It seems like yesterday but it was many years ago…
My days as a professional ballet dancer with the American Ballet Theater were incredibly rewarding, filled with classes, rehearsals and performances that allowed me to realize a dream. Many of those dreams were fulfilled in dancing wonderful roles including the pas de trois from “Swan Lake”, (with Natalya Markova as the swan queen), soloist roles in “Etudes”, Tudor’s “Undertow” and “Sleeping Beauty” to name a few.
I was honored to share the stage with the most talented artists of that time and I was mesmerized by their performances.
But it was grueling.
At times, despite my great love of the art form, it was the most intense, physically challenging and often painful experience of my life.
The athletic elements of ballet were so energy depleting that I rarely walked anywhere. Imagine living in Manhattan and finding it difficult to stroll in the Big Apple (aside from the necessary commute to and from rehearsals and the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center).
There were times when my legs were drained of their energy and sapped of their strength , leaving no ability to use my muscles for any non-ballet tasks (of course hindsight is 20/20, and as I look back now I realize that I was using a lot more effort in my dancing than necessary).
Once I retired from performing, I began teaching ballet at New York University, Montclair State University and a number of well known New York dance studios. The intense muscle work had ended but I was surprised to still feel discomfort and pain.
Fortunately the Alexander Technique came into my life. I heard how it helped sufferers to identify poor postural habits by using certain tools and techniques to acquire more ease and efficiency. I knew it was time to take action.
I soon discovered that I needed to live more “in the moment” in order to change my ingrained habit, including inefficient muscular patterns. This wonderful discovery allowed me to recondition my alignment into something more ease-fully upright. In 2003, after three years and 1600 hours of study, I became a certified Alexander Technique teacher.
I have studied ballroom dancing for 12 years, competed and won first places, but I doubt I would have been able to transition into this ‘also demanding’ endeavor without the skills that I have learned from the Alexander Technique.
I dedicated my days to helping others the way it helped me. Now I work with other ballroom dancers merging my love of free movement with the skills learned from F. M. Alexander’s discovery.
Every day I am thankful for the gift of this remarkable technique and the fact that I can utilize its powerful tools any time I choose!