Atlanta Ballet Gennadi Nedvigin | Artistic Director

Atlanta Ballet Gennadi Nedvigin | Artistic Director

January 16, 2012

There’s gluten in that….don’t panic!

  By Emily Harrison, MS, RD, LD One of the things we can be assured of is that there will always be a new food, diet or health fad.  Gluten free is the latest trend.  I have even seen bottled water and shampoo recently labeled as “gluten-free”.  What are we to make of this new fad? What is gluten and should dancers avoid it? For the majority of people, gluten is no problem and is part of a normal healthy diet. However there is a small segment of people who may need to limit or avoid it all together.What is gluten? Gluten is a term that describes tiny parts (amino acids) of a group of proteins. Basically it is a naturally occurring protein found in rye, barley, triticale, spelt, kamut, bulger, oat bran, some oats, all wheat products.  Other food products that may also contain hidden gluten are malt flavor/ extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, beer and ale.Should dancers avoid gluten? The answer for the vast majority of dancers is NO! Gluten is not a scary, artificial, or chemical additive that must be avoided. It occurs naturally in the whole grain products mentioned above.  Whole grains are an important source of good, energy producing carbohydrates that dancers need to keep them going during class, rehearsal, or performance.  Whole grain products contain fiber, B-vitamins, some iron, and some protein. Dancers who unnecessarily avoid gluten may become deficient in important nutrients. Gluten is what makes bread tender and doughy. For most people, there is no reason to avoid gluten and there are many reasons to eat the healthy whole grains that contain this natural protein.  Well meaning celebrities further and food companies out to capitalize on the latest fad, complicate the minefield of mis-information surrounding the topic of gluten.Is there anyone who should avoid gluten?   Yes.  Going gluten-free is the best known treatment for anyone with celiac disease, an auto-immune condition in which the body reacts to gluten like it is a foreign invader. Damage to the intestines results from eating gluten which causes pain, bloating, and nutrient deficiencies.  The prevalence of gluten allergy has grown over the years. We are now more aware of it than ever.  There may be cases of a more mild g If you suspect a gluten sensitivity talk to your physician or dietitian.  A blood test can detect antibodies formed as an immune response to digested gluten.luten intolerance that cause bowel discomfort, eating issues, and even behavior problems particularly in young children. Good scientific evidence in this area is in its preliminary stages.  There is not enough evidence to suggest that avoiding gluten can help with autistic spectrum disorders. Going gluten free requires careful reading of food labels and planning ahead if one is going out to eat. There are apps that help track gluten content of many food items that can help with the confusion. Seeing a registered dietitian is very important if one suspects a gluten allergy or intolerance. Some gluten-free alternatives are corn, corn flour, quinoa, quinoa flour, rice, potatoes, soy flour, arrowroot, amaranth, flax, millet, bean flours, Jerusalem artichoke pasta. A gluten free diet can be healthy if planned well.  In some cases a vitamin/ mineral supplement may be necessary.About Emily Harrison, MS, RD, LD  Emily is a registered dietitian (RD) and holds both a bachelor's and master's degree in nutrition from Georgia State University. Her master's thesis research was on elite level ballet dancers and energy balance and the relationship to injuries. She completed her dietetic internship through GSU and has experience providing nutrition counseling for people with diverse needs including eating disorders. Emily received her dance training at the Rotaru Ballet School and Boston Ballet School. She was a professional dancer for 11 years. Dancing with Boston Ballet II and Ballet Internationale in Indianapolis, IN where she worked with legendary Kirov dancers Eldar Aliev and Irina Kolpakova.  She also danced for Emmy award winning choreographer Michael Smuin in his San Francisco company.  Emily has been with the Atlanta Ballet since 1998, first as a company dancer and now as faculty in the NASD accredited Centre for Dance Education.   She is a dance educator for all ages working primarily in the pre-professional division. She also provides comprehensive nutrition services for Atlanta Ballet company, school, and outreach division.  Emily is also the mother of two children and understands the unique challenges parents face when it comes to nutrition. Learn more at

January 4, 2012

Get in shape in 2012 with FLAMENCO!

Limited Time Only: 6-week Flamenco Class at Cobb Class begins January 11. Immerse yourself in the rhythms of flamenco during a six-week course taught at the Cobb Centre location, beginning January 11. For true beginners or more advanced students, the course will teach you the basics of the movement and how to recognize the distinctive flamenco guitar chords, with live accompaniment from musician Armando Bermúdez. Learn more about Centre for Dance Education Adult Classes here. Flamenco 2 Wednesdays, January 11, 18, 25 Wednesdays, February 1, 8, 15 7:00-8:00PM Flamenco 1 Saturdays, January 14, 21,28 Saturdays, February 4, 11, 18 1:00-2:00PM Tuition for 6-week Session: $72 (Seniors/Student Discount: $48) Instructor: Cristina Bermúdez Musician: Armando Bermúdez Flamenco I: Basic flamenco steps are learned with emphasis on proper technique, posture and fluidity of arm and hand movements. In this class, the “building blocks” of flamenco are introduced through various exercise drills that incorporate foot and upper body technique. These techniques are then applied in learning Sevillanas – a popular folk dance from Andalusia that integrates all the beginning aspects of flamenco. Although Sevillanas are not considered one of the pure flamenco “palos” (flamenco forms, each with their own rhythmic cycle), they are set to a stable choreography and are very useful in applying all the basic flamenco steps taught to beginner flamenco students. In addition, Sevillanas are danced at all flamenco “fiestas”, so students who attend Atlanta flamenco gatherings will have the opportunity to showcase what they have learned in a comfortable, fun environment. Flamenco II: Basic footwork combinations and upper body technique is reviewed and thoroughly polished. Arm and hand movements are also thoroughly polished. This class moves at a slightly faster pace, focusing on “compás” (rhythmic cycle) through various “palos” (flamenco forms, each with their own rhythmic cycle) such as “tangos”, “soleá” and “bulerías”. Students will learn to distinguish the guitar chords and rhythms of these “palos” in order to be able to recognize them with ease. Short, simple choreographies are featured in order to focus on proper technique, clean lines and “aire” (the feel of any particular movement). Footwork in this class is at a slightly higher level than Flamenco I and students are expected to have a working knowledge of 12-count “compás” upon entering the class. *Flamenco classes are not drop-in classes. They are offered in six-week sessions. Pre-registration and pre-payment are required. For more information, please call the Cobb Centre at 678-213-5000.