A Day in the Life of Company Dancer Alison Remmers
As our 2017 – 2018 season enters its final week, we spoke with Alison Remmers about what a day in her life looks like as a professional ballerina with Ballet Arizona!
Alison Remmers as the Fairy of the Crystal Fountain in “The Sleeping Beauty.” Choreography by Ib Andersen. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.
We have fifteen shows total at Desert Botanical Garden, so each day we have a show my day will look something like this:
I usually sleep in and wake up around 8:30 am. I eat a substantial breakfast – it is very important to wake up my body and brain. I also love coffee and try to stick to one cup each morning.
Throughout the week, I do different forms of cross training, such as personal training, gyro-tonics, pool training and other forms of exercise. Today, I spent my afternoon training with former Ballet Arizona dancer and certified trainer Chelsea Teel. She is great because I tell her what I feel while I dance and what I want to work on, and she will create a specific program each day to challenge those areas.
Alison Remmers training with certified trainer Chelsea Teel.
After cross training, I like to have a protein smoothie with banana, kale, peanut butter, oats, dates, almond milk, maca powder and protein powder. This helps give me another boost before the show. Then I’ll either take a nap or do something to wind down and prepare for the show.
With Desert Botanical shows I like to do my hair and makeup at home since we do not have as much space as we do at Symphony Hall. Then I carpool to the Gardens with other dancers for class on stage at 6:30 pm. The performance begins right after sundown and usually runs until about 9:30 pm.
Once the show is over I drive home and have dinner. I usually like to have protein, veggies, and some sort of starch. I am a big foodie, so I always mix it up each night. After my body is nourished I take a shower then ice my feet, as I catch up on a recent show and then hit the hay.
Alison Remmers in Company Class at Ballet Arizona.
What prompted your pursuit of ballet as a career?
I was always drawn to ballet – ever since I could walk. It wasn’t until I was twelve when I saw American Ballet Theatre perform Romeo & Juliet, that I was drawn to tears. In that moment I knew I wanted to do that someday.
How do you look after your body during show weeks?
During show weeks it is crucial to keep my body healthy. The biggest thing is to drink a lot of water, especially when we are performing outside. The second is to replenish my body with a substantial dinner. My body is so awake after performing and the muscles need to be nourished for me to prepare for the next day. Last but not least is to do an ice bath each night. My toes and ankles will thank me in the morning if I routinely do this during show weeks.
How is performing at Desert Botanical Garden different than shows at Symphony Hall or Orpheum Theatre?
The biggest and most obvious difference is that it is outside. With that comes wind, temperatures, bugs, and other factors that can add to the difficulties of performing outside. It can also be so much fun to feel the wind as we float across the stage, see the stars above us, and the beautiful garden that surrounds. The garden is also a very intimate setting with the audience, which is very unique to this show and such a pleasure to experience as a dancer.
Alison Remmers and Eric Hipolito Jr. as White Cat and Puss ‘n Boots in “The Sleeping Beauty.” Choreography by Ib Andersen. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.
Have you had any injuries? If so, how has that changed your approach to dancing?
I have had quite a recent injury. Two weeks prior to the All Balanchine performance I landed a jump funny and sprained my ankle. I have never sprained my ankle before, but I’ve seen others, so I knew I had to work hard to get performance ready. The wonderful therapists at Foothills saw me the day it happened and started the rehab that night. It has changed my approach with how I currently work because it is something I will be feeling until the season ends. But luckily as the summer approaches so will rest, and that will be my time to get back to where I need to be for next season.
Who is your favorite choreographer?
George Balanchine has always been my favorite choreographer. I know it is a bit cliché to say, but the way he plays with movement, music, and emotion is something that speaks to me and resonates in all of his works.
Any advice for aspiring dancers?
Every time you feel down and defeated, that is your time to rise and push. In those moments you have the chance to grow even more than you could have ever expected. Know that you have something special to say and give to this art form. When you realize this you can become unstoppable.
Lastly, what do you do outside of dance?
Outside of dance I love to spend time with my friends and family. My family lives on the coast of Maine, with a completely different scenery so it’s fun to visit them. I also love to cook, bake, sew and paint in my free time.
Alison Remmers and Alejandro Mendez as Summer Fairy and Her Cavalier in “Cinderella.” Choreography by Ib Andersen. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev.