After dancer Jordan Pelliteri moved from Phoenix to Vancouver in August 2016 to begin a new phase in her dance life, she resolved to also improve her approach to maintaining a healthy diet and good nutrition.
For years Jordan was immersed in the world of competition dancing, successfully performing at conventions and competitions. Then she shifted her focus to contemporary dance by joining the Arts Umbrella Dance Company (AUDC) and enrolling in the two-year Vancouver Community College and Arts Umbrella Dance Diploma Program. Early in the school year, Artemis Gordon, Artistic Director of Arts Umbrella Dance, began talking to the dancers about the importance of eating healthy. She also arranged for a nutritionist to come to the dance studio to talk to the dancers.
The talks made an impact on Jordan. “I’m trying to have more of a wide variety of things – a balance of local and fresh fruit, vegetables, meat, and food with carbs, says Jordan. “Before I would just kind of grab anything that was on the way. I think I take a lot more care into preparing my meals for the week and at the end of the night. I’m really planning and preparing what’s going to fuel me for the next day.”
The dancers in AUDC, which has a strong international reputation for its creative quality, are essentially high-performance athletes who need nutritional fuel for their long rehearsals and demanding performances. “Dance isn’t classified as a sport so people don’t really look at us as being athletes,” says the 20-year-old dancer. “But we definitely are, considering how much rigour we put ourselves through, physically and mentally.” Jordan has made more of a conscious effort to ensure she gets that fuel in healthy meals and snacks.
Like athletes getting ready for the playoffs, Jordan and her fellow dancers are preparing for the most important events in the dance year: Season Finale, performances May 25-27 at the Vancouver Playhouse; and a two-and-a-half-week tour in June and July to the Netherlands, where the company will perform at festivals. “At this point in the year we’re running a lot of our pieces back-to-back to be ready for Season Finale. Because we’re doing so much more work physically than we have all year, it’s even more important to have this kind of balanced diet and to be stable in it. It really makes a difference.”
Does Jordan have any advice for other dancers/athletes who are planning their approach to diet and nutrition? “Establishing something that works for you is very important because not everybody can follow the same thing. It’s important to figure that out for yourself, especially if you’re performing or doing an intense sport like this. It’s probably the most important thing, because you need to eat well in order to execute what you want to execute.”
To learn how you can support AUDC through your Spud orders, check out this AUDC parent blog post on the fundraising initiative. To donate directly to the fundraising drive for the European tour, go to the online donation page.
For tickets to Season Finale, go to the online ticket sales page.
To learn more about Spud Fundraising, which has helped AUDC raise hundreds of dollars a month toward their international tour, check out Spud.ca/community.
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