{ How To Get A Ballerina Body }

Arch Contemporary Ballet Michelle amor Sheena Annalise

You know what can give you killer legs? Ballet.

Ballet is my far my favorite dance to watch. Everything about it is so beautiful — the talent, choreography, music, costumes, grace, poise, gorgeous dancers, pointe shoes…everything. My list can go on and on and on.

I did ballet for more than half my life and during those times, my legs were at their prime. I’m being super serious. They were extra lengthy, lean muscled, toned, STRONG and just freaken killer.

Ballet takes a whole lot of talent, passion, hard work, and determination. Oh, and stretching.

{ Arch Contemporary Ballet is a rising young company dedicated to choreographic innovation and the collaboration between dance and music. They are currently in the process of creating new work with the Voxare String Quartet and composer Concetta Abbate, for their fall season performance on November 7th — get tickets here. Help to bring this new work to the stage by donating on Arch Contemporary Ballet’s Indiegogo campaign. }

Want to get a glimpse inside a professional ballerina’s life? My friend Sheena, Artistic Director and Founder of Artistic Contemporary Ballet (ACB), along with her two dancers Michelle Amor and Adrienne Riter, share their daily routines, expert fitness tips, and insight on how to get a ballerina body.

arch contemporary ballet sheena annalise 2

Sheena Annalise, Artistic Director of Arch Contemporary Ballet

I always roll out of bed in the morning and begin stretching in my PJs. It helps me wake up and get motivated to start my day off on the right foot! I firmly believe, people who start first will finish first! And it all starts with your morning routine. My stretch routine includes the basics: touching my toes, lunges, neck rolls, bicep stretches, and working on my splits.

I’m usually running out the door to rehearsal, so I pre-make my breakfast on the weekends for the week. I change it up week to week, either fat free greek yogurt with blueberries or avocado and hard boiled egg whites on whole wheat toast.

8:30am – 2:00pm
Warm up class, rehearsal, and repeat. Keeping hydrated and strong throughout the day is tough! I rely on all natural peanut better on a banana to keep my energy up and plenty of water! When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll grab a coconut water! With our world premiere coming up on November 7th, it’s important to keep healthy! Even when you’re stressed out it’s better to eat 3 small meals throughout the day so your body can process it than binge eat one big meal when you get home.

Lunch includes a kale salad and cranberries! When I need something heartier I go for grilled chicken breast and steamed broccoli.

3:00pm – 7:00pm
As an artistic director, I handle a lot of administrative work so off to my home office I go! To keep myself sane during office hours I tend to give myself 5 minutes every few hours to flex and point my feet at my work desk! Sometimes I end up working until 11:00 pm at night during the performance season when we’re raising money for a new production like Château, so it keeps my energy flowing and blood circulating. I always keep a stash of nuts in my desk too, when I get the munchies I keep it healthy and energizing!

8:00 pm
Dinner is always so fun! I used to hate cooking but now that I eat clean it’s fun to look up recipes on Pinterest and make something delicious and healthy! After dinner I like to keep active while relaxing. While watching TV I’ll stretch during an episode, or I’ll do a fun remix cardio workout. I like to mix slow and fast cardio, during the episode I’ll do slow jumping jacks and pushups and during the commercials I’ll do quick intervals of push ups, abs, and up and downs! Keeps me entertained while working out and keeps my mind off the burn!

I always try to get to bed early. My bed time regiment includes turning off all my electronics and focusing on my breathing to help me get to sleep!

Michelle Arch Contemporary Ballet Chateau Sheena Annalise

Michelle Amor, Soloist Ballerina with Arch Contemporary Ballet and College Student

On days that I have a long morning rehearsal, I’m usually awake by 8:00am at the latest. I start my day with a cup of coffee and a light breakfast, mixing a bowl of Greek yogurt with Kashi cereal, and fruit like a banana or handful of blueberries tossed in. If I’m running late I’ll put some peanut butter and honey on whole grain toast and it eat in my way out!

Warming up and stretching are crucial before rehearsal. My friends and I had a lot of fun trying to do the five-minute plank challenge a few months ago, and it’s kind of stuck. It just really warms up your whole body and gets you ready for the day. For Arch Ballet, we do a lot of unique moves in our choreography; a strong core is required to execute them well.

My morning Arch Ballet rehearsals typically run until 2:00pm. I’ll usually try to grab a sandwich or salad before I’m on my way to my college courses. I’m obsessed with Bai drinks, I’m always drinking them. They’re only 5 calories and they’re packed with antioxidants.

Twice a week my college classes go until about 7:15pm. One of my favorite easy quick dinners to prepare is an open-faced veggie burger on a piece of whole grain bread. It’s so good!

On evenings I don’t have class, I like to catch a fitness class! I personally enjoy fitness classes to working out by myself in the gym. It’s so much more fun to me to feel the energy of a group when working out together, with the support of an instructor and the music to keep you going!

From rehearsal and class and everything in between, my day’s end up being pretty busy, but I love it! Staying hydrated and fueled throughout the day keep me going. The dancer body comes from it all balancing out together and staying active!

Adrienne Riter Arch contemporary ballet

Adrienne Riter, Soloist Ballerina with Arch Contemporary Ballet and Dance Teacher

At breakfast I love the protein of peanut butter to fill me up and get some energy flowing! I commute into work, and ready my current book club book or go over Arch choreography before rehearsal.

Company Class! I hop off the train and grab a sweetened green tea lemonade from Starbucks (I’m addicted) and head to the studio! We have an hour company class which helps us all stay technically in shape while rehearsing. It also helps get the body moving and nice and warm in preparation for the more unconventional movements we use with ACB! After company class I usually have a protein bar of some sort to keep the energy flowing!

Rehearsal. Rehearsal. Rehearsal. Arch rehearsals are unique because we rehearse completely in silence and then add specifically composed music to each piece after the choreography is set. We review and clean previously learned sections as well as learn new choreography each rehearsal.

Teaching Time! Dinner during the week is hard for me because I teach through the normal dinner hour, so I usually grab a salad or sandwich to eat half of when I get to the studio at 3:30pm and half when I’m done teaching at 8:30pm. I do love to cook and eat, so during the weekends I try and cook full meals as much as possible.

After teaching I try and work up a bit more energy and go to the gym or for a run. Cross training is incredibly important, especially because I spend a lot it my time with Arch lifting and partnering! Arch prides itself on the ability for women to lift women, and that requires me to be quite strong in my upper body. I have a quick ab and push-up routine I try and do at least three times a week: I start with 100 abs of some sort (crunches, side crunches, sit ups, toe touches, etc.) and 10 push-ups, then 90 crunches and 9 push-ups, 80 and 8, etc. all the way down to 10 crunches and 1 push-ups! It ends up being 550 abs and 55 push-ups! I also really love to run, running is not the best for a dancer’s body, but it is a huge stress reliever for me, so I need it!

Relax and unwind! I try and be asleep around 10pm every night, of course it doesn’t always happen, but I feel so much better the next day when I get enough sleep.

Follow ACB on Instagam to see what they’re up to. Below are some deets on Arch Contemporary’s World Premier! If you’re in New York or nearby, I totally recommend checking out the show. 

xx Melissa


Arch Contemporary Ballet Chateau Post CardArch Contemporary Ballet Mark Morris Dance Group Concetta Abbate Chateau Voxare String Quartet Sheena Annalise


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