Rockette’s Night Routine: From Recovery to Sleep

the Rockettes is back in action, raising their feet and bringing joy to everyone who walks through the doors of Radio City Music Hall. Each dancer performs nearly 300 kicks (!) per performance and up to four performances per day — a feat achieved only through practice, preparation, and lots of adrenaline. This makes sleep both essential and somewhat elusive for the 80 dancers in the troupe.

Rockette Soultana Schiavi says: “Everybody has their own resting routine. “It’s part of the job—we love coming to work every day and sharing our tips and tricks with each other.”

Since signing up to perform in 2019, Schiavi has experimented with a variety of strategies and has developed a nightly routine that works for her throughout the season. She now relies on a four-point recovery process to help her relax and recharge at the end of each night so she can get back on stage in top shape to do it all over again the next day.

1. She ices, stretches, and massages her muscles

Schiavi feels passionate about his routine to cool down after a show. “It’s essential to keeping your body healthy,” she says. Does she go to? Take an ice bath in the icy whirlpools inside the athletic training facility at Radio City Music Hall. “I like to do at least 10 minutes of cold compresses from the waist down at the end of the day,” she says.

Once home, Schiavi rolls her sore muscles on a foam roller while watching TV, then wears the YogaToes toe separator. “We have nine different numbers, which means we wear nine different shoes, most of which have heels between two and three inches,” she said. “YogaToes helps stretch the muscles in my ankles.”

Check out Radio City’s athletic training facility (including whirlpools!)—and Rockettes’ training regimen:

2. Taking care of her skin and hair is about taking care of herself

In an effort to get her mind off the show, Schiavi makes time for therapeutic hygiene practices. “I use a Milk Makeup remover to remove my show makeup,” she says. “We wear Rocket Red lipstick that is hard to remove and I find applying the balm all over my face very effective.”

After more than a month of spending her hair in tight French twists and twirling around with fabulous headgear, Schiavi says her hair is constantly damaged. To combat this, she likes to use an amika hair mask in the shower. “They are really good for hydration,” she says.

3. She refuels based on tomorrow’s needs

Food plays an essential role in Schiavi’s physical recovery. She eats intentionally, not only to support her body after her four main workouts, but also to give her the energy she needs for the next day. “What I eat for dinner will depend on how many shows I go to tomorrow,” she said. Her favorite post-performance meal is Greek pasta with tomato sauce and lots of butter. “It tastes so good!”

4. Family, TV and a weighted blanket help her sleep well

Schiavi ends each show on a positive note with adrenaline. So when it was finally time to go to bed, she had to do her best to calm her body down. “I watch TV, call friends and family to recount my day,” she says. “Then at night, I sleep with a weighted blanket. It suppresses my nervous system a bit so I can rest.”

These strategies help her get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. “I have to prioritize sleep to keep my mind focused and my body healthy,” she says.

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