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My Career: Dancer and choreographer Sarah Cerneaux

My Career: Dancer and choreographer Sarah Cerneaux


by Sarah Cerneaux
23rd Mar 2023

Professional dancer, choreographer, artistic director; Sarah Cerneaux has lived much of her life dancing across a stage. Now in Dublin as part of the Liz Roche Company’s Yes and Yes show – an ode to James Joyce’s Ulysses – here Sarah shares more about her daily routine and what inspires her.

I wake at… my brain wakes up at 6am and my body wakes at 7am.

The first thing I do every morning is… look at the sky and watch the colour change. It helps me to calm down and start the flow of my thoughts.

My morning routine is… I like to take a moment in my bed to slowly stretch my skin and feel the weight of my body.

I can’t go to work without… the basics: a thermos of green tea and some fresh ginger. Then, I need my kit bag full of massage balls, stretching elastics and my favourite mixture of essential oils called Alpenol (I secretly think I can’t move if I don’t have it in my pocket!).

The self-care tool I use every day is… drinking more water than I think I can.

The best part of my day is… as I’ve been practising intermittent fasting for four years now by skipping breakfast, I really love lunchtime. It’s a moment where I take my time to think of what I want to eat and I really enjoy cooking. Everything is tastier at this time. Intermittent fasting is a practice I have started because I read it helps to recover from injuries and I’ve finally realised it suits my natural rhythm.

As a dancer, the best part of my day is…  when I have finished my warm-up and I feel my body (and my mind) are entirely available for the rest of the day.

The most challenging part of my day is… the warm-up. When I am creating or performing and I engage my body for several hours every day, it is challenging to find the best way to keep pushing my body while recharging it. However, I like to challenge myself and I am always amazed by what the body can do even when you feel exhausted.

I engage with self-care every day by… taking 30 minutes of alone time. It’s my way of resetting my mind.

My daily self-care checklist routine includes… as an Artistic Director of a dance company, I’m already consumed by (endless) checklists, therefore I try to avoid them when it comes to self-care. I try to follow my instinct with this as much as possible.

The quickest, smallest thing I do for myself every day is… listen to music.

I know it’s been a good day if… my body feels weary from the effort I have provided it with but I’m still smiling.

I switch off from work by… it’s really difficult for me to switch off from work as ideas or images can come to my mind at any time – but I would say, spending dinner time with my family helps me to switch off. It’s a special moment where we don’t talk about work, school or anything on our to-do lists.

Before I go to bed, I’ll… organise everything I need for the next day in order to have more time and space in the morning.

After a long work week, I destress by… having a drink with my friends, laughing about what went wrong during the week and sharing a lovely dinner.

My go-to comfort meal is… it’s a bit of a cliché as I’m French, but my comfort meal is cheese with good bread, charcuterie, small pieces of fresh vegetables and a glass of red wine. I love the Spanish or Korean way of dinner, lots of small tasty and colourful things on the table.

When I really need a moment to myself, I always… go for a walk alone in nature.

Something I try to do for myself every day is… take time for a yoga nidra session (even though it’s not always possible). It’s an amazing practice that helps me to release tension from both my mind and body and recover from tiredness.

The most reflective moment in the day is… taking time to write down my ideas. It’s a way to clarify all the thoughts that have crossed my mind during the day and to keep only what is important to me.

The one person, place or thing guaranteed to give me joy is… music, music, music. Music is magic. It makes me travel, create wonderful worlds or calm down my emotions. It always draws an unconscious smile on my face.

I wish I could… more mindfully recognise all the little things I achieve. I have a tendency to focus on what I still have to do or keep improving on but more and more I try to take time to look back and be proud of what I’ve achieved.

Everyone should try… dancing in their shower with loud music!