I feel like I’ve been preparing for this career my whole life. I am a life-long dancer. I grew up in South Carolina and danced with the South Carolina Dance Theatre—dancing in more Nutcrackers than you can shake a stick at.
In 8th grade, I was cast as Clara in the Nutcracker. Two months before the performance, I fractured my fibula during PE class. I was put in a cast and told to rest for weeks, despite being deep into rehearsals for the show. The director of the company insisted I at least come watch rehearsals. The frustrations between what my physical therapist wanted me to do and what my dance teacher wanted me to do launched my desire to be a physical therapist for dancers. That goal, though not achieved specifically, led to my career.
By modeling a good workout ethic for her then 2-year-old, we’d work out together in the living room to her beloved Jane Fonda album. She’s my mother, so maybe I’ll give her this one.
I attended Florida State University where I majored in dance and biology. After suffering through Organic Chemistry, I dropped the double major to focus on dance. I continued my coursework, very much enjoying Anatomy & Physiology, Kinesiology and my professor Tom Welsh’s unique Conditioning course.
The end of my senior year brought 2 strained calf muscles and quite the limp. After the requisite physical therapy left me far from recovered, Tom offered some exercises on this weird machine that he kept in his giant closet along with his skeleton (I’m not making this up). My calves recovered well. End of story. Or so I thought.
While there, I was in rehearsals with another dancer who was training in a new exercise method. She needed a guinea pig to practice on and I happily volunteered since I have always enjoyed exercise. I met up for our first session and walked into a room full of those weird machines from my professor’s closet. Who knew?
And there began my relationship with the Kane School of Core Integration. I spent three years training and doing work-study to pay for said training, then apprenticing, finishing my certification, and finally supervising new teachers—my favorite part!
After another unfortunate experience with a physical therapist, I decided maybe I was better off sticking with where I was. I loved the Pilates Method, and Kelly Kane’s approach was different from others. Not only did we learn the classical exercises; the other half of our training helped us develop our touch skills, hone our understanding of the body’s biomechanics, and show numerous examples of “real” people in the world and the conditions they bring. We covered spinal conditions like scoliosis and osteoporosis, frozen shoulders, hip replacements, meniscal tears, ankle sprains, plantar fasciitis, and many others.
What I realized in my first few years of teaching and working through my own injuries, is that unless trauma is involved (and I wouldn’t be the first stop caregiver in a trauma situation anyhow) most issues reflect a need to rebalance structures.
And this might take us more than “6-8 visits” to achieve. But I have an appreciation for the long game. The clients who stick with me do, too. I have been able to help those going the traditional PT route to advocate for better care, and to navigate and supplement their home programs.
Although I didn’t achieve my original goal, I am exactly where I didn’t know I wanted to be. My work is extremely fulfilling and I hope to share it with you all.
I’m not going to blow out all the juicy bits in one blog post. Look for more information on my first studio, meeting my mentor Madeline Black, packing up and moving South to Athens, GA and having a baby! Stay tuned.
Life needs balance.
March 21, 2020 in Athens, Atlanta, Pilates and tagged conditioning, exercise, kane school of core integration, kelly kane, madeline black, physical therapy, pilates method, rebalance, scoliosis, south carolina dance theatre. Bookmark the permalink.