NoMiNoU Ambassador Profile: Meet Kirsten Wicklund

An accomplished dancer, Kirsten Wicklund studied at Goh Ballet Academy and toured extensively with Canada’s Youth Ballet Company before receiving scholarships at American Ballet Theatre, Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Boston Ballet, PNB, and Washington Ballet. Kirsten is currently in her third season with Ballet BC.

What does wellness mean to you?

To me, wellness means balance and unison of mind, body and spirit. It is when I am creatively, physically and mentally fully nourished. It allows me to see myself, those around me, and the world with light, love and possibility.

How long have wellness and mindfulness been important parts of your life? Walk us through your personal wellness journey.
Wellness and mindfulness have been a lifelong journey for me and an aspect of daily life that I’ve sought ever since I became a professional dancer at a very young age. Being a dancer requires a lot of discipline and drive (mentally, physically and even emotionally) and oftentimes can begin to breed a rigidity that does not serve wellness in full. As I matured as an artist, fusing my dance with wellness and mindfulness became exceedingly important to me.

I began practicing yoga and meditation, which led me to dive into many areas of my dance practice that surprised me and eventually deepened my understanding of both my body and my mind. It’s something that is now part and parcel of my work, my lifestyle, how I spend my time and in turn how I view the world. I have learned over time that nourishment on every level is essential. Mindfulness is my way towards nourishment.

Steph Black Capris
Kirsten in the Steph Collection Black Capris

What does a day in your life look like?

6:30 a.m. – Alarm! Time to head to either treatment or cross-training. This means I’ll see my physiotherapist, naturopath, or chiro to get my day started. Or else I will hit the gym, pool, spin or yoga class for cross-training (depending on what part of the season I am in). I always get my daily vitamins in and eat an early breakfast. I love having a bowl of egg whites and sauteed spinach or sipping a protein-filled smoothie…all homemade.
9 a.m. – Head to the studio with coffee in hand, of course!
9:30-11 a.m. – Attend Ballet BC’s Company Ballet Class (this is BBC’s usual method of daily training to help us keep up on our basic techniques).
11 a.m.-6:15 p.m. – Rehearsal day with Ballet BC, which includes rehearsing existing reps, learning new ballets and often creating brand new dance works and preparing them for stage.
Evening – Some nights I teach yoga, some nights I take yoga…every evening I cook a big meal and prepare my food for the next rehearsal day. Lots of evenings involve epsom salt baths, ice baths and other forms of self-care like massage, journaling, reading – and of course a little Netflix!

With such a busy schedule, how do you maintain balance?
I work hard to incorporate wellness into my crazy schedule! I do a lot of time management to make it all happen. I ensure my schedule allows me the time I need to prepare myself for the following day. This reduces my stress level so I feel strong and capable. Things like preparing my meals in advance help me stay on track with a clean eating routine, and building in all my cross-training and teaching prep into my days is essential. I multi-task and build yoga class plans and playlists while on public transit!

I also make sure to carve out time for friends and family. The main thing is to remember that no one can do it ALL. As much as I aim to do everything, I forgive myself daily for not making it all happen and I remember that at the end of the day, things do not have to be perfect. I need to be accepting of myself, my efforts, and be grateful for all the things I am accomplishing in my days.

Kirsten in the Steph Black Infinity scarf
Kirsten in the Steph Black Infinity scarf

What are your top three wellness tips?
1. It’s all about balance. If you love coffee, drink it. Just double up on your water intake to keep you out of dehydration land. Same thing with food: if there is something you crave, treat yourself. Just make sure you’re also getting all the essential nutrients you need to keep going!
2. Switch it up. The human body is so adaptable, so change up your workout routine to get the most out of it. Try doing 4-5 different styles of physical activity in a week to keep your body on its toes…it will keep your mind sharp too! If you always run or practice yoga, try throwing something else into the mix. Go for a swim, bike to work or around the seawall, take spin, TRX, ballet class, martial arts, pilates…explore all your options and get creative. You may find something new that you love.
3. Meditate! Breath control makes every human function operate more efficiently. If you are having trouble sticking to your routines (exercise, nutrition, sleep, etc.) then try a regular meditation practice where you simply carve out time to focus on your breath. It will absolutely reconfigure your ability to be present and available to possibility in your life!

Words you live by/your personal mantra?
No one else is you – THAT is your power.

Bri Shorts (black and white)
Bri Shorts (black and white)

What are your favourite items in the current NoMiNoU collection?
I LOVE the Jaii Element Sunny Sierra Leggings!

What or who is currently inspiring you?
The artists I work with every day inspire me…so do people I encounter every day in the world. People who follow their passions without apologizing or sacrificing the integrity of the work they believe in. People who feel the fear, then get out there and go for it anyway!

What’s next for you? Any exciting projects, collaborations, events, or personal milestones in the works?
Next up is the continuation of the Ballet BC 2016/17 Vancouver season, followed by our touring season. During our offseason, I will work on more of my personal choreographic projects, including a dance-on-film project I’ve been working on with a few exciting collaborators. I’m most anxiously awaiting the arrival of my newest niece or nephew in the new year! In the meantime follow me on Instagram and Twitter for updates on show dates, yoga classes, workshop opportunities and more!