// Choreographer Stacey Tookey on Fitness, Food, SYTYCD & What She Wishes She Could Tell Her Younger Self//

Stacey Tookey choreographed some gorgeous pieces on SYTYCD this season, & guess what - she does yoga!


I love Stacey’s work. As a fellow Canadian, I swell with a little bit of pride whenever I see her name as a judge or choreographer on So You Think You Can Dance. And she’s added a few Emmy nominations to her accolades thanks to her work on the show (see her emmy nominated choreography at the bottom of this post).

‘Tooks’ sat down with Fit Sugar this week to talk dancing, fitness and food. But while the interview was interesting on its own, I ALSO happened across a letter Tookey posted to her younger self that I drew inspiration from.

While she’s used to being behind the scenes, this interview showcases a different Tookey all together, one who’s getting used to a body that’s healing & new found fame. Her letter to herself is inspirational and highlights that ‘I wish I knew then…’ mentality that comes with getting older. I’ve shared excerpts from her interview with Fit Sugar as well as her letter to herself below. 

Excerpt from Fit Sugar

FS: How do you stay in shape, especially since you are on the road so much?
ST: I think Pilates is a great way to stay strong, because it was designed for dancers. When you are about to do a full performance, you don’t want to work out at the gym for three hours. For me that doesn’t worked; I have to pace myself. I usually do yoga or take a Pilates class to keep my body in shape but not strain it. Sometimes I’m traveling three countries in a week and am lucky if I can do a warmup by myself in the studio before I begin creating.

FS: When choreographing, are you still dancing the moves yourself or are you on the sidelines?
ST: I recently had hip surgery. It’s been traumatic, because a week after the surgery, I was in crutches trying to choreograph. It was very frustrating for me, because I still like to choreograph with my body. I had to start creating in a chair and depend a lot more on my assistants. I’m used to doing my daily workout, going into the studio, creating with my body, and sweating. When you are not able to do that, the reward is now how the work looks through someone else. I’m going through a bit of a transformation now.

FS: What does your diet look like, and how do you maintain it?
ST: I have a lot of diet restrictions and food sensitivities. I see an acupuncturist who has honestly changed my life. She makes sure my body is in optimal shape for all the traveling and long hours that I work. I don’t eat gluten, dairy, or processed sugar. I just dropped coffee this past year. That was huge one for me. It’s not easy to keep on the road, but in my house, I don’t have any of those foods. I start my day with a green smoothie. I’ll pack a blender if I have to to get my smoothie with kale, spinach, pineapple, celery, protein, flax seed oil, and coconut water. I know that if I fall off track later in the day, at least I started out with all those greens.

Stacey’s letter to her younger self from Dance Spirit Magazine…

Dear Stacey,

Don’t let fear hold you back. Being scared is an essential part of life. If you believe in your talent, you’ll discover that you’re the only person standing in your way.

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