A day in the life of a dancer

A day in the life of a dancer

Charlotte Tooth is a 27 year old professional dancer and personal trainer, currently performing in Love Never Dies at the Opera House in Hamburg. She teaches classes at barrecore (Kings Road) and GymClass (Notting Hill) and is an ambassador for Sweaty Betty in between performances.  Here, Charlotte shares a day in her life:

My day in a nutshell

  • 8am Wake up and eat a small snack.
  • 8.30am Aerobic workout.
  • 9.30am Conditioning workout.
  • 10.30am Breakfast.
  • 11.30am Study German, email, social media update and vocal warm up.
  • 12.30pm Lunch.
  • 1pm Rehearsals at the Opera House.
  • 5pm Evening meal.
  • 5.30pm Warm up (Vocal and physical).
  • 6.30pm Make up and hair.
  • 7pm Microphone check and costume on.
  • 7.20pm In position ready for the start of the show!

Always start the day with something physical

My mantra has always been to start the day physically. Whether that be some gentle stretches, a gym class, ballet, pilates etc. Finding a physical form that suits your needs and makes you feel good increases your enjoyment and satisfaction from whatever you choose to do. I try to remember that every day is different and what felt good one day may not feel good the next. Listening to your body, fuelling it with good food, and remembering to vary your workouts will also help you feel motivated.

Listening to your body, fuelling it with good food, and remembering to vary your workouts will also help you feel motivated.

Every morning (usually 6 days per week) I will do some form of cardio or interval training to ensure I keep my stamina up for the shows. We perform the shows 8 times a week with the most demanding days being Saturday and Sunday where we do two shows in one day. Raising my heart rate early on in the day not only makes me feel awake but also helps me to feel more positive as I get my endorphins flowing. As a dancer, you always want to be fitter than your current show so that you can execute the show with grace and ease, giving the audience the best possible show every night! I use my personal training background to design my workouts accordingly.

Charlotte Tooth dancer leaping on steps

I follow my cardio/ interval training with some conditioning work which I vary between ballet, Pilates or an online barre core class. This helps me to constantly improve my co-ordination, keeps me feeling strong and protects my body from injury. We do some partnering in this show, so it is important to be able to hold yourself and be strong enough to support your own body weight whilst in momentum. The costumes are also heavy and during the partnering section we also wear masks, so being in control of your body is imperative!

I try to listen to music in the morning too, whether that be energetic workout music or some jazz to help to educate my listening skills! As a dancer, you have to be able to connect with music on a deep level, hearing the different instruments, melodies and dynamics will only make you a better performer. I also think music is such a great ‘feel-good’ stimulus for anyone starting their day.

Charlotte Tooth dancer stretching on black background

What I eat is super important to how I perform

I usually eat around 4-5 times per day with breakfast being the biggest meal. I often vary this between avocado, eggs, nuts and sweet potato!  I always take my supplements with my breakfast too- Bare Biology Fish Oil and Vitamin C! Making time to pre-prepare food is probably the most important thing I do to keep my energy up during my long days of intense exercise. Preparing food at home ensures it is healthy, fresh and it often means you are less likely to snack on a quick fix of junk food.

Rehearsals involve working alongside the cast, the dance captain and the director to clean the show or even change the choreography. The most important thing is to stay hydrated so I always carry a huge bottle of water around with me, as well as nuts for energy. Staying hydrated and fuelling my body keeps me alert and focused, which prevents injury in the long term.

Making time to pre-prepare food is probably the most important thing I do to keep my energy up during my long days of intense exercise.

Pre-show preparation is always about rituals for most people. I personally like to do my make-up, a physical and vocal warm up followed by getting my wig fixed on. Part of my physical warm up is also fascial release (using a foam roller), I find this helps to keep my body feeling flexible but strong during the show! I try to give myself as much time as possible to get ready because rushing is never a good feeling, especially when you are about to go onstage!

The show itself lasts around 2.5 hours. It is where all of your preparation and hard work pays off, the moment where the curtain opens and an audience is invited into your world! The job is physically demanding, mentally challenging and often exhausting, but the precious moments you have on stage make the training hours and the commitment to health and wellness totally worth it!

Charlotte Tooth dancer on balcony

Charlotte’s top tips

  • Start your day with any form of movement. Exercise is therapy!
  • Always be prepared. Ensure you get enough sleep, pre prepare food if you know you’ll be busy and stay hydrated during your long days. Preparation is key to success in any field.
  • Always warm up and cool down before and after exercise.
  • Listen to your body. Your intuition about what feels good and bad is what will keep you safe whenever you exercise.
  • Vary your workout. Variety keeps your body progressing and will keep you interested.
  • Set goals. I try to make a list each night of what I want to achieve from the next day/ week. It helps to keep me focused and ensures I’m making time for me. It’s so easy to get stuck on the rollercoaster of ‘just living’ when a simple 5 minute task every night will keep you right on track with your dreams and aspirations.
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