Amanda interviewed Anna Dueck, dancer, instructor, and healthy baker. They chatted about delicious and easy recipes, a morning routine that involves watching Ellen, and a baking purchase Anna can’t live without. Check out the interview below!
Hi Anna! Tell me a bit about yourself.
I grew up in Calgary, AB, then moved to Vancouver to get my BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) in dance at SFU and have stayed since. I’m a dance academy manager, dance teacher and love food, you could call me a foodie. My food blog is called Num In My Tum. Also, I have a huge sweet tooth.
Me too 🙂 Could you give us one of your favourite healthy recipes that you like to make?
Here’s my go to breakfast! It’s Apple Peanut Butter Overnight Oats. Easy to make it on the go too:
That sounds delicious, I’m so going to make that tomorrow! I usually put banana in my oats, I don’t know why I haven’t thought to use apple…So, how did you get into healthy food and baking?
It was more of a game for me at first. I’d heard about all the ways to replace ingredients like avocado for butter and flax and water for an egg. Once I realized the taste and textures weren’t comprised it seemed silly to NOT be baking like this!
What are your favourite healthy snacks?
Lately I’ve really been into energy balls, some people call them power balls but basically a bunch of yummy things into a food processor rolled into balls. I hope I can get my edition of the recipe on my blog soon! I also love Lärabars, bananas and apples are easy go-tos for me, or coconut water!
I’ll be honest, I still haven’t gotten on the coconut water trend, though I’m not a huge coconut person (don’t kill me, I know you’re obsessed!)…What are your go-to healthy ingredients?
Ground flax, hemp seeds, chia seeds, almond milk, dates, cashews, spinach, bananas and peanut butter. (I could go on!)
What’s your favourite purchase you’ve made for baking or dance?
Ooooh…tough one. I’d say for baking its 100% my Silicone muffin cups. They are SO easy to use, make any cupcake or muffin come out clean and reduce the amount of waste compared to paper cups. Hmmm for dance it’s pretty basic…I recently bought some muscle cream, that saved my muscles after teaching a long workshop on the weekend recently.
Ooh I need to get some of those cups! Love that you’re doing your part for the environment! What’s your take on sugar being “bad for you”?
Gosh…I love sugar, like LOVE sugar. I never really see it as being bad for you, feels too negative. I rather like to try and do everything in quantity. I’ve tried to stop eating as much straight sugar like candy or donuts, but if I’m craving something sweet, I’ll eat a whole date or a piece of gum. Slowly fruit is becoming more sweet to me too, or some maple syrup drizzled on a banana, oh so yummy!
I’ll have to try that! Let’s chat more about your dance. How did you get into it? At what age?
Great question, you should probably ask my Mom. I started dance like many kids needing to get rid of energy at age 3. My family lived overseas in The Netherlands when I was 5 – 7, where I only danced one year. When I returned to Calgary, AB I got back into dance starting in Hip Hop (ha, oh how the times have changed) in Grade 4. I like to say I got more serious about dance in Grade 6 when I began ballet but only because I had to if I wanted to start the competitive dance program at my studio.
Photo Credit: Erik Zennstrom
What do you love about teaching dance?
I love seeing the progression in people, kids and adults. Everyone is there for different reasons. Some want to just train really hard at their technique, others are there for the music and some are looking for an outlet to express themselves creatively.
What is challenging about teaching dance?
Well, this should come at no surprise but teaching kids can have a HUGE range of difficulties. The social interactions the class has, the social interactions you have with the kids especially if they’re older, let alone trying to built a solid technical dance foundation before growing their artistry as movers. With adults it can be similar but they react quicker to what you’re saying and are easier to relate to. The opposite is their bodies may not have as much versatility.
Photo Credit: SFU
What do you think it takes to make a good dance teacher?
