Abbey Jane is a former NBA dancer for the New York City Knicks, Radio City Rockette, model, and owner of Angel Baked by Abbey. We sat down to discuss what a typical workday as a professional dancer looks like, advice for an aspiring model, the role nutrition plays in her life and her favorite Tejari blends.
What does a typical work day as a professional dancer look like?
On a typical work day I usually start my day with some type of movement or workout. Whether it's boxing, dance cardio, strength-training, or barre, I always aim to change my workout routine to challenge my body - which is crucial for dancers in our cross-training. I then prepare myself for a day of rehearsals and/or auditions. During my normal performance season I rehearse for six hours a day, six days a week, for about six weeks before moving into the theater for performances. Once shows begin I am performing up to four shows a day for about two months. In my off season, I am taking classes, attending auditions, and teaching fitness classes and dance classes to young professionals.
Unfortunately, with the shut down of theaters and live performances this year, there have been limited opportunities for performing artists. Nonetheless, most of us have continued our training and artistry through online dance classes and at-home audition submissions. With a rather tumultuous year behind us, we are all eager and hopeful to get back to performing for live audiences.
How has dancing helped you in your adult life? What are some lessons you’ve learned in dance that have translated into other aspects of adulthood?
First and foremost discipline! As any artist or professional, it takes a lot of discipline to master your craft. There are countless hours spent in the studio building technique, learning new choreography, and exploring artistry through performance. As a young dancer, I sacrificed the “typical” high school experience to commute three hours into Manhattan for classical ballet training, spending those countless hours in the studio just to get one step closer to my end goal of making it as a professional dancer. Although some might say I missed out, looking back today I am so grateful for that discipline and resilience I acquired at a young age through dance. Without it I wouldn’t have been granted the incredible opportunities I have experienced so far in my professional career and I know that it will remain a constant in all that I wish to do moving forward.
Throughout my dance training and career I have also learned a lot about confidence and how to present oneself outside of the studio. In my classical ballet training I was taught correct posture and professionalism at a young age, which has then translated and built upon my confidence outside of dance. Additionally, performing in such incredible venues such as Madison Square Garden, which seats upwards of 20,000 spectators, has been incredibly impactful on my confidence. It’s easy to feel small in such a massive venue, but once I learned how to perform and emanate the confidence needed for the space, exuding that confidence in my everyday life has become much easier.
What advice would you give to an aspiring dancer or model?
Never give up! I know it may sound cheesy, but if you truly believe in yourself and your potential within this industry, you will succeed. The dance and modeling industries are extremely competitive; but, if you continue to practice tenacity, resilience, and kindness towards others, people within the industry will take note of that.
Do you have any morning routines that help set you up for a successful day?
100% - I sometimes think I would be lost without my morning routine. To set myself up for a successful day I always start with some sort of meditation or reading. This usually helps keep me present and focused throughout the day. I then usually do some sort of workout, whether that may be a dance cardio class on the Sculpt Society App or a cycling class through Peloton. I am a huge advocate for working out first thing in the morning, as it provides me with the energy boost I need to start my day.
How does your relationship with food and nutrition affect your ability to perform well in your work?
Nutrition is so crucial as a dancer and I have found that what I consume can have a major impact on how I am feeling throughout the day. I tend to eat things that are nutrient dense, but not necessarily heavy before rehearsals or performances - usually that means a smoothie, fruit, nuts, or some type of protein. However, post performances I always make sure to replenish my body with meals that are filling and fueling, which ensures maximal recovery and sustained energy for the following day.
What makes Tejari protein blends stand out from other protein supplements?
What I love about Tejari protein blend is how clean and simple the ingredients are. I find that other protein blends tend to have too many ingredients - some of which leave me feeling slow and sluggish. However, with Tejari I rest assured that the protein blends are made with good, whole, and clean ingredients that leave me feeling nourished and satisfied throughout my day.
What is your go-to way to incorporate Tejari into your diet? Which blend is your favorite?
One of my favorite ways to incorporate Tejari into my diet is through smoothies. No matter what ingredients I incorporate into the mix, the Tejari blends always create a smooth, velvety texture with incredible flavor. Recently, I have been on an Organic Apples and Greens kick! I was first introduced to the blend my friend and fellow former Knicks City Dancer, Katy, and since then I have become obsessed. I love to pair it with a handful of spinach, pineapple, banana, blueberries, flax seed, spirulina, and coconut water.. It’s my post-workout go-to and is something I really look forward to.
Your custom cookie shop, Angel Baked, is so unique and fun, and the decorations are beautiful! What inspired you to start this business?
Thank you! I have always considered myself a creative person and really enjoy baking and decorating these treats for special occasions. It’s so funny because I first began baking and decorating cookies for my fellow Knicks City Dancers. It began with decorated gingerbread cookies for our Christmas parties, which then turned into custom decorated cookies for birthdays, Knicks games, and other holidays. However, it wasn’t until I booked my first official order for my Coach’s baby shower that I decided to launch Angel Baked Custom Cookies. Since then I have had the pleasure of baking and decorating for family, friends, and those within the NYC and CT area.
Do you deliver cookies outside of NYC?
At the moment I am only able to deliver within the NYC and CT area, as I am currently residing in both locations. However, I am hoping to expand in the upcoming year. Stay tuned!