Q & A with Marie Elena Scioscia M.S., R.D., CDN – Dance Nutritionist

November 20, 2018

Former Luigi trained dancer, Registered Dietitian and certified Fitness Professional, Marie Elena Scioscia M.S., R.D., CDN has written an amazing new book entitled Eat Right Dance Right. Her extensive experience includes work in the clinical, non clinical, and corporate settings including The Heart Group at Beth Israel Hospital, Manhattan Plaza Health Club, the American Red Cross, and Group Health Incorporated among other venues.

Marie is currently the nutritionist at the Alvin Ailey School, has worked with the New York City Ballet’s wellness group, and also has contributed and written for Dance Spirit and Pointe magazines. Last week, I chatted with Marie about her new book:

What gave you the inspiration or idea to create this guidebook for dancers?

Nutrition is the foundation of all health and especially for the dancer. There is so much conflicting information on what is healthy for dancers in terms of nutrition. Unfortunately, nothing much has changed since I was a young dancer, as there are still so many myths and falsehoods that are still circulating in the dance world. Eat Right Dance Right is an opportunity to share my knowledge and expertise and to hopefully prevent the young dancer from going down the wrong nutritional path, which might stop their career or cause other health problems.

The design of the book is very captivating. How did you come up with ideas for the different set up of the pages/sections and the photographs?

Because Eat Right Dance Right teaches the dancer about the science of how their bodies work nutritionally, I wanted the information to come alive with colors and vibrancy. Nutrition information should be easy to understand and easy to put into practice. 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! Eat Right Dance Right empowers the dancer to make proper choices that are right for them as an individual.

The book is extremely handy and informative. Have you found it to be helpful to your clients and students?

Yes the feedback I have received is that the book is easy to read, and the tips are easy to put into practice. Most every problem I have seen over the years in practice as a Registered Dietitian to the professional dance world, are caused by rigidity in attitude and misinformation around nutrition. It is not a rigid “rulebook” or long winded “text,” but a handbook that today’s dancer can use to make better personal choices for themselves on a daily basis. Dancers are always having to worry about being perfect. Because no one has a perfect diet every second of every day, not even registered dietitians, this book assists the dancer by personalizing their eating habits through a practical day to day approach in order to get the desired results at the same time.

What would you say is the main reason dancers tend to not be interested in nutrition and how can they be motivated to learn?

I actually find that dancers are very interested in nutrition but get very confused with all the information available on the internet and such. Most of what is on the internet is being put out there by people who are not qualified to give nutritional advice and are usually promoting the “flavor of the week” diet. Diets just don’t work and can cause all kinds of health issues for people as well as develop unhealthy “roller-coaster” type behaviors. That’s why people often go off diets and then go onto the “new” craze. Eat Right Dance Right is not about a “diet,” but a healthy way to care and feed oneself based on how our bodies actually work naturally. It gives plenty of room for each dancer to make personal decisions about what is right for them without having to follow arbitrary rules that do not serve their health or a dancer’s body and the information in the book is all backed up by science.

Have you noticed a difference in dancers nutritional knowledge today vs. when you were growing up?

I think today’s dancer is generally more well informed and actually more interested in nutrition than when I was a young dancer. Dancers now realize how important this is not only to their health as an individual but also to their lives and careers. My book helps dancers learn the biochemical truth of how their bodies work to produce energy. It will also teach dancers how to have strong muscles, joints, bones, as well as strong immune systems. Further, it will teach dancers how to have the endurance and stamina a dancer needs to do what they love most! The best part is that once you have the knowledge, no one can ever take that away from you. It will set you free!

Where can your book be purchased?

Eat Right Dance Right is available at the STEPS BOUTIQUE and on Marie’s website at CinchNutrition.com and at select retail boutiques in NYC.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge and advice with us, Marie! We can’t wait to put what we learned into practice.

Talia Putrino
-Assignment Editor and Writer for On The Beat.