Bad Girl Ballerina Blog
My Personal Story
I was never meant to be a ballerina. My genetics did not give me the "perfect" ballerina body. My short limbs and athletic build are far from the long graceful lines that are desired. Although I started dancing at the age of three, I didn't have access to the prestigious schools the elite dancers hail from. Nonetheless, I had an incredible passion for dancing and worked hard to be the best I could be. Unfortunately, my attempt at being "the best" involved decades of torturing myself with eating disorders, perfectionism, compulsive exercise addiction, low self-esteem, self-destructive behaviors, constant anxiety, and limiting beliefs, just to name a few. All of this evolved from trying to be a good-girl bunhead and doing whatever it took to get to the top. If I followed all the rules and made sacrifices to my happiness, then I would surely be rewarded with success, right?Fast forward a few decades and professional contracts. I had actually made a career out of my dancing despite all my self-doubt. I performed principal and soloist roles with multiple companies across the country. I was dancing professionally in NYC (with as many as four companies at a time) where there is no shortage of amazing dancers to compete with. I should have been satisfied with my dancing and the level I had achieved.On the contrary, I found myself starting to despise dance. I still loved performing and couldn't imagine my life without being able to express myself through my art. But, I still had this sickening feeling that I was never good enough; that I would never measure up to that perfect ballerina image I had in my head no matter how hard I worked and punished myself. Plus, I started to notice all the time and dedication required to keep myself in "ballet shape" was limiting my life. I wanted to experience, explore, and enjoy all that life had to offer outside of ballet...to break out of my bunhead shell. I was tired of following all my rules and still hating myself. I wanted more passion and enjoyment out of life.Enter my BULLETPROOF BALLERINA experiment: I decided to break the rules. I stopped taking class every day. I started lifting weights. I gave myself (gasp!) a day off following my workouts to recover and let my body rest. I picked up snowboarding and surfing as new hobbies. I indulged in passions and pleasures outside of ballet. I was a "Bad Girl Ballerina" by ballet's traditional standards. But, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was finally free to enjoy life and grow as a whole person.I expected my dance career to suffer from these changes. But, far from suffering, I actually reached an entirely new level with my dancing. It was like I hit a warp zone and skipped ahead to a new playing field. I was training less but found myself with more strength and ability for ballet technique than ever before. Not only did my physical body change, but my mental state transformed as well. I found my love for dancing again. My outside interests fueled my expressiveness. I had more passion and emotions to put into my performances. The more full I was as a human being...the more I could put into my dancing. And perhaps most importantly, I stopped hating myself. I learned to love my unique gifts and to put myself first; not in an egotistical way but in not living my life according to how others said I should live, be, feel. Through my ABF transformation and breaking free from the norm, I found my voice, my true self.This is my chance to share these secrets and techniques with you. ABF and the Bad Girl Ballerina mentality provide the tools you need to find your true voice that you've been stifling for so long. No longer fighting to fit in with the stereotypes of a bunhead, I've fully embraced my Bad Girl Ballerina self. Sometimes you have to break the rules to get what you want...you're worth it, trust me.
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Photo Credits: Rachel Neville Photography