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SUMMER RULES is a series where we ask people to share with us how they’re staying safe and sane during this very different summer season; from mask suggestions to soundtrack selections, we’ll take a peek into how others are making these challenging times work.

We teamed up with Jeté Society to present today’s SUMMER RULES with Samara Rittinger of The Washington Ballet; she’s been doing lots of online ballet classes from home, plus journaling, reading, and enjoying the occasional strawberry lemonade vodka cocktail:

How do you usually feel about summer, as a season overall, and how do you feel about THIS summer, by comparison?

I have never been a huge fan of summer (especially DC summers) since I am more of a winter/fall type of person, but this is year it is a little different. With all that has been going, I have spent more time outside just relaxing and reading than I have past summers. All of this has helped me slow down and just relax since I have nowhere I need to be now. 

What is your summer shaping up to look like?

A lot of online ballet classes in the living room! I have also been doing more workouts I would not normally do if I were still rehearsing five days a week, such as HIIT workouts or yoga. After the workouts are done, though, I basically live up on the apartment rooftop soaking in the sun. 

What are some of your tips for staying safe and sane right now? 

Keep yourself busy with something you enjoy doing, and move your body every day, even if it’s just a short walk. For a few days I was a complete couch potato watching movies all day, and I noticed I just was not a happy person, but once I got outside for a walk, did a pilates class or a ballet class, I would be a new person. 

Go-to summer wellness practice advice? Any spots in particular that have been helping you on that front?

Journaling. I live alone so I find its a great way for me to release some of the anxiety I build up with seeing all the news and everything on social media when I don’t have someone to talk with about it in person. It will also be interesting in a few years to go back and read everything that has happened these past few months in detail, instead of trying to just remember it all. Another thing I have been trying not to do is to put pressure on myself for not being productive. If all I do in a day is a ballet class, I try not to think of everything else I should have done. 

Where did you get your mask from? And what, aside from that, has been your more or less go-to summer uniform?

We have an amazing woman who is a part of the Women’s Committee here at Washington Ballet named Mena, and she has been making homemade masks ever since quarantine began to give to all the dancers. Besides masks, my summer outfit has consisted mostly of leggings and athletic shorts, except when I do go out for groceries or to run some errands; I always try to look a little more put together with some jean shorts and a T-shirt in those instances. 

What (if anything) are you reading right now, and why do you recommend it? (Alternatively, just share a favorite book.)

Right now I am reading The New Jim Crow written by Michelle Alexander. A few of the other dancers at Washington Ballet and I are in a book club, so we all get together and discuss the information we’ve read. (And, it’s a way we can all keep in touch no matter where we are.) The New Jim Crow has definitely taught me a lot, and I highly recommend it to everyone

Do you have a go-to summer hang-out recipe that still works for a socially distanced gathering? And/or just a favorite general summer recipe that’s still a go-to, even now?

I am not super great at cooking savoury meals, but I am particularly good at bringing some fruit or any baked goods. (Cookies are usually my go-to.)

What about great summer cocktail or mocktail recipe?

I have never been good at making super fancy drinks, but I have gotten hooked on a simple strawberry lemonade vodka cocktail. Just a little strawberry lemonade, vodka, Malibu, and lime with ice is perfect for me. 

What’s on your summer playlist this year, or are there three songs that are permanent summer favorites for you?

I really love all music, but I always love some Jai Wolf, any 2000’s playlist, and there is never a day I don’t listen to the Beatles. 

Where do you wish you COULD GO this summer, if there were no restrictions or safety risks?

Portugal! This was going to be the first summer my sister and I were going to do lots of travelling, just the two of us, and we were starting to plan a trip to Portugal, and possibly Greece.  My sister is a huge travel enthusiast, and I was just starting to get the travel bug like her. We already have a huge list ready to go for when we can get moving again.