Megan Fairchild has been a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet since 2005. Her typical schedule includes an hour-long class and two or three hours of rehearsal per day, plus an average of four performances a week.
For Fairchild, a well-balanced diet is key to staying healthy. “It’s about not overeating, but not undereating either,” she says. “Our company is very athletic in the way we move, and you can’t get through a season without fueling your body properly.”
In addition to her NYCB routine, Farichild also practices Pilates with a private instructor twice a week. “It’s helped me stay more flexible and less injured,” she says.
Fairchild relies heavily on her leg muscles to dance en pointe, especially her calves and external rotators. “We try to work a lot from the back of the leg, rather than the front,” she notes.
When she’s not dancing, Fairchild can often be found in the pool. “It’s a meditative thing,” she says. “It’s also great for dancers because it doesn’t have any impact.”
Hot dancers prove that New York dance classes are a great way to develop core strength and muscle tone. Megan Fairchild, a principal dancer in the New York City Ballet, embodies the traditional ballerina archetype—she’s graceful, slender and strong all at once.
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How does dancing keep you fit?
It’s definitely a very disciplined thing to do; you don’t get to slack off and still succeed. Dancers develop strong calves to relevé and jump; we activate our deep external rotators under our butt to turn out; and we use our inner thighs and core muscles to stabilize.
What else does your fitness routine entail?
Lately, what I’ve been doing is yoga podcasts from a Southern California company called YogaGlo (yogaglo.com). They put all of their classes online, so you have a huge wealth of styles to chose from, and you can spend whatever amount of time you have available. Also, the biggest thing that dancers are really good about is that any way they exercise, they always stretch those muscles out. We never want to bulk up anywhere, so if we swim, we stretch our arms; if we bike, we stretch our quads and our butt; if we run, we stretch our quads, hamstrings and calves.