Hard question! I’d say patience and listening is number one. For me, I can have the idea that everything needs to be perfect. It’s about reminding myself to be patient, each student is different no matter what age, and have fun with what we’re doing. Even if it’s challenging or frustrating, what joke or silly sentence can I give to inspire them to keep going! Also, even if you plan your whole class, sometimes you just have to go with what your gut says.
How do you find inspiration for new choreography?
This is such a hard one for me. I feel as though music inspires my choreography, but also just my mood that day. If I’m feeling sluggish I may do something slower, less to counts or rhythms but if I’m feeling really energized I’ll make it more intense with lots of accents in the choreography.
Photo Credit: Erik Zennstrom
How do you avoid injury?
Alignment, technique and consistency I feel help me. If I haven’t been dancing for sometime and then dance a lot at once, I recognize that the next few days I may need to take it easy. Simple things like lining up knees over toes too in any plié or squat position will save you. Be careful! Know when it’s a good challenge and when it’s actually painful. Don’t be shy to alter dance choreography or positions, your teacher will probably appreciate you expressing your concern (I do!).
What do you do if you do get injured?
Nothing…I’m bad I know. I feel like sometimes our injuries are self healing and just need a day or two to re-align. If I feel like it’s really bad I’ll likely go to my physiotherapist first and see what she has to say (thanks Shaana!), but that can be super expensive. Rolling out, muscle cream, lots of water and rest are usually my first diagnosis!
What’s your take on yoga?
Great question! I treat yoga as a calm method of cross training. Physically I think it really goes well with dancers, and mentally I get an hour or two to just think. In my head I’m usually saying really silly things (maybe I should be more serious!) like if the teacher instructs me to think about my mantra it’s ‘get through this class’ or ‘mantra, what mantra maybe I should think about this. Nah that’s not me’. I don’t connect well with yoga spiritually, but I enjoy that everyone around you has the same calming energy and is taking that time for them out of their day. I also prefer hot yoga for the sweating factor over regular yoga.
Photo Credit: Erik Zennstrom
Do you have a morning routine? If so, what is it? (ex. coffee, meditation 5 mins, journaling 20 mins, exercise, chilling, not getting up at all…;))
Oh yeah! If I have to go to work before 10am, it’s overnight oats and my lunch packed the night before. I’ll wake up and either make coffee or a matcha latte right away, and put it in my to go mug, I usually sip on it while getting ready but never finish it before I leave, so I bring it with me. If I have time and feel up to it I’ll eat my oats otherwise I pack them to go too! Then it’s makeup, hair, then get dressed (basically stay in my pjs for as long as possible). I also always check my email, and like to watch Ellen on Youtube while I do my makeup, ha!
When you think of someone as successful, who comes to mind? (ie famous role model, etc)
I’m a HUGE fan of following Jillian Harris on Instagram. I feel like she makes her brand and who she is come across as raw and personal as possible. She’s not afraid to show an unshowered ponytail, or that someone’s negative comment brought her to tears through social media. She’s also a super big hustler. Running her own business, being a mom and trying to be creative and trendy all at the same time. I aspire to be as big of a go-getter as her. Oh and Ellen. Her positive attitude is contagious and I hope I can spread that energy to others too.
Love that! What’s a common misconception about you?
I’m not really sure. I’m pretty busy, but I feel like a misconception is how big I struggle with downtime. When I have free time, or feel like I should be taking a break, it’s REALLY hard for me to just chill out. Something I’m working on!
What would your perfect day look like to you?
Waking up to an awesome breakfast and a matcha oat milk latte (trying to work on my own at home), with the clock stopping so I can get ready as slowly as possible. Then it’s off to do a little bit of work including something outdoors, and exercise (dancer or other). Followed by dinner at home with my friends or boyfriend, a delicious dessert and good TV before bed. It’d just be incredible if we could stop the clock when we need that extra 10 minutes or so.
No kidding! There’s never enough time in the day…Thanks so much Anna!
Photo: Anna Dueck
Photographer: Yoonjeong Rose Hong
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