That's me in the black leo and skirt. I ended up changing studios a couple times during high school so having my own Pilates routine to do every morning helped keep me on track while I adjusted to different studio environments.

Superpowers

March 2019

When your student chooses a pre-professional dance training track, you'll see their self-management and discipline (superpowers) increase. To be a professional dancer requires managing one's time and energy deliberately so maximum energy is available when dancing.

Someone asked me in a job interview what I missed about dancing full-time, and my answer surprised me. I missed the all-consuming focus; previously, everything I did supported my having energy to dance, building strength for rehearsal endurance, increasing mental capacity to learn choreography more quickly, or practicing relaxation techniques to release tension from joints and muscles. I made choices with crystalline clarity.

This is what introduced me to Pilates as a high school student. My dance teacher said I needed to build core strength. I bought Mari Winsor's workout series; every morning before school I did 20-45 minutes of Pilates on my own. I became stronger (and calmer with the focus on breath).

The things your dancer chooses to incorporate into their life now to improve their performance will stay with them long past their time in the studio. It may even become the next step in their career!

Collaborating with K-12 teachers (2013-14ish) at The Joyce Theater for a movement workshop exploring DanceBrazil's movement pedagogue, a blend of Afro-Brazilian aesthetics, capoeira, and contemporary dance. That's me on the left!

Relationships

March 2019

I really stress the importance of relationships with young artists (or any client). Parents and teachers stressed this to me continually while I rolled my eyes, sighing, "I get it." Except, I totally didn't get it as a teenager and twenty-something.

Living and working within the creative universe is one big network of relationships that affect the trajectory and quality of experience. Managing relationships has little to do with being introverted or extroverted; they require reciprocity over personality.

In my Pilates practice, I'm constantly assessing the interaction of muscles and joints to build a harmonious dynamic - either for myself or a client. In my coaching practice, I'm guiding clients in aligning their abilities and goals. Both are an investment of time, energy, and resources.

Navigating entrepreneur-hood runs on a currency of relationships. But, relationships established only for one's own gain don't go very far. That's what makes them simultaneously scary and wonderful. You don't know where they're going but they're definitely not going anywhere without you.

Nervously teaching Radford University dancers as part of my required practice hours for my first STOTT PILATES certification last year. I didn't know how I was going to finish all my training but just kept going. Now, I'm about halfway through and looking forward to being fully certified (Level 1) by Fall 2019.

Integrity

February 2019

The hard part about making choices is that we never have all the information we want to know if we're 100% making the right choice; or, sometimes our priorities shift and what was the best choice a year ago is not such a great choice now. So, it's partly who we are, rather than completely the choices we make, that determines what comes out of those decisions. I heard this definition: integrity is keeping (or the ability to keep) the promises we make to ourselves. I can look back on things in my life where I might do it differently now, but I don't have regrets about it, because I was making a decision based on integrity - things I can still support about living life, ten years removed from the situation. There are other situations, where it is clear I was operating from the need to protect myself, prove my value, or get what I wanted regardless of everyone else involved.

In Pilates, we talk about integrity of the joints and muscles. Can an exercise be completed using the muscles and moving the joints in the intended movement pattern? Anyone can do a bicep curl motion, but it's another thing to do a bicep curl with stability in the shoulder girdle and the humerus moving in the right direction. Basically, a lot time working out is a worthless effort unless the muscles are being strengthened against gravity in the way they are meant to move.

For young dancers at summer dance programs, I tell them that "who you are today affects tomorrow; it will either haunt or help whom you’re trying to become." That's how it is with everything in our life; how do we make today a gift for tomorrow?

Last year, a friend gave me this journal anthology. Pictured above is the entry from the day I showed up at that studio feeling out of shape, unqualified, and unsure. Those feelings still come and go, to be honest. But I'm loving what I get to do and excited for things to come.

Dreamstorming

January 2019

This time last year, I was in a post-New Year's, pre-birthday slump. As an achievement and completion-oriented person (Enneagram 3w2), New Year's is a time I rigorously review the previous year and plan for the next. In 2017, I'd hit the wall personally, left my stable job in the field I'd dedicated my entire life towards in search of something better for me.

I knew I needed to create momentum for myself. In my experience that comes from doing things you love. I needed to operate from a well of positive, authentic, joyful energy.

Early January 2018, I walked into a Pilates studio. I hesitantly asked the owner about what it would take to become an instructor. The owner briefly shared some details about training before asking, "What do you really want to do? What do you care about?"

That meeting and those questions redirected my thinking. I completed my Level 1 Mat and Reformer training last Spring, teaching at my hometown studio. This summer I landed in Nashville where I've been privileged to work at a few different studios. Also, I just signed up for Cadillac training. It is crazy where a year takes you. I didn't hit everything on my New Year's plans this year, but my dreams are taking me into 2019.

5x5 Flow

December 2018

While adjusting to a new city and hopscotching studios as I find my place in Nashville, I created my weekly 5x5Flow series. Initially, I did so in an effort to generate more content for my digital spaces and connect with others on a broader level. However, I found myself really looking forward to my 1-2 hours on Monday mornings on my own in the studio. It has been a minute since I’ve worked solo with video and you can see the progression in the series as I get more comfortable/adept at maneuvering camera/body/edits.

The weekly timeline helped stir the creative process consistently – like with exercise, continual effort is crucial. With my work, I tend to be very driven by achievable goals. I’m doing X for Y, etc. Without an endgame in sight, I drift off. However, creativity is a practice. If I only create when there is demand, how deeply am I activating my capacity to imagine, conceive, or cultivate?

Here is the full reel of this adventure to date. Check IG for the in depth breakdown.

Cheers!