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The life, food and style of a professional ballerina...

posted on Thursday, 10th July 2014 | find under Nutrition
After the success of Sweaty Betty’s collaboration with the prestigious English National Ballet (ENB) this year, the team headed over to the home of ENB last Friday to chat to one of their rising stars; finding out all on her diet, training schedule and outfit picks for rehearsals.

Image Credit: Alison McWhinney in Kinder Aggugini. Photograph: John Davis. Styled by Fabio Immediato  
Based in London’s Kensington, the ENB dancers were kind enough to allow the SB designers to watch the rehearsals for Giselle and Coppélia as they gather inspiration for Spring Summer 2015. Sketching and brainstorming complete, they headed into the green room to chat to principal ballerina Alison McWhinney, to find out how long she’s been dancing, what she looks for in dance kit and what she eats to fuel her rehearsals.
Meet Allison…
“I started dancing when I was aged four in Australia, doing ballet classes after school,” explains Alison. “Then from the age of 13 to 15, I danced full-time during the day and did distance education in the evening. I came to England when I was 16 to audition for ballet school, and was offered an English National Ballet School scholarship. After a year, I was invited to join this company, and I’ve been here ever since!”
Poised, elegant and incredibly strong; Alison was awarded this year’s Emerging Dancer title alongside her partner Junor Souza.
Doing six full days of ballet per week would be more than enough exercise for the average individual, but for a rising star in such a world-renowned ballet company, this is supplemented with Pilates to help strengthen the core and enhance flexibility. To “make the most of the performance,” Alison makes sure she finds time to do weights and cardio alongside her ballet, with a personalised workout schedule from the ENB trainers. Alison is also a keen swimmer, but due to busy rehearsal schedules, this is often saved for the four-week break during the summer that the dancers have off.
When asked about nutrition and what she eats to fuel such long days of rehearsals, Alison says, “I try to be as healthy as I can. My day-to-day diet does vary according to what rehearsals I have and how heavy my day is going to be, but I always start the day with breakfast; cereal or toast, a fruit smoothie and a cup of coffee.”
“After my morning class, I re-fuel with a banana or cereal bar, and then after the first set of rehearsals I will have a salad or sandwich with an apple, depending how soon after lunch I have another rehearsal and how strenuous the morning has been. Mid-afternoon, I might have an apple and some protein if I need it. When I get home after a day of training, my go-to foods are nuts, crackers and crisps. Dinner will be a healthy balance of carbs, vegetables and protein; pasta or rice with chicken or beef, plus salad.”
Alison’s key pieces for dance rehearsals are a leotard with tights and leg-warmers. While she may begin rehearsals in a jumper, by the end she will most often have removed her layers and be down to a simple vest or cami. Rehearsing for up to 22 consecutive shows at a time (over Christmas), Alison says, “Long days of rehearsals mean we are sweating a lot, so I need my kit to breathe, and be able to go for as long as possible.”
Amo El Ballet
By Brenda Patricia - 13th July 2014
Soy una apasionada del Ballet
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