Health Coaching for Dancers!

Today I will be featuring Jessica Spinner, founder and health coach of The Whole Dancer. I hope you enjoy what she has to say on this TGIF and please check out her free webinars on-line, as well as other services and programs for serious dance students and professional dancers.

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Finding gratitude as professional dancers is so important. Sometimes after dancing for many years and working so hard everyday, dancers start to feel burnt out.

Those are the most important times to come back to gratitude…

I remember early in my dance career, a non – dance friend saying, “so you just dance around all day?”

And I though, Ugh, if they only knew how hard ballet is they wouldn’t put it so lightly. Now, looking back on that moment, I have a very different perspective.

Professional dancers really do have the amazing privilege of dancing almost every day. Yes, it can be exhausting. Yes, it is HARD work.

No, it’s not all fun and games and as I was reminded by a very intense teacher during my more serious training, “everything is not beautiful at the ballet.”

Finding your happiness as a dancer doesn’t always come naturally. It’s important to make a regular practice of gratitude.

Just like taking class every day, aspiring professional dancers and those who have already “made it” should take the time to acknowledge the unique position you’re in.

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Most people will never know the shear joy of captivating an audience with movement or the fun of dancing in a corps de ballet with some of their best friends.

As a former professional ballet dancer turned health coach I am so grateful for the special opportunity I have now to help dancers create a more balanced mindset and a healthy and long – lasting career.

Mental and physical health can be neglected as teachers and artistic directors are typically more concerned with the exterior aesthetic – understandably. The look of the dancer is a big focus and training an aspiring dancer to have beautiful technique is a sizable task.

I see a major place for health coaching in the dance world so in August I founded The Whole Dancer and launched The Whole Dancer Program – an 8 – week group program designed exclusively with ballet dancers in mind.

The group program covers: goal setting, eating well, cross – training, personal assessment, self – love/care and career. So basically, all the things that should happen outside the studio to help you become a well – rounded artist and individual.

There are also more focused one – on – one programs for dancers who are seeking more personal guidance and desire a devoted mentor outside of their current circle.

In the short time since the inception of The Whole Dancer, working with aspiring dancers through seasoned professionals has been beyond rewarding. Words cannot convey how humbled I am to hear that they feel the trajectory of their careers is forever improved from their participation in the The Whole Dancer programs.

Sometimes we feel we know all the right things we should be doing but with The Whole Dancer you get to additional support and accountability to help you follow through and take the best possible care of yourself.

Thank you dancehealthier for spreading the message of health to dancers and for sharing The Whole Dancer with your readers.

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Dare to be

Dare to be:

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

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When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine the light.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

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When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When something doesn’t work, dare to try it again.

When all you want to do is give up, dare to keep moving forward.

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When another is lost, dare to help them find their way.

When a friend falls, dare the be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can be – one step at a time.

Dare to dancehealthier.

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1st Photograph: My family.

2nd Photograph: Alexander Peters from Pennsylvania Ballet before Rubies Pas de deux.

3rd Photograph: My parents steeeeeeeeep climb.  They are over 60, I’ll just say!

4th Photograph: Myself before my last entrance. Retirement. Four Temperaments.

Keep moving forward

As dancers, we tend to always ache for something more. That “more” varies at different levels and changes with time and space, taking the shape of a bell curve, or may be best described as a “roller coaster ride.” Dancers are dreamers, unconventional, creative, motivated and driven people. A dancer’s expectation is to grow artistically throughout their career, which inevitably changes their everyday life outside the studio. We seek things, more and more and more. Because when that “more” is felt, it makes you feel a rush.  A rush of adrenaline.  A rush of euphoria.  A rush of serotonin. Mostly, a rush of accomplishment.  With accomplishment comes confidence. With confidence comes more and more and more.

Unfortunately, the reality of the “roller coaster ride” sets precedence and the low times are inevitable. However, it is important for the dancer to experience the low times so he/she can appreciate the better times that much more. The more a dancer can understand this concept, the easier things will be for them. Ultimately, handling the hard times and pushing forward, or in other words, defeating your own defeat is just as much of an accomplishment, if not more, than being handed a silver platter at all times.

Remember though to not be so hard on yourselves and believe in yourself no matter what. When you can find your own happiness, regardless of what is happening around you, then life will be much easier for you inside and outside the studio.  It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters. Listen to yourself, believe in yourself, and keep pushing onward and up. In dance, but most importantly in your own life. Lastly, surround yourself amongst people who believe in you and your believe in other people too. People need you just as much as you need people.

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Need a good book to read: “Wild,” by Cheryl Strayed, A walkabout of reinvention. Read this review by Dwight Garner, from the New York Times. (I heard from a lil’ birdy that it is being made into a movie).

logo_largeCopyright 2011-2015. Contact @ dancehealther@gmail.com. And remember to dancehealthier. Logo Design by: Anthony Magliano.

dancehealthier highlighted in 2015

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I’d rather have a life of ‘oh wells’ than a life of ‘what ifs’. New Year’s resolution number 1. For dancehealthier’s sake, it is my hope in the year 2015 to create an even better forum, base and platform for the integration of dance & health. To do so, as founder/author of dancehealthier, I understand and know it is my duty and obligation to move forward with ideas, creativeness, thoughtfulness in the hope to educate, advocate and push the limits for dancer wellness and health.

Since the launch date of dancehealthier in August 2011, my blog has been noted and recognized by the Missouri Arts Council blog, Living Wellness Kansas City Magazine, articles of interest on Muhlenberg College’s website, and numerous dance and health related blogs. Dancehealthier has provided workshops and seminars for academy dance students, college students, pre-professional ballet dancers, and dance teachers. In 2015, the plan is to continue this momentum and gain more notoriety in a field that will inevitably continue to grow in the world of dance with time (even if slow).

In 2014, dancehealthier popularized, was shared, viewed and networked at increasing speeds (I promise my stat page proves it), and it is my hope in 2015 to exceed this networking speed gigantically. With this said, I need your help. Help spread the word, share it to friends, dance teachers, schools, ballet companies, wellness/health professionals and providers.

I wish you all a happy new year and please look forward to new topics that will make you smile a little too.

logo_largeCopyright 2011-2015. Contact @ dancehealther@gmail.com. And remember to dancehealthier. Logo Design by: Anthony Magliano.

Applause to you, OHhhHHhhhhh Kansas City.

The loyal Royals overcame big turmoil.

They work very hard and did it with laughter,

Which made me one very happy ballet dancer.

photo (9)KCB dancers watching the Royals WIN the series, leading to a World Series & a blue wild city.

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Another big win in KC was at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center, with sold out crowds to Alice In Wonderland.  With a Royals Towel brought out at the curtain speech, thanks to Mr. Devon Carney.

GO ROYALS GO, and GO ALICE GO!  Not too shabby Kansas City! Applause to you, OoHHhhhHHhh Kansas City.photo (8)