What Ballerinas Actually Eat, Straight From the Dancers Themselves

Faith Xue


Ballet dancers, like modern geishas or runway models, fall into the camp of ethereal beings we openly gush over for their innate sense of calm and poise. Elegant, lithe, and graceful, ballerinas have a physical prowess that makes them both mysterious and fascinating—so obviously, we want to know anything we can about their daily routines (in a totally non-creepy way, we swear).

Health junkies that we are, we’re particularly interested in learning about what ballerinas eat. Aren’t you curious to know what someone must consume to stay that lean and strong? “A common misconception is that we don’t eat, which is totally not true,” says New York City Corps ballet dancer Kristen Segin. “If anything, sometimes we have to eat more just to make it through the day. My mantra is everything in moderation.”

“Ballerinas are athletes. We need to eat well in order to feel good, maintain energy, and avoid injury,” says New York City Ballet soloist Brittany Pollack.

Both Pollack and Segin agree that proteins, vegetables, and fruits are the best foods to get through long rehearsal days. As for eating before the show, Segin doesn’t like eating on a full stomach but will have a small snack if she’s hungry, such as nuts or a protein bar. Pollack’s go-to before performing is a turkey sandwich and banana.

Do they eat like us mere mortals otherwise? Absolutely. "My favourite food is pasta," says Segin. "I always crave it after a long day," Pollack agrees and says that you can't go wrong with the classic Italian dish. 

For a detailed breakdown of the foods that get ballet dancers through shows and everyday life, we caught up with registered dietitian Joy Bauer, the official nutritionist to the New York City Ballet, and asked her exactly what foods she prescribes to her throng of prima ballerinas. If you’ve ever been curious about how a ballet dancer eats, keep scrolling to find out!

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