5 Habits of Highly Creative Dancers

Jessica MCann leaping on beach

Between work, workouts and social calendars, people from all walks of life seem busier than ever. For PBT dancers, for example, a typical work week means 40+ hours of dancing, plus the cross training, stretching, icing, therapy sessions, and pointe shoe prepping that come on the side. But for artists – and for anyone – feeding the soul is just as important as conditioning the body. If you’re vowing to tap into your creative side in 2017, you might learn a thing of two from these daily dancer habits. Here’s how five of our company dancers carve out time to slow down, recenter and nurture their creative sides.

Julia Erickson, principal dancer

Julia Erickson

“I’m such a music junkie. I’m always trolling Spotify for new songs…I love discovering new music and listening to music that inspires me and gets me going. It really does fuel my creativity. I usually create a list in the morning and cue some songs up. I also meditate first thing in the morning. Even if it’s just a little bit, it’s nice and centering and I journal my thoughts after that. It’s not a journal recording the facts of what happened that day. It’s more like my intentions for the day. It helps me get into a positive headspace.”

Alexandra Kochis, principal dancer
Alexandra Kochis


“One daily habit that I have tried to implement in my own life and one that I feel really helps to refresh me and stimulate my creativity is the simple practice of being mindful and observant in all my daily activities. Whether it be making note in my journal of an especially beautiful scene passing by my car window on a highway drive or taking the time to prepare dinner with my husband and take in the deliciously fresh scents and vibrant colors of the chopped herbs and veggies. Taking a few moments to step back and appreciate the beauty in the every day is like a hundred little mini vacations every single day.”

Luca Sbrizzi, principal dancer
Luca Sbrizzi

“I often start my day with a short meditation session (15 minutes or so). This helps me reduce stress/anxiety and just clear my head. I’m definitely an over-thinker and giving myself some time at the beginning of the day to just center and ground myself really helps me. Then I often take my dog Joon for a walk. And the walk is almost an extension of the meditation. My neighborhood is very quiet, so during the walk I really let myself pay attention to the details of my surroundings. I appreciate little things like the crunch of snow under my feet or the wind rustling the tree branches. Also, a passion of mine is photography, so during the walk I often look for interesting shots to capture. I find that a centering morning routine is the foundation to a successful day. When I feel calm and grounded that’s when I can do my job to the best of my abilities.”

JoAnna Schmidt, Corps de Ballet dancer
JoAnna Schmidt

“I have discovered that spending time outdoors on a regular basis is so beneficial. It’s harder during winter, especially being from Florida, but having a dog who needs to run forces me to do it. You can always find something inspiring within nature and simply taking a walk in the woods can really stimulate the mind. It refreshes me and helps me think positively to observe the natural beauty of our world. Being in nature reminds me to be curious, to really open my eyes and appreciate the details.”

Cooper Verona, Corps de Ballet dancer and choreographer
Cooper Verona

“I read a Pablo Picasso quote in one of Twyla Tharp’s books. It was something like, inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.  This seems pretty obvious but it’s a nice reminder that every time you go to create art, it will not be a masterpiece.  And working through that is just part of the process.  So when I’m choreographing, I try to force myself to work through ‘choreographer’s block’ and just keep creating.  So, I guess I spark my creativity by practicing my creativity, even when I’m not feeling creative. On the opposite side, I really love walking in the woods.  The fresh air revitalizes me and makes me feel mentally rested. Then I can practice some more!”