A Rocket’s Nighttime Routine: From Recovery to Sleep

The Rockets are back in action, kicking their feet to the high heavens, and bringing joy to those who walk through the doors of Radio City Music Hall. Each dancer performs about 300 (!) kicks per show and up to four shows per day—a feat accomplished only through training, preparation, and copious amounts of adrenaline. Which makes sleep essential and somewhat elusive for the 80 dancers in the troupe.

“Everyone has their own process,” says Rocket Soltana Shiavi. “It’s part of the job — we love coming to work every day and sharing our tips and tricks with each other.”

Since booking gigs in 2019, Schiavi has been experimenting with many techniques and has developed a nightly routine that works for him throughout the season. He now relies on a four-point recovery process to help him relax and recover at the end of each night so he can return to the stage at his best to do it all over again the next day.

1. He ices, stretches and massages his muscles

Schiavi feels passionately about her post-performance cool-down routine. “It’s essential to keeping your body healthy,” she says her go? Ice bath in a cold whirlpool inside the athletic training facility at Radio City Music Hall. “I like to ice from the waist down for at least 10 minutes at the end of the day,” she says

Once at home, Shiavi works out his sore muscles on a foam roller while watching TV, then Yogatos puts on a toe separator. “We have nine different numbers, which means we wear nine different pairs of shoes, mostly with two- to three-inch heels,” she says. “Yogato helps stretch my metatarsal muscles.”

Check out Radio City’s athletic training facility (including a whirlpool!)—and the Rockets’ training system:

2. Skin care and hair care is its own care

In an effort to take his mind off the show, Schiavi spends time practicing therapeutic hygiene. “I use a makeup remover balm in Milk Makeup to take off my show makeup,” she says. “We wear rocket red lipstick which can be hard to get off, and I find that rubbing the balm all over my face works really well.”

After spending more than a month with her hair in a rotating assortment of tight French twists and gorgeous headpieces, Schiavi says her hair is often damaged. To combat this, she likes to use an Amica hair mask in the shower. “They’re really great for hydration,” she says.

3. He refuels based on tomorrow’s needs

Diet plays an essential role in Shiavi’s physical recovery. He eats deliberately, not to support his body after four big workouts, but to give him the energy he needs for the next day. “What I eat at night will depend on how many shows I have tomorrow,” she says. Her favorite post-performance meal is Greek-style pasta with tomato paste and lots of butter. “It tastes really good!”

4. Family, TV, and a weighted blanket help him sleep

Schiavi ends each show positively bursting with adrenaline. So when it’s finally time to go to sleep, he has to work hard to calm his body down. “I watch TV, and call friends and family to recap my day,” she says. “Then at night I sleep with a weighted blanket. It calms my nervous system down a bit so I can relax.”

These techniques help him get seven to eight hours of sleep every night. “Sleep has to be a priority to keep my brain focused and my body healthy,” she says.

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