By Alexander Smirnov and Stephanie Heston, Kansas Ballet
‘Tis the season for families to come together in celebration of the Christmas holiday, and one tradition for many around the world (and certainly here in Topeka) is enjoying a performance of The Nutcracker! At Kansas Ballet, dancers have been preparing for several months for their opportunities to burst out onto the stage wearing their tutus, glittering costumes and pointe shoes to Tchaikovsky’s classical music.
The culmination of all that work in and out of the studio is the chance to wow their friends, family and fellow Topekans with an amazing rendition of the Christmas season classic.
To be a Nutcracker dancer requires extreme dedication and self-control – at a time when many family and friends are enjoying fatty treats and lounging around watching football. What health lessons can our Nutcracker dancers share to help everyone enjoy a more fit lifestyle during this holiday season?
Enjoy your food, but watch your portions! It’s completely fine to indulge in your grandmother’s famous pecan pie, but keep it to one piece, and really chew and savor each bite.
Whether you are spending hours at the office or at Nutcracker rehearsal, don’t keep junk food or sweets handy. It’s too easy to overindulge when treats are easily within reach. Save treats for special occasions, parties or celebrations.
Keep healthy snacks and treats with you each day such as vanilla cacao soy milk (packed with calcium and protein), date rolls covered in coconut (quick burst of energy), peppermints, and dried fruit and cinnamon roasted nuts (mix of quick energy and long-term energy).
Love to bake? No problem. Easy substitutions in baked goods are things like apple sauce (in place of oil); whole grain, teff, oat or almond flour (in place of refined white flour); and adding ground-up flax seeds, chia seeds or hemp seeds (healthy fats and protein).
At big feasts, fill half your plate with vegetables dishes and salads, then enjoy reasonable portions of the heavier items. Skip the creamy cheese sauces, heavy gravies and excess oils or butter.
Did you know a Caramel Brulée Latte has 580 calories? We know some Nutcracker dancers who love their Starbucks, but it is easy to cut back on
saturated fat by just avoiding full-fat dairy, whipped cream and sugary coffee drinks. If you drink coffee, just order regular coffee with a little soy milk or
coconut milk, and sprinkle some cinnamon on it. If you must have an occasional seasonal coffee beverage, get the small (i.e. “tall”).
When you’re on break – either during your workday or while spending hours at a dance studio – do arm, abdominal and ankle exercises to make good use of that time.
While Pilates and yoga are healthy and popular options for cross-training during this hectic time of year, think outside the box and consider trying indoor rock climbing, swimming or getting out in nature.
Meditate! Your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Take time out to breathe.
The most important thing is to stay positive during a time of year that can be hectic and stressful. Eating well, getting outside and taking some moments of meditation can be very helpful for your state-of-mind during a stressful time of year.
We wish you a blessed holiday season, and we hope to see you at The Nutcracker!
Don’t Miss This Season’s Amazing Nutcracker by Kansas Ballet and The Topeka Symphony Orchestra!
Kansas Ballet’s seventh annual production of The Nutcracker will be presented at Topeka Performing Arts Center on Saturday, December 21, at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 22, at 1:00 p.m. The company will feature professional guest artists Oscar Sanchez and Ayano Kimura from The Washington Ballet along with the student dancers of Kansas Ballet Academy. The production will again feature live musical accompaniment by Topeka Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Maestro Kyle Wiley Pickett.
SPECIAL TICKET PRICING – LIMITED TIME OFFER!
Promotional pricing is available through 12/18:
$28 General Admission
Tickets may be purchased at the TPAC box office or online through Ticketmaster.