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ascballerina

A Reintroduction

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ascballerina

As I have now been on Ballet Talk for seven years (as of yesterday!! ūüėģ), I thought I would tell a little bit about where I am now, as I started in the YD forums, and after a semi-hiatus (was still reading but rarely posting), I find that I'm posting here again.

This June I graduated from a well-respected teacher training program after three years of amazing training.  Over the course of those three years, I learned a lot about not only teaching dance, but also myself and what I wanted to do in life.  I also came to terms with the fact that I never had the training opportunities to attempt a professional career, as I spent a lot of that time with overuse injuries and also had the opportunity to be exposed to the training of pre-pro students, and realised I would probably not have been happy in that environment.  I also learned that I prefer smaller studios with recreational dancers--there is a lot of joy for me in bringing ballet to the world just for the sake of doing so.  I currently do have a student I am training with the goal of getting into a university dance program (her goal, and we have some time), but it makes for a nice change rather than a day-in-day-out situation.

I also discovered another passion, Pilates and fascial fitness.  Sometime in second year, when I had been taking Pilates (with inherent fascial work, which I badly needed) for as long as I had been in the city, I took stock of my career choice and determined a few things:

1.  I have a lot of student debt

2.  Being a dance teacher is not going to pay the bills, especially in the beginning

3. I was not interested in being a starving artist

4.  I was also not interested in slaving away at a job I hated/was bored by so that I could support my artistic side (working at a call centre really makes you think about your priorities)

So with that line of reasoning, I've begun a path of joint careers:  this summer I became a certified STOTT PILATES instructor for Reformer and Mat (having taken the training and been teaching since last October).  I took Total Barre training (it's like being paid to stay in shape it's great), and I also teach Merrithew Fascial Movement.  I'm working three dance teaching jobs and five Pilates/fitness jobs, and taking the bus all over the city, to every corner of the city!  I love the way the two complement each other, and I like that they are two very different modalities, yet I'm still teaching, which I have definitely discovered a passion for.  

So with all that said, hi again everyone!!

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mom2

Hello again ascballerina!  Thanks for giving us the update!  I'm so proud of you!

 

mom2

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dcns

Great to hear your story!  My DD ended her pursuit of a dance job over a year ago and this fall started Pilates training and is LOVING it!  Glad you have found a passion!

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Momof3darlings

Nice to hear of your story and your progression!  We can't wait to see what is in store for you!

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Victoria Leigh

We are all very proud of you, and hope you will continue to share your experiences with us. Thank you for the¬†update! ūü§ó

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Eligus
On ‚Äé10‚Äé/‚Äé12‚Äé/‚Äé2018 at 4:48 PM, ascballerina said:

Merrithew Fascial Movement

Welcome back...  I am REALLY interested in this topic, is there anyway you can share/post/educate us about what you are discovering in the fascia aspect?  Why did you pick this area to study?

I just started researching some articles/you tube postings on fascia release as a way to address (possibly?) some issues my DD is working on with regard to her leg shape.  There is what looks like a great deal of "marketing" out there, without a lot of scientific study, but it is my opinion that this topic area might be extremely helpful for tight hip flexors (?), tight Achilles (?), and possibly sculpting the long, lean muscles every ballet dancer craves.  So in addition to the "marketing" stuff, I think there might be some really interesting facts out there that I'd love to discover.

I'm not trying to blow up your welcome back post, so maybe a new post on this topic is called for.... but your comment caught my eye as something I'm really interested in and I think fascia  is a really untapped area of study that may help a lot of dancers.  If you can point me to a book or course you are studying, that would be extremely helpful.

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ascballerina

Hey Eligus,

Here is a link that describes some of the elements of the work, although in the context of the workshop for teachers: https://www.merrithew.com/instructor-training/fascial-movement/courses.  It recommends this textbook, which is actually an easy read and not that long.  There are some cadaver pictures but even with my phobia I was ok with what was shown: 

Fascia: What it is and Why it Matters by David Lesondak

Merrithew Fascial Movement is based on some of the latest research, and I've been incoprorating it into my Pilates work as well.  Merrithew also has the Zen-ga brand, which does include fascial work and was the basis of my beginning exploration in the field (first as a student, then as an instructor), but Fascial Movement is /very/ different from anything I have taught before, and I've been getting good results from both just Fascial Movement and also a blend of the fascial work I've been exploring over the years.  I treat things on a case-by-case basis.  What's interesting is that rather than "principles", we have "variables", such as Bounce, and then you learn a whole bunch of ways to achieve that variable. I do a lot of Injuries and Special Populations work, and I have a particular focus on dancers when I can get them.  I actually do a lot of work with dancers from rec schools in the area, and I do sometimes have the opportunity to teach a class to professional dancers/students, but their schedules are so packed sometimes it is difficult for them to come.  I tend to use a blend of Merrithew work (STOTT PILATES, Zen-ga, Fascial Movement) with all my clients, and that arises from both the fact that my local instructor trainer does things that way, and also my own rehab journey, as I discovered a lot of the "tightness" I was feeling while stretching was fascial rather than muscular, so working with the fascia helped me to become more flexible, (so that I could actually stretch productively--not that I will ever enjoy doing that nor make it much of a priority in life).  It also helped me get over some of my overuse injuries that plagued me for my first two years of school.  I had other random issues, the most annoying being a twist in my abdomen which gave me the appearance of one side of obliques being REALLY strong (one side of my hip being closer to the opposite ribs than the other set) and was variable, i.e. some days it was worse than others (fascial pull, not structural at all.  Had it checked by a physio.).  I remember saying to a ballet teacher in frustration one day that it felt like I had a different body every day that I had to learn how to work with.  Some days you could see it just to see me stand and some (most) days I'd have to be lying down for it to be obvious.  It lead to a bad habit in first year of me forcing turnout on the left side in 5th when that foot was in front in an effort to force my hip backward, because I couldn't figure out how else to fix it--as it was I always felt like I was doing obliques only on the one side just to try to stand straight, and it still wasn't enough.  It took about six months of adding the Fascial Movement work into what I was doing already, but the pull is gone.  So certainly the fact that I saw results in my own self helped to direct my course of study.

I would not be comfortable per se beginning a topic on this, as I am not an instructor trainer, and it is a trademarked brand, which I'm pretty sure violates both some of Merrithew's rules and also possibly some on this board.  I would be happy to share some general information about how I use fascial work in general to help dancers, but that would be all I am comfortable doing.

edit:  sorry for the strange text sizing, I have no idea why it's doing that. I'm too old to be techy anymore, apparently!!!

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Eligus

Thank you!  That general introduction is exactly what I've been looking for!! 

I find this stuff fascinating -- especially the details you've shared about your own personal frustration and solution search, since I find it inspiring when dancers see and talk about the fact that no one's body is "perfect."  The fact that you and others are willing to attack problems head on and search for a workable solution encourages others to do the same.  It's easy to become discouraged in this profession, so (in my opinion) it's helpful when problems are addressed objectively and with an unrelenting enthusiasm to fix the underlying issues, rather than the symptoms.

Again, forgive me for glomming onto your re-introduction post, but thank you so much for sharing a piece of your journey!!  For what it is worth, I really do feel like you've started down a path of study that will explode with usefulness in the future, as we learn more and more about how the body actually works.

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ascballerina

There was a joke in the teacher training program that we had "non-dancer bodies being asked to do dancer things" (re: the injury rate).  Truth is, everyone's body has something, and it's about how you learn to work with it that helps you progress in your career.  I've often explained to people that physios are where you go after you've hurt yourself, and you get your "antibiotics" there, wheras the work I do is more like vitamins that you take to prevent getting sick--or after you do get sick in the interest of not getting sick again.

No worries--I enjoy talking about my work!  The problem-solving is what makes it fun. ^.^

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