JOURNAL OF DANCE EDUCATION
Journal of Dance Education
Volume 20, 2020 - Issue 2
Published Online: July I, 2019
“Eat Right Dance Right: A Nutritional Handbook for Today's Dancer”
Book by Maria Scioscia
Have you ever wondered about what food groups are best, or what portions are proper for you? Have you been concerned about staying energized throughout a long day of dancing? Have you thought about whether diet trends really work, or if cross-training is a good idea in conjunction with active periods of technique classes and rehearsals? Created specifically for dancers, Eat Right Dance Right is far from your average nutrition book, as it answers such questions and many more. Written by Marie Scioscia, a registered dietitian, former Luigi-trained dancer, and certified fitness professions, the book “sets the record straight” (2) through a solid and easy-to-use handbook that informs and empowers dancers about nutrition and long-term wellness.
Scioscia is currently the nutritionist at the Alvin Ailey School and has a private practice as a dietitian in New York City. Her extensive experience has included working with the New York City Ballet’s wellness group, writing for Dance Spirit and Pointe magazines, and lecturing for Complexions Contemporary Ballet, the Martha Graham School, and other organizations. She has also worked as a nutritionist in clinical, nonclinical, and corporate settings.
As a personalized message to her readers, Scioscia starts Eat Right Dance Right by stating, “this book was written for YOU!” (5). She explains that it is important to make choices that are tailored to individual needs, giving readers comprehensive solutions while recommending to “do the best you can each day” (142). The book cleverly addresses likely nutritional questions and concerns through an interview narrative of two real-life dancers. The narrative demonstrates how the two individuals learn to maintain a balanced lifestyle, attesting that “good nutrition works” (103). The narrative also reveals that Scioscia is aware that dancers worry about being perfect and she advises that no eating plan can be without daily interruptions. She recommends not getting caught up in counting every calorie or getting lured into believing that one must live with limitations. Throughout her book Scioscia also stresses the biochemical facts about how the body works to produce energy—all supported by science. In an endorsement on the back cover, Melanie Person, Co-Director of the Alvin Ailey School, praises the author, noting, “She breaks down the necessities for nourishing a dancer’s body and mind practically and sensibly.”
In a recent interview with Talia Putrino, assignment editor and writer for On the Beat, Scioscia described how she came up with the captivating book design, stating, “It should be a pleasure to look at and practical in use. By breaking things down into tips, chapter reviews, and quick looks, the info is easy to ingest!” (Scioscia 2018). The vibrant content and layout of Eat Right Dance Right also includes valuable graphs and charts, striking illustrations, enticing sample menus, and tasty snack ideas within each chapter—making the book appealing and convenient for referencing. The topics unfold logically with concepts that are clear, well defined, and easy to put into practice. Best of all, this compact one-stop library of information can easily fit into a dance bag for use throughout the day.
I truly enjoyed Scioscia’s infectious enthusiasm and pure passion for nutrition, which resonates throughout her book. At the end of the interview by Putrino, Scioscia concludes by saying, “The best part is that once you have the knowledge, no one can ever take that away from you. It will set you free!” (Scioscia 2018). Healthy eating is fundamental. Striving for balance is the key. These life essentials will result in dancing better, stronger, and longer.
Check out Eat Right Dance Right, a highly applauded addition to what has been so needed in the dance world. It is available on Scioscia’s website at cinchnutrition.com and at select retail boutiques in New York City, including Steps on Broadway. Ms. Scioscia, I thank you for sharing your wisdom and advice! I have already put what I have learned into practice, and I feel great! I recommend Marie Scioscia’s Eat Right Dance Right to all dancers as a must have.
- Cynthia DuFault, MFA