Compare the training regime of a dancer to your average pro sportsperson and you’ll find, in terms of intensity, strength and hours logged at the gym, they’ll probably match up. And the hardest part? They need to make it all look natural, like they just woke up and could dance for hours. Yet when you ask Sophia Obole, Australian and Ghanian dancer, if that’s really the case, she’s the first to squash the stereotype. “Being a dancer is a weekly commitment,” she explains. “Recently I’ve been getting to at least two classes of f45 and 3 yoga classes a week. I try do something different everyday. And on top I would say I dance everyday, if not in class its in my lounge room. Every week is different though.”
One of the faces of Leesures – Lee’s first ever loungewear capsule collection – the part-time model and actress spent her youth between Australia and Ghana, where she saw her love for dance grow.
“There’s a massive dance culture there, you dance for everything, birthdays, weddings, funerals, so I think I’ve been grooving since my first day out the womb,” she explains.
To find out more, we asked Sophia what it really takes to make it in professional dance.
What level of fitness does being a dancer require?
It varies…depending on what industry you’re in.
Musical theatre keeps you on your toes because you have to be able to handle 8 shows a week without getting injured, so pilates and yoga are game changers. The Commercial scene is mainly style based so getting to as many different classes as you can on a weekly basis is key.
But recently I’ve been very inspired by the freestyle scene and that takes a lot of alone time developing your own style.
How do you train?
Yoga and weight training have improved my movement a lot, and both require strong core to move properly.
I find I get enough cardio through my dance practice so I don’t worry about that too much.
Are you strict with your diet?
Not really, if its from a packet (except for rice and pasta) I won’t buy it. But if you put food in-front of me, i’ll eat it.
How do you feel when you dance?
Boundless, creative and myself. Dance to me has become like therapy. It’s incredibly healing on the days I’m not feeling 100 percent and if I’m open enough to allowing to feel whatever I’m feeling that day I can usually get rid of any yucky feelings after I move.
Do you have any movement tips for releasing stress?
Deep and slow breaths.
Get your heart rate up!
Also your probably hunched over reading this so shoulders up and back and opening your chest. This usually helps me to relax
Any dance movements that promote endorphin flow?
Find a song you like and literally dance like no ones watching. Corny but it works.
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