May 22, 2017
Welcome to my journey…
Hey guys, welcome to my page! My first official website and my first time taking a leap into this blogging world. Of course we get to share lots on social media now a days but I wanted a place to call my own, and have a platform to share more about my dance and fitness filled life. Some of you readers may already know more or less about me, but for those who don’t, here’s a little more about this girl behind the keyboard.
For years my world has revolved around dance. Having started out as many other young dancers in Canada, I was a competition baby and I lived for the dance season. I would train all year long leading up to competitions and when the time came round I was not shy, I would compete in solos, duets, groups and in every style possible from ballet to tap to musical theater. I still remember my dear mom renting out my public school gymnasium just for me to have a place to rehearse outside of studio times.
So it came as no surprise, that when I was 11 I made the decision to push myself deeper into the dance world and move away from home to study at a private ballet school on the other side of the country. It was sort of like the Hogwarts of Ballet Schools haha I would go to school, study dance and live in a residence with around 20 other international dancers all aspiring to become the best they could possibly be. Seemed like a no brainer!
While studying at The National Ballet School I was exposed to so many new and different learning opportunities and began working with my body in a whole new way. My life went from regular school days and after school dance lessons to 6 days a week of ballet classes and living in a residence with 2-3 other dance driven roommates.
Our days would consist of resident wake up calls, cafeteria breakfasts, academics in matching green kilts and afternoon till evening dance classes ranging from ballet to modern. For endurance and strength training we also had body conditioning and pool classes in our weekly schedule. Although we were more interested in attempting synchronised swimming routines, we spent most of our time in the pool working on conditioning or doing core exercises along the edge. It was back then that I was introduced to the different benefits of strength training and seeing how it would benefit me as a dancer.
Nutrition also became something to be aware of. Growing up in a ballet residence with a cafeteria was a huge blessing of course. All of our meals were prepared by chefs based on a ‘healthy lifestyle’ so I was already learning what kind of nutrition I needed to feed my body, but thats not to say I didn’t have my share of struggles. It still took a bumpy journey for me to get to where I am today with understanding what MY body needs to run.
I noticed around the age of 15 that the form of my build was perhaps not that of an ideal ballet dancer. It’s like I looked down one day and I had hips and thighs and an ass that didn’t seem to disappear the more I tucked under. I went through a roller coaster of yoyo dieting and was offered guidance with my nutrition. For a period I was struggling so I turned to fitness as a way to help me control the state of my body, only back then my understanding of fitness still meant spending hours on an elliptical doing cardio.
After leaving Canada I had spent the past 7 years living and breathing ballet. I had gained the experience I wanted as a dancer with so many highs and many lows, but was still feeling kind of lost in my journey of learning to love my body both as a dancer AND as a person.
It wasn’t until I graduated and had moved to study at Codarts in Rotterdam that I began to see my body through new eyes. Perhaps it was just a coming of age and popping the ballet bubble I was in for so long but with a change of setting and some personal growth I became more motivated to work with my body and embraced the things I was somehow ashamed of before because it didn’t fit the ideal body type of a ballet dancer.
Fitness became not only a sense of research time for me, but also a form of physical and mental therapy. I started training at a gym that featured some raw athletes, powerlifters and die hard bodybuilders. The whole vibe there was beastmode. I would spend evenings and weekends there just working with my body and discovering new things and almost every time with my partner in crime and long time love Mo Naaleye.
In 2013 I was ready to do more and wanted a bigger goal to focus on with my training in the gym. So I decided to cross something off my bucket list and signed up for my first bikini competition. Together with Mo as my trainer and coach, I spent 12 weeks preparing for what I thought was gonna be a small beginner fitness competition. The previous year 6 girls had competed and the year I showed up, 68 girls had entered! A lot had entered in previous competitions and had some experience. At first I couldn’t believe what I had signed myself up for, I am no stranger to the stage having spent half my life either on stage or preparing to get on stage. But this was something different, a new way of presenting a physique. Not through carefully choreographed movement but through a snapshot moment, a few short moments to pose stand still and capture the audience and judges while presenting 12 weeks of hard work.
Through it all, my coach was able to keep me calm and focussed on executing our plan and at the end of the day I ended up walking away with second place overall! With a silver trophy and a smile on my face… and a very intense spray tan. After speaking to some of the judges I received the feedback that I would have won gold, had my tan not been slightly too dark! It got my fire burning and I promised myself I would compete again and capture gold!
Even though I was still working as a freelancer during my competition prep, after competing I turned my full focus back onto my dance but then with a new body and new mindset and a new understanding of what my body was capable of. I was able to apply so much of what I had learned physically, mentally, nutrition and training wise, it got me even more motivated.
I love the chaos of my freelance life and if Im not working in the studio or on a stage,or travelling for shows and performances you will probably find me in the gym. Of course staying in shape for my work is necessary but thats not what motivates me anymore, its the personal goals I set for myself. I find that it enriches my life, health is wealth and that is simply the truth. And just like I was ready to push my fitness to a new goal of competing, I feel like this is my next push of melting my two worlds together and starting to share more of that with you!
So whether your just looking for a little workout motivation, some flexibility training, some bubble butt exercises or maybe helpful nutrition tips, I plan to share a whole bunch of that and more. But until then, thanks for taking a read and I hope you are curious for more! Next weeks article will be kicking off with some booty breakdown, focusing on basic glute engagement and some of my favourite warm up exercises for bootybuilding! Be sure to read it and to let me know if it helped you!
Love your body, love the journey.
S.Tags: Art, Dance, Entertainment, Fitness, Music