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Alvin Ailey dancer shares nutrition, fitness tips

Posted by Chelsea Rice  March 21, 2014 10:32 AM

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The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is renowned for celebrating the African-American culture and modern American dance heritage. This year, their national tour honors the 25th anniversary since the founder's death.

KirvenBoyd_AlvinAiley.jpgOn Wednesday afternoon I spoke with Kirven Douthit-Boyd, a Boston local who has danced with the Alvin Ailey company for almost 10 years. Boyd began his formal training at the Boston Arts Academy, the city's only public high school for the visual and performing arts. He later attended The Boston Conservatory.

Boyd grew up in Dorchester, so coming back to Boston is always one of his favorite stops when the company tours. This week, we talked over the phone about his nutrition and fitness routine to keep his body in the best shape for dance.

While on tour, he said a typical day involves going to the theater around 2 p.m. and rehearsing until 7 p.m. The dancers have an hour to regroup before the performance starts. Despite those long hours at rehearsal, Boyd also maintains a regular workout routine that combines cardio with free weights.

"I feel that's a good combination to keep the muscles lean and defined," said Boyd. "I love the elliptical, I could stay on that for hours."

To stay healthy, Kirven tries to eat mostly protein and vegetables, but he allows himself the occasional treats. "If I want a burger I'll have it, but I make it a point not to eat like that on a daily basis," he said.

Sticking with his routine on the road isn't too difficult for Boyd since he doesn't limit his diet too broadly. "Restaurants usually have great options as far as vegetables and proteins, so it's just about trying to find something on the menu that's suitable for what you need."

While some people might worry about gaining weight on a tour like this, Boyd said he tends to lose weight because of the amount he's performing and always being on the go.

"It's important to stay consistent with some kind of healthy eating. Not necessarily a diet, but be conscious of what you're feeding your body, because that's your body's fuel," advises Boyd. "But also, get as much sleep as you can. Itís the full package. You have to make sure you learn as much as you can about technique and artistry, while also making sure you keep the best body as possible for you."

The company's 2014 performance tour hits Boston May 1st through 4th for their 44th appearance with the Celebrity Series of Boston. It will include a Boston premiere of the performance LIFT by choreographer Aszure Barton, Wayne McGreagor's Chroma, and Bill T. Jones's D-Man in the Waters (Part I).

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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