I grew up with teachers for parents, (one High School, one Elementary), both taught Phys.Ed. They liked to wander the world with their brood (4 kids), so we grew up in small towns, learning to be open to new experiences and to the people that we met. As a youngster, my passion was for nature and dance of course, as I was born in BC! I could usually get the best of both worlds, until my passion to excel at dance sent me out of the nest at 14, to Toronto, Winnipeg, Montreal and New York.
Never looking back, I was able to make it into the National Ballet of Canada just long enough to have a season and a half with this great company before my body started to seriously complain about how I was treating it. I felt like I needed a hip replacement and I was only 23. Like most young aspiring dancers/athletes I just didn’t want to know what was going on with my body because it might mean that I was less than perfect and I might have to change or even stop what I was doing (competition is fierce in any serious physical endeavor), and the dreams and goals I held for myself may not be my future. The sensible thing to do though, at that point, was to stop and figure out what was going on with my body.
With a list of injuries and an eclectic training, I had been operating a lot on raw talent and sheer will power. And, oh yeah, I had a leg-length discrepancy that I didn’t want to hear about. But then I discovered Pilates, a modality that seeks to educate the mind as to what is optimum for the body in terms of alignment, muscular balance and breathing. My focus and passion found a world to explore that gave me the foundational tools of physical literacy that helped me relate what I knew about the body, through dance and injuries, to others.
After years in Montreal trying to redefine myself as a contemporary dancer and arts coordinator I moved back to BC, opened Victoria Pilates Studio (2000), and also founded Ballet Victoria (2003). In 2008, I left the ballet company and my private practice and was asked to join the clinical team at Shelbourne Physiotherapy in Victoria as a PTA and Clinical Pilates therapist, where I have worked for the past nine years. In this time I have developed close relationships with some of Victoria’s finest physicians and therapists and have grown enormously as a therapist myself.
Because of the on-going comments about my work by my adult clients over the years, “why wasn’t I taught this at school?”, I created a physical education program for Middle School curriculum called Body Mechanics for Kids. The interest in this program has been so enthusiastic that an Elementary and High School version are now in the works. There are some essential principles missing in childhood physical literacy and Body Mechanics for Kids can help teachers to address them.
Physical and Health Education Canada defines Physical Literacy as:
The ability to move with confidence and competence in a wide variety of physical activities in a variety of environments to benefit the healthy development of the whole person.
The biggest development for me in the past decade has been in my search to understand the human spine, and more recently scoliotic pathologies. I am currently spearheading the development of Scolio-Specific Fitness Exercise programs for kids with AIS (Adolescent Idiopathic Scoliosis) as well as adults with Scoliosis here in Victoria and am excited to see how some of these new programs are enhancing peoples’ lives.
Now branching out on my own with TASK Fitness Solutions, I feel I am creating a focus for my work, bringing people to optimum strength and movement through exercise and education. I like to work closely with adults and youth, in a clinical environment, one-on-one, and in small group settings. Many clients referred to me are people with injuries, degenerative diseases and or spinal issues, athletes and of course, dancers. A large number of these people are struggling with chronic pain.
I enjoy teaching and sharing with other therapists and teachers to help create comprehensive and supportive health care choices for our community. I continue to marvel at how the human frame functions, and consistently look forward to unraveling its secrets.