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Strong and Pretty feet. Essential morning routine of a dancer.

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

Christie is a Professional dancer, and Pilates Instructor who takes delicate care of her body from head to toe. Conditioning of your feet as a dancer is an essential part of your daily warm-up.

The Look: Easy effortless with movement. Sophia enhanced her haircolor with warm subtle highlights, which we mirrored in the makeup. We wanted to create something that she could easily maintain during her busy schedule.

” I wanted to create movement and dimension in her hair,

while maintaining a soft and natural look."

Weaving fine ribbons of highlights with gold and mocha tones throughout her hair, focusing on the crown to create a halo effect. To style her I prepped the hair with a volume mousse and curled the hair loosely to create a tousled look. I finished by softly brushing, twisting the hair with my hands, and spritzing with sea salt spray.”- Sophia Deininger of Sassafras Salon in Amsterdam

We asked Christie of her routine and beauty tips specifically on feet:

What are some of your morning rituals?

I begin my day circling my ankles in bed, often accompanied with a few cracks or pops, and then move to standing where I'll bend my knees to flex my ankles and stretch the bottom of my foot by putting weight over the ball and toes. My favorite and most beneficial foot routine is to roll out the bottom of my feet from the metatarsals to right before the heel with a small ball, my preference is a 'footsie' ball which is fairly hard and has small nubs, it really works to break up tightness. Then there are some toe exercises that make me laugh to see how far from my brain my feet seem to be, but the commitment to such exercises has made a difference for getting my feet, and, therefore, everything above, working well. If my day starts later, I'll maybe do a little meditation or watch short television program, but other than that, I often just clean myself up and head out, I'm fairly natural and don't wear much makeup.

How do you prepare for a day at the studio?

To begin moving, I often go to the Pilates studio where I teach, Lux Pilates in the center of The Hague. I typically train on the machines, particularly one called the Reformer. It has proven to be the most effective for me, and often a much more efficient and safe physical preparation than any dance class. I love the feedback and challenge the machines offer to connect me more to my body and function. Afterwards, depending on what style of dance I have to do, I will continue to warm up with standing movement and floor-work, either varying or merging contemporary, balletic, and improvisational approaches. I like to do my own preparation as I have learned what is best and necessary for my body, but I am beyond appreciative when a knowledgable and creative teacher comes along (whatever the style of preparation may be) so that I can dive into my body with a directed meditative like approach in which I can learn from the teacher, the exercise, and my own body.

Most butt kicking workout?

In my experience, a good HIIT class always wears me out and feels like I exerted the most physically, but then I unfortunately don't always feel energized or prepared for dancing. A good friend of mine from home in New York, is a professional dancer and physical trainer who teaches a full body Barre class (Christine Sawyer at The Ballet Spot) that truly kicks my butt in a way that feels worth it for both function and aesthetic, I love the mix of knowledge. In the end, I've noticed that a well-structured Pilates class that is both therapeutic and strength building impresses me with both my own growth and that of my clients from all different backgrounds.

Personally my favorite workout is often a great dance piece that is physically challenging and takes you on a journey, there's no high like putting in that kind of effort and being so present in the experience. I plan to continue to develop ways to translate this for clients of pilates, dance, reiki and in any form of creativity.

Let's talk about dancers and feet: The good the bad and the ugly.

Where to begin? Out feet are our foundation and their strength and intelligence is vitally important for the variety of ways we use them, but dancer's feet do go through a lot. Of course there are the tales of the ballet dancer with bloody feet and toenails falling off, which for me was actually true at one point when I was hardcore and didn't use any cushioning in my shoes. Ballet dancers work with pointe shoes, and the shoes have come a long way in their development, as well as the padding worn inside, so our feet maintain a much better physical appearance.

Yet, physically, we endure some wear and tear. Personally, I have broken both a toe and metatarsal live on stage in a performance when I slipped through my partners grip, and another metatarsal after being tossed in a rehearsal to land from a height for which the human body is not designed. I continued to perform in pointe shoes directly after the first injury, not quite allowing for healing and creating some chronic problems, while the second injury was more severe and did not even allow for walking, it is very clear to me why to take care of our feet, and bodies as a whole as they are our only instrument.

What is your favorite Pedicure ? Color? Foot care indulgence?

I love a grey matte color simple pedicure. As I often dance barefoot, the calluses, or thickened areas of skin, are actually quite important and take time to build up so I never have them removed. Some dancers will need to thin out the built up skin in order to not split it open..appetizing, huh? I am also picky about the knowledge of those who massage my feet, so I sometimes will opt out of that type of pampering and leave it to my physical or massage therapist. It may seem like a funny foot pleasure, but while I do hate an ice bath or ice 'massage' for my feet, I love the benefits. Most medication taken orally can not reach our feet, and while I'm not a fan of medication to begin with, there is little that compares to the relief of reducing inflammation in over worked feet than ice. As for foot care indulgence, I truly love a great pair of comfortable but cute sneakers, and I am thinking about getting a nice memory foam mat for my kitchen or memory foam slippers for inside the house!

What is your favorite power breakfast?

I start with some coffee and a simple protein based breakfast of chia pudding, smoothie, a bar, or eggs if I have a slower start. I often add Spirulina, Maca, or Acai powders, and sometimes a bit of bee pollen to chia puddings or a smoothie. When I have time to indulge in eggs, I love a sunny-side up egg cooked over caramelized onions and mushrooms, laid on top gluten free toast with an avocado spread and all topped with tomatoes..I'm getting hungry.

You are a Freelance Artist|Teacher|Pilates|Reiki tell us more about this

As a self-employed freelance artist, I technically own my own business, so I am managing my schedule, the varying income, and communicating with a lot of people. I always found being a dancer in a company quite easy in terms of responsibility, you often look after yourself and your body, which I do think can be wonderful for the focus and energy required for being an artist. After 14 years in companies, I looked forward to taking on more myself, as well as being more than just a dancer. I have loved to facilitate a space for individuals to come and take care of themselves in an enjoyable and curious way, be it dance lessons or Pilates. I have been studying about the body in the physical, mental, and emotional planes, which I find intriguing and I'm grateful to be a guide in the structuring of classes, as well as facilitating energetic healing through Reiki treatment. All of this serves my artistic side and keeps it balanced. At times, the schedule juggling is complicated as I have found myself with 7 different projects in one month (switching between teaching pilates, teaching dance at 3 institutions, performing as a dancer, choreographing, and directing small film projects) and having to coordinate with various people, but fortunately I have always had a bit of knack for management and organization. Then there are other months that come with very little work, I am discovering the balance between periods of extreme non-stop, and others of more intense rest. I truly enjoy the variety of work, and even the unpredictability that the freelance life offers. I was seeking the chance to have space to take on my own projects, to teach and continue to study, and bring to life my own visions and creativity; I am grateful that I am finding a way to make it all work.

How to get strong and beautiful feet like a ballerina even if you have two left feet.

Professional Dancer and Pilates guru Christie shows us her daily foot warm up routine.

follow Christie at the links below

NDT 1 Nederlands Dance Theater

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