My first career was as an international performing artist based in Amsterdam for five years. I trained in classical piano from age 5-12. My piano was my BFF. It kept my mind busy and fingers focused and challenged. The top of my finger got ripped off at 12 years old during a sailing accident on Catalina Island, California. While pulling away from the dock, my finger got caught on the rope. The rope snapped it off, leaving my finger hanging by threads. I got lucky. They could sew it back on. I discovered I had a sense of humor. All the adults were freaking out about my finger, which gushed blood all over the white deck, while I cracked a joke about losing my longest fingernail. It was a painful loss.
My finger is still damaged from it; I feel the nerves as I type. I could not play piano any longer, and I had been aiming to be a concert pianist. The pain was intense… It was my first really good injury. Learning how to manage pain and a throbbing finger was a valuable lesson. I had to surrender to the pain. And I felt lost without my piano, which was the anchor of my reality. I acted out… a story for another chapter.
The injury to my finger ( I don’t believe in accidents) was my gateway to my true passion: Movement and art with my body and voice. The door to my career as a performing artist opened once I met Jeanette McQuin, a ballerina and schoolmate, in Junior High.
Jeanette always had her hair in a perfect ballerina bun. Makeup flawless. Her posture showed she was badass. She walked like a lioness with the power and confidence I wanted. We became friends, and she invited me over to her house, which had a mini ballet studio in her bedroom, complete with a ballet barre, wood floors, and a mirror.
She told me to point my feet. I did not know how, so she showed me. It was weird, but it felt good to move my feet like that. She rightly exclaimed that I had the perfect ballet feet. I did not know why or how this could be. I just had feet.
I came home to my mom and begged to take ballet classes with her. It was expensive. My mom agreed to let me try first at the local park and rec to see if I really did like it. I took one class a week for a few months and was hooked. It was hard, and I loved the challenge. It made me use my musicality of piano, and I could move it through my body. I was addicted. I still am.
At 14 years old, I enrolled with Jeanette at the best ballet school in LA at the time. It was only 15 minutes from our home. We discovered that LACSHA, the LA County High School for the Arts, was opening the following year. This was HUGE; this was the sister school to the NY School for the Arts. In the 1980s, there was a cool movie called FAME, which was about high school students in NY wanting to become famous. I wanted it.
In under six months, Meredith Baylis, the former head of the Joffrey Ballet in the USA, had me ready to audition for the first LA County High School for the Arts. I got in!! I got to go to a world-class school thanks to the dedication of my family to see me live the life of my dreams. I had world-class training with Meredith Baylis and graduated from the LA County High School for the Arts as a dance major in 1989.
I was accepted into NYU, Julliard, and SUNY Purchase, the rival of Julliard that was more affordable too. I attended SUNY Purchase for two years and had the honor of being trained in Martha Graham technique, Jose Limon bounce and release technique, Pilates, GA GA dance by Israeli choreographer OHAD Naharin, and Susan Klein injury prevention. Since then, I have also been certified in Yoga by Ganga White and Tracey Rich. I cannot teach about herbal medicine without integrating movement, diet, lifestyle, heart, body, mind, and spirit.
I am bringing theatre arts, an integral part of healing arts, with herbal medicine, aromatherapy, diet + