Dancer well-being is top priority at NDA
16th January 2019
At NDA, dancing is our passion. However, our top priority is the physical, mental and emotional well-being of our dancers. We value them as part of our dance family, and we want them to enjoy all aspects of life. We encourage them to have fun and be well rounded in their other interests, and we promote healthy lifestyle choices, as well as spending quality time with family and friends.
Our holistic approach to dance training is what gives us an advantage in the industry, and allows us to regularly produce dancers of the highest calibre, who are ready for the professional world. NDA is an inspiring and safe place for students, and we actively encourage them to follow wholesome regimes in regards to food, exercise and their passions.
The dancing industry, and ballet in particular, is known for expectations of beauty, poise and perfection. This pursuit of perfection often drives promising performers to the edge of their sanity, and in to a dangerous world of eating disorders and bulimia. A UK study found that teenage dancers are more likely to develop an eating disorder than their non-dancing counterparts, and they are more at risk if they are not at the right studio. This is a worrying statistic, not just because of the health dangers, but because a dancer’s weight typically has little impact on their talent and dedication to the craft.
At NDA, we want our dancers to succeed. If they dream of professional careers and performance, we are behind them 100% - however, we do not support the notion that dancers need to be dangerously skinny. In fact, we know that dancers need considerable energy in order to sustain their training and performance, and energy comes from eating great food including protein, sugars, carbohydrates and fats. We believe in balance and moderation, and we counsel our dancers to make healthy nutritional choices. Dancing is an extremely physical sport requiring a high level of fitness and energy.
We want our athletes to be physically prepared for this by ensuring they eat sufficient carbs, protein and sugars, and consume adequate water for hydration. So, what are the recommended dietary requirements for dancers?
- Carbohydrates – the major source of energy for the human body. Muscles rely heavily on carbs during intense training. A dancer’s diet should be around 55-60% carbohydrates. The best choices are complex carbohydrates including; cereal, bread, pasta and rice.
- Protein – required for rebuilding the breakdown of muscle fibres caused during exercise and repetitive movement. Protein also helps you to synthesise all the enzymes required for a healthy metabolism. A dancer’s diet should be approximately 12-15% protein. Meat is an excellent source of protein, with white meats the healthier option. For vegetarians, tofu is a great choice.
- Fat – Needed for absorption of fat-soluble vitamins, a rich source of fuel for muscles and known to provide structure for cell membranes. A dancer’s diet should consist of 20-30% fat intake. Having insufficient fat intake can actually be detrimental to a dancer’s performance ability. While we should try to consume a minimum of saturated fats, there are healthier options such as; avocadoes, cheese, eggs and dark chocolate.
Eating a balanced diet is an essential part of life. Eating disorders can lead to long term, and sometimes even fatal consequences. If you suspect a friend or family member is struggling in this area, whether they are a dancer or not- they need your love and support. Encourage them to visit with their doctor as soon as possible.
Newcastle Dance Academy supports healthy lifestyle choices for all dancers. There is no pressure on our students in regards to weight expectations, and our focus is on individual’s talent, dedication and passion for dance. Safety comes first in all aspects of training, from proper stretching and injury prevention procedures and sprung flooring, to healthy eating and adequate fluid intake. Our dancers are beautiful just the way they are, and they succeed because they work hard. If you have any questions about the classes and programs at NDA, or you would like to entrust your young dancer to a studio that puts dancer well-being above all else, please give us a call on 49616233.