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Dancing Through Life

Welcome to the first post I ever did for my Spotlight Saturday series, where I share advice and experiences from people with a unique perspective on health!

I’m honored to feature the incredibly talented Maddie Pineda, who is studying to be a professional dancer and choreographer! She has performed for multiple dance companies and will enter her third year of her BFA in Dance at Juilliard this fall. She was chosen for the prestigious Joffrey Elite, a TV series showing rehearsals and competitions (watch it on YouTube!). She was invited to the renowned Jacob's Pillow Dance festival last summer, and this summer she is attending The Nederlands Dans Theatre (NDT) Summer intensive in “Den Haag” or The Hague, then will go to Arts Umbrella Summer intensive in Vancouver! She was also recently cast as a dancer in the upcoming movie of “In The Heights”, which is so cool!!

Isn't she the coolest?!

Here’s her story:


“I’ve been dancing since age 3. I tried other sports, but dance won my heart. I loved music and couldn't keep still when I heard it. That's how I knew dance was my passion.

Since I started dancing, I’ve moved to a few different states. Each time I moved, the dance studio was where I felt at home and accepted. It’s hard to be the new girl, but if your passion becomes your comfort zone, you feel safe.

Joffrey Elite was very challenging. I had rehearsals late at night after dancing early in the day, and was pushed to be my best and be a supportive team member. It taught me a lot about myself as a dancer and choreographer.

One of my tips for flexibility is to stretch not only before dancing, but after and when you aren't going to dance. I do yoga on weekends and breaks as it’s great for the body and mind. Not only does yoga stretch and strengthen, it lets you relax all the stress you hold as a busy dancer and student.

Some of my favorite healthy foods are smoothie bowls. I love ice cream but it's not always a great choice if I want to have energy as an athlete. Smoothie bowls and ‘healthy ice cream’ are great alternatives!

I train in many styles other than ballet - modern, contemporary, jazz, musical theatre, ballroom, and even tap! It’s important to be diverse and multi-faceted to be a successful dancer.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from dance is not to compare ourselves to others. We live in a world where we can see how others are doing by the touch of a button. It's so easy to compare their success or abilities to our own. Being competitive is good but it should be focused on our own growth. We shouldn't base our success off of others, we should base it off of our hard work and determination that has gotten us to our current position.”

If you want to see more of Maddie, check out her Instagram food account, and this post of our fun day when she visited me in Boston!

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