Health tips from a dance guru
SPORTING CHANCE - Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - June 12, 2020 - 12:00am

My dear friend Edu Jarque forwarded something that’s interesting and helpful to do in keeping in shape during this pandemic. It’s a bunch of health tips put together by Nina Anonas, a former Ballet Philippines soloist and principal dancer at the Manila Metropolitan Ballet. Additionally, Nina is the principal dancer at the Junge Ballett Compagnie, Frankfurt, featured artist at Ballett Frankfurt, Ballet Conservatoire accredited lecturer and international examiner and chair of the DLS-College of St. Benilde School of Design and Arts’ Bachelor of Performing Arts in Dance program.

While the tips are focused on dance, Edu says they’re useful even for those not involved in dance to stay fit through self-practices at home. Besides, dance is a form of exercise and a sport, too. Nina says the entire dance industry has quietly migrated to doing online classes.

Here are Nina’s tips which she says were shaped into her new reality. “1. Roll with the punches and stay positive. The mind is a powerful weapon against doomsday predictions. 2. Keep in mind that you need to keep a level of fitness so that you can get on with your tasks seamlessly. 3. Choose an online class that best fits your stamina and skill now. Going to one that is difficult and not suited to your current abilities will only frustrate you. 4. Do your grand jetes or your big leaps outside of your home, in the village park or even on the street. Jumping, leaping, running, skipping, these lift the spirit. 5. Support your fellow dancers in isolation over coffee catch-ups in zoom conferences. Talk about anything and everything.

“6.’Marie Kondo’ something. I’m sure you have a cleaning/organizing project you’ve always wanted to do but never had the time to do before. I recently ‘Marie Kondo-ed’ my home office. I felt a great sense of accomplishment as I weeded out things that did not spark joy anymore. It’s always good to edit the non-essentials out of your life. 7. I give myself a ‘barre’ daily at 6 p.m. These are exercises done holding on to a barre (a metal or wooden handrail) which is now either a chair or a table depending on the height that I require, to warm up my muscles and maintain strength, turnout and balance. This cultivates self-discipline.

“8. I do stretches and strengthening Pilates and Yoga-based exercises to supplement my ‘barre.’ I love that I use my own body weight in planks. I do at least eight to 12 repetitions of the exercises, depending on how I feel for the day. I also take two to three minute breaks between the exercises as the added summer heat can give you a migraine if you’re not careful. 9. I do a daily set of abdominal exercises, mindfully doing them in smooth, controlled movements. 10. For foot articulation, I use a Theraband so I can pointe and flex with some resistance. 11. I watch my live streamed West End or Broadway shows which are stress-relieving. 12. Practice healthy food choices. Keep off the complex sugars as they tend to depress you after consuming them. Water is your best friend.”

Nina says the pandemic signals a call to be the new architects of a changing face of the arts. “It’s the best time to be open to all kinds of inspiration, experiment with the unchartered frontier of isolated exercise routines and still being creative in the process,” she adds. Her philosophy applies to everyday life and to athletes coping to stay in condition without the benefit of training in the gym.

EDU JARQUE
Philstar
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