So let’s start by being totally honest here....
t age 5 I was kicked out of ballet. Yup! Kicked out. Why? Because I wanted to do my own thing after only minimal instruction from the teacher. They called it a barre; I saw a jungle gym. They called it center work; I thought it was the green light to go rogue and free flow like the wild spirit that I am.
I may have been just a tiny kid but something about that free space of the floor and the way I felt in my soft pink little tights, undeniably compelled me to leap and twirl with all the energy I had from down deep inside. And the movements of ballet still inspire me this way!
But ballet is not a just a soft pink color to accent with; it is a SPORT! One that you don’t get a bunch of fancy equipment for just a pair of shoes (maybe) and you better bring you’re A game. Alignment game that is. Because if you want to nail that triple pirouette or leap into a split and back again like nothing happened, your going to need it!
What I love most about ballet other than how it has healed my injuries, it that it's controlled chaos. It is a personal competition of how well you can orchestrate your body via passion and precision. You have to know what muscles to turn on and what muscles to turn off. All with a symphony of inhale and exhale and arms and how you turn your head. Your ability to perform the movement depends on the conditioning of each and every muscle down to your toes. Literally your toes; ask any of my clients.
My childhood dance background...
consists of watching my friends get driven off to dance class as I waited for them to return home.
When I was 11 my parents split up. My mother emotionally fell apart and my father buried himself in work that required travel. The luxury of activities just wasn't in the cards. So I watched all of my friends in the neighborhood go off to dance class and all sorts of activities. Since I couldn’t go there myself I spent every moment I could picking their brains about what they were doing in dance class and mimicking their movements. I would jam out in my bedroom to my favorite songs when no one was home dreaming someday of a life that allowed me more time for creativity. That’s the extent of my childhood dance background.
I know this isn’t your typical bio. And most people can boast about their degree and how many years of dance experience they have, but not me. My story is a little different and it took me a very long time to become brave enough to be vulnerable enough to talk about it about. And to love and appreciate myself for major challenges I had to overcome to be the woman and the coach that I am today.
At age 17, I was in an almost fatal car accident...
that left me in pain and more pain that would come 10 years later due to an undiagnosed additional body misalignment issue.
My tiny little frame was tossed through my seatbelt of the back seat and into the windshield. Thank God.... literally I am thankful that God was protecting me that day. Instead of breaking my neck and dying instantly, my left foot had gotten caught under the drivers seat and saved my life!
My neck was definitely injured and the natural curve in my neck was straightened from the impact, I snapped 3 bones in my foot completely in half. I had surgery to put them in place and had temporary metal pins holding the bones together and protruding from my skin until removed. The worst part wasn't the pins hanging out of my foot for 6 weeks until the bones set. It was the deeper soft tissue trauma of my neck muscles, Quadratus Lumborum, Soleous and other tendons in my foot as well as the complexities from a right on left hip rotation from the accident. Which I unknowingly made worse (because it wasn't diagnosed at that time) by standing on that hip improperly for 12 weeks as my left foot recovered. Sciatic pain and knee pain followed and the pin ball of other pains due to the body misalignments. It was a mess and for a very long time. Through my personal training career with the a focus on corrective exercise I slowly pealed back the layers of the onion one by one the best that I could. Things really started moving in the right direction after my barre certification in 2012. And it was actually my feeling that there was a big gap between physical therapy and regular workouts that launched my career in fitness in 2005.
How I created The Barre Relevé
I unknowingly, at the time, began creating the barre relevé because my injuries had reached an all time level of pain forcing me to dig deeper into the discovery of movements that could help. Previously I had managed to keep my pain at bay and make some improvements along the way. But overtime the underlying issues that neither fitness or physical therapy was helping continued to cause me excruciating pain. I knew I had to start from scratch so I sold my heavy training equipment (reluctantly) and put all forms of exercise that aggravated my hip on hold including cardio. 😩. It was a seriously rough time. But I am not a quitter! So I began studying ballet as a way to physically challenge myself in a way that way that was constructive to my body and mind.
It was shortly after introducing barre to my training career that I began to notice that just about anyone with a drivers license had similar hip misalignment issues. And as I began to dive into dance anatomy books I realized that the supporting leg in ballet may also have the same tightness as the supporting leg in a non dancer.
It all clicked; it doesn’t matter who you are or what you're profession; the human body is designed symmetrically but when used other wise on a regular basis we are pulled from our alignment. This misalignment to an athlete is what’s stopping them from from reaching further or becoming stronger in an area to achieve a certain movement. To the non athlete it was the source of pain, lack of mobility or discomfort. And to the client trying to tighten that tiny space around the top of her arm or top inner thigh it’s the same; ALIGNMENT! If it’s not functioning properly there are going to be problems. And although our problem areas may vary; the bodies need for alignment is the same!