My friend asked me the other night what my biggest regret was, and here is another:
“It is about this time exactly a year ago that I first heard of the Franklin Method. The studio in Berkeley that I mainly danced at was having a Franklin Method workshop on the feet. (The ballet school director’s mother was a Franklin Method teacher) Needless to say, I didn’t go. As a struggling dancer/student I didn’t have the 60 dollars or whatever it cost to shell out to attend some who-do-vodoo workshop. My experience with similar techniques at Cornish had made me more than a little skeptical of these alternative movement systems. I just didn’t think they were for me. I am a ballet dancer, straight and pure, the classics! A week or so later I was taking class with a ballet teacher I absolutely love as a part of my week-long preparation for my biggest audition of the season, the Los Angeles Ballet, the one I was flying to LA that Saturday to attend. Interestingly enough, this ballet teacher had taken the workshop, after the ballet class she really want to share what she had learned and I was one of the ones she singled out because she thought this could really help me. She then showed us some exercises rolling our feet on small balls. I have been around the block with these sorts of things but these exercises were different…and it made my feet for the first time in a long time feel BETTER…
I called my parents that night and told them about it, and they were over joyed that I found something that finally made my feet and ankles feel normal…
Two days later, I came down from a changement to heart-break, I had sprained my ankle —- badly. I can push through a lot, like completing an audition on a sprained ankle before, but this time was different, it was excruciating and I couldn’t put weight on it.
Needless to say the rest of that year, basically was dedicated to this injury and the pain in my right foot that resulted from it.” ~journal entry from March 2011
I wonder how my life would have been different if I had gone to that Franklin Method workshop… perhaps I might not have sprained my ankle and had to deal with so much…. Nevertheless, one year later, I did end up in a Franklin Method teacher training. And since then, I’ve done many more trainings. *
Four years ago, I had the dream of reforming the ballet world, making it a healthier, happier place for dancers. This dream, this goal, this plan seemed much too massive. It completely overwhelmed me for a long time.
Then a year and a half ago, my mentor (Anne-Marie Duchêne of Art of Alignment) suggested I research others who are already reforming the ballet world. I found them, so this made me no longer feel so alone, so overwhelmed. I wasn’t alone and yet these people, these visionaries still felt far removed from me. So, really I was still overwhelmed.
How was my dream even remotely possible?
And yet, I knew it was possible.
In May of 2015, I jumped on board with the Hellerwork Structural Integration Training which gave me a vision, a possibility of a very tangible way I could affect more positive change in the lives of ballet dancers. In fact, the next day I got the opportunity to ride the subway and walk to class with my idol in the ballet world, Wendy Whelan!!
Then this past June, these ballet innovators started to contact me. Through email exchanges and in person. Wait, what?!?! The universe really is supporting me!
Jonathan Janis, the founder/director of InBody Space is the amazing, incredible and inspiring man I met in person this past June. In my first meeting with Jonathan, I learned that though we come from very different backgrounds and have studied some of the same stuff, he also has the desire to work with ballet dancers and to help them. Months of working together, communicating, and many meetings later I am proud to be co-hosting and presenting Jonathan Janis teaching “Ballet from the Inside” next week in New York City. This is a complete dream come true for me and a workshop I am beyond proud and honored to be offering to the NYC ballet community. Jonathan came up with the idea for the workshop and is doing all the teaching. I love the title and subject matter – ballet from the inside So much of the time, as ballet dancers we get focused on the outside and even forget about our organs. We don’t realize that by simply connecting to and exploring the movements of our organs we can improve our ballet technique! Plus, the most moving ballet dancers to watch dance from the inside, channeling their inner passion, emotions, and expression into their outer dancing.
And suddenly dancing ballet becomes easier, more fun and looks cleaner…
I now know that the who-do-voodoo stuff really works because I have studied a lot of it, and experienced the results in my own life. And Jonathan is teaching the very best of the best.
Seeing the support the universe has given me, my mission, my vision has expanded (as you might have noticed if you saw my Indiegogo campaign). As I began talking to and working with my performing artist and creatively-inclined friends I saw they needed my help, my support as well. They face challenges very similar to those I have faced in the ballet world. And then, taking this all one step further I realized and connected to a fact I have always know that the arts, the performing arts, creativity is critical in this world and can create real change on this planet.
So yes, I plan to change the world.
Not an overwhelming dream at all! And yet, the funny thing is after three and a half years of overwhelm about reforming the ballet world – changing, reforming the world doesn’t phase me. It all begins with one small step, then the next, then the next, and on and on and on. I now know I am more than capable and am also on exactly the right path.
Written, in part, in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Journey.”
*Learn more at my Indiegogo campaign