Some of you already know me. Some of you dance with me or train with me as a Bad Girl Ballerina at my gym. Some of you have a sense of who I am from following along with my blogs and social media posts. Others have had custom training programs built or allowed me to coach you through very personal, deep matters.
And then, some of you are new to this Bad Girl Ballerina revolution. Maybe a few of the things I say from time to time strike a chord with you, cause you to question things in your life, or spark up an idea or inspiration. But, you don't quite know what to think of all this yet, which is understandable considering I talk about some pretty controversial stuff sometimes;)
So, in an effort to get to know you better so I can give you what you need to level up and reach your peak performance state, I want to take this opportunity to introduce myself and my Bulletproof Ballerina system.
Then, I invite you to tap that "Email Me Now!" button at the bottom of this post and share a bit about your story with me. Let me know if any of this resonates with you, stirs emotions you maybe haven't even been able to put into words yet, helps to give fears a name, or provides reassurance & hope for your future. Either way, this has been my experience so far, and I'm happy to share it with you.
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 in the ballet world.
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, and other self-destructive behaviors. I thought that if I suffered enough for my art, sacrificed my body and happiness, surely I would be rewarded with success and finally feel “good enough.”
But, all that effort and pain only brought misery…even after I had established a “successful” professional career as a ballet dancer. I was still chased by those mental demons telling me I wasn’t good enough. That not only prevented me from being happy with myself and my ballet, but it actually made me start to despise ballet. I had it all backwards. I was killing myself to please someone else, to impress some undefined entity out there. Once I finally realized “success” required my own approval and fulfillment first, things changed.
My mindset shifted from fighting against my body to working with it. Instead of trying to stuff my body into the ballet mold, ripping and tearing at my joints to reach ballet perfection, I started to learn and appreciate how my unique body works and used that understanding to improve my ballet technique. Instead of trying to deplete and destroy my body at the gym, I started to use cross-training as a means to preserve and enhance it.
Enter my Bulletproof Ballerina experiment. I stopped forcing myself to take ballet class every day and started lifting weights with a specialized technique that felt different than any exercise I had ever done. It made me feel powerful and enhanced my mind-body connection. My focus shifted from quantity of training to quality of movement. Instead of brutalizing my body, I was optimizing it.
I expected my dance career to suffer from breaking away from the traditional bunhead training path. But, far from suffering, it actually reached an entirely new level. Everything improved – the height of my jumps, my speed in petit allegro, my extensions, balance, pirouettes, coordination, and control. It was like I hit a warp zone in my ballet technique. I was training less but found myself with more ability to perform ballet technique than ever before.
From this new cross-training method, I realized that STRENGTH was the secret weapon I had been missing all along…and, not only physical strength but mental strength, as well. By learning to love and appreciate my body, flaws and all, my enjoyment and expressiveness in my art was heightened to a level I had never experienced before. I found myself unafraid to take risks and show myself to the world through my art, which had a huge impact on my performance and my ability to connect with the audience.
This is the value of finding a cross-training method that builds you up rather than breaks you down. It encourages you to develop a new relationship with your body and art…not one based on rigidity and abuse, but on passion and strength. By learning to work with your body, enhancing the things you have control over and adapting to the genetic features you can’t change, you gain a confidence that is undeniable in your self and in your ballet. And, that is priceless. That is what you deserve. That is what gives you fulfillment in your art and in your life.
This has been my experience. Now I want to know about yours. Did any of this resonate with you? Spark up any ideas or issues? Do you share any of the same struggles and mental demons whispering that you're "not good enough?" I would love to hear your story. Smash that email button below and introduce yourself. Share as little or as much as you want. I want to know a little more about the person on the other side reading this;)
Photo credit: Pia Moore