Sophomore ballerina must be ‘conscious’ of health for lead role

Heather O’Dell // Contributing Writer

Katie Garcia was 3 years old when she started dancing ballet, and the sophomore psychology major said it’s not just a hobby for her, but it’s part of her life.

“Dancing my whole life does come with sacrifices,” Katie Garcia says. “I spend most my days practicing and working on my technique in the studio. Although it’s hard to balance dance, school and a social life, I wouldn’t trade ballet for the world.”

The ballerina began and continues her ballet career at Ballet Etudes Company of South Florida, the same studio her mother, Kim Garcia, danced for. Currently, she is rehearsing for her studio’s 42nd annual production of “The Nutcracker”, where she will perform as the lead role Clara.

Because it is performance season, the ballerina practices six days a week for about four hours or more a day. With rigorous practice, a dancer must fuel their bodies properly and stay hydrated, so Katie Garcia sticks to a strict diet that gives her energy and keeps her fit.

“I prepare a lot of home cooked meals for Katie to make sure everything she is eating is organic and good for her,” Kim Garcia said. “A healthy and light pasta dish is good before her long rehearsals; carbohydrates give athletes energy.”

In addition to eating well, the dancer also works out regularly outside of ballet class. Katie Garcia does a series of core workouts at home such as pilates and yoga. This not only builds muscle, but she said it helps her with balance and flexibility.

“I am constantly improving my technique and body for the art,” the ballerina said. “With the Nutcracker right around the corner, I need to be conscious of my health so I can perform to the best of my ability. Ballet for me is truly a way of life.”

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