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Dance and Pilates - McKenna's Story

About three months ago, I pressed reset on my Pilates journey. Now, as cheesy as the word “journey” may sound (like for real, am I on “The Bachelor?”) it’s the best way to describe it. In reflecting back, I’ve realized that I embarked on this journey around the age of three when I was enrolled in my first dance combo class (stay with me here). After that day, dance became a huge part of my life. I continued dancing all the way through high school and even minored in dance in college. I know what you’re thinking, “Really? You minored in dance?” Yes, I’m that girl and I have zero regrets. I mainly focused on ballet both in high school and in college. I’d love to take ballet classes on the regular now, but at the ripe old age of 24, my ankles can’t handle the impact of jumping anymore.

Through the course of my dance “career,” I’ve sprained my left ankle three times and my right ankle twice. When you sprain anything, you basically cause your ligaments to stretch and they never return to their original strength. So after I graduated from college, I had to hang up pointe shoes. Luckily, during college, I found a new passion: teaching fitness classes. I became a barre instructor. Barre is a method of low-impact exercises that creates long, lean muscles like that of a ballet dancer, without the intensity of doing true ballet exercises. It basically filled the hole that was left by dance.

Fast-forward to last August when I started my MBA as well as a new part time job. I thought I could tackle a 35-hour work week, take three MBA classes, and teach 10-12 barre classes a week. I know, I know… it was a pretty naïve thought. After week one, I realized that there were not enough hours in the day and something had to go. Unfortunately, I had to leave teaching fitness classes behind and since then, I’ve been somewhat lost. Cut to March, when I took my Club Pilates intro class. I immediately fell in love. I signed up that day for my membership. Was it the best decision on a student budget? Absolutely not. Was it the best decision for my physical and mental well-being? Absolutely. Taking class gave me the familiar feeling of working the muscles I used to work, without the pain in my ankles; it gave me a sense of comfort. Don’t get me wrong…. There was still a lot of pain from the soreness, but it was a welcome pain. I took 22 classes in my first month. You could say I was slightly obsessed, but after two weeks, I could tell the difference it was making in my life. Not only was I seeing the definition in my muscles, but I was sleeping better and I was less stressed. When I first joined Club Pilates, I would have frequent back pain and that’s gone now because everything is better supported by my core. I started this story off by saying that I reset my Pilates journey, but if you’ve been paying attention, you can see that I didn’t really start practicing Pilates until a few months ago. In my eyes, I’ve been on my Pilates journey my whole life, I just didn’t know it.

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About the Author: McKenna McVicker is originally from Seattle, but has made her home down in California while pursuing her MBA at Chapman University. When she’s not taking a Pilates class, working or studying, she loves spending her time at Disneyland.


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