This week’s wellness diary comes from Jamie Kopit, a 26-year-old professional ballet dancer at Nashville Ballet. She moved to Nashville in 2018 and is in her second season with the company. Here is a look at her weekly wellness diary.
A Week in the Life of a Ballerina
Today I started my day with a plant-based protein shake with banana, spirulina, and almond milk before heading to Nashville Ballet’s studios for rehearsal. We are preparing for our performance of Romeo & Juliet with the Nashville Symphony. This is my first time dancing this particular ballet, so I need to stay extra focused in order to learn all the choreography. I try to be mindful and stay in the present in order to retain the information as efficiently as possible, without getting overwhelmed!
For my lunch break, I came home to let my Australian shepherd, Luna, out to play. I watched her run with complete abandon, and it reminded me how lucky I am to move my body for a living. Even though ballet is a structured, aesthetic, and technical art form, it is still dance — expressive, freeing and satisfying. Luna’s energy and joyfulness motivated me for the rest of the day’s rehearsals. After, I came home to a big bowl of my homemade lentil and spinach soup. I threw all the ingredients in my slow cooker in the morning so it was ready to eat by dinner time.
At the end of a strenuous day, I took a long Epsom salt bath with lavender and tea tree oil. It’s important to take the time to help my body heal, whether it is taking a long bath, rolling out, stretching, or getting a massage. Not only do I feel better, but I perform better! It also helps me stay at my strongest for longer.
Today was a long day of non-stop dancing, so I focused on keeping myself fueled and hydrated. Breakfast was a large bowl of oatmeal, a banana, and coffee. On my five-minute breaks, I snacked on almonds and dark chocolate and drank electrolyte drinks. For lunch, I made avocado toast and more coffee, and for dinner I had tofu, veggies, brown rice, and more avocado (I eat a lot of avocado!). Planning meals ahead of time is important when I have to keep my energy up all day!
Today was a half-day at the studios, so I gave myself a pool day after work! It felt amazing to catch some Vitamin D. It made me feel replenished and ready to spend the next week indoors at the TPAC. As the performance gets closer, I am getting more and more excited to dance to this powerful score.
This morning I taught the GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® at Well Body Pilates in West Nashville. Gyrotonic is a holistic approach to movement that increases spinal and joint mobility, lengthens and strengthens the muscles, and awakens the nervous system. I began practicing when I was 15 years old, after my mom found out it could help me with my scoliosis. Gyrotonics can benefit people of all ages and abilities — I love watching my clients discover what their bodies are capable of! After teaching, I give myself an hour to practice on my own. This lets me work out all the imbalances in my body from rehearsing all week.
Sundays are great for doing housework and pushing the “reset button.” After laundry and grocery shopping, I prepare my pointe shoes for the coming week of shows. When we get our shoes, they have no elastic or ribbons on them, so we as dancers sew them on to fit our specific needs. After, I paint them the color of my skin with liquid foundation, since I will be performing without pink tights. This gives my legs and feet a streamlined look. Once that is all done, it’s Netflix and chill with my fiancé!
Jamie Kopit is a dancer with Nashville Ballet. Check out the coming season’s shows at nashvilleballet.com. All photos provided by Nashville Ballet.
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