability to tell a story and move an audience emotionally with the physical strength, flexibility and endurance that define an elite athlete. To keep my body in that peak physical condition and recover well from our long days, rest is of the utmost importance. Getting enough down time and quality sleep on a mattress that supports back health and good posture like Sealy makes a huge difference to my recovery time and energy levels.
Fuelling my body correctly is obviously another important aspect for maintaining peak performance levels. There’s still a bit of a stigma around what dancers do or don’t eat but I can assure you that we need plenty of calories for what we do. Having a good balance of complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats is so important. I especially notice the difference if I don’t have enough protein at the end of the day. I find that the next day my muscles won’t have recovered nearly as well.
Meditation is something I once was extremely skeptical about but I’ve recently come to realise and appreciate how much my mental state impacts me physically. If I give myself 15 minutes every day to mediate or simply just focusing on my breathing I notice I have more energy throughout the day, sleep better and can do more with my body.
Dancers Don’t Just Dance
To supplement our work in the studio a lot of dancers do some form of strength and cardio training. When I have a lighter work load I love to go for runs by the river near my apartment. The cardio benefits are great but I also find it helps to clear my mind and improves my focus throughout the day. It’s important not to overdo it though, generally our days are filled with so much physical exertion that no more is needed.
Want to have a go at ballet? Why not try out the Sydney Dance Company who run beginner adult classes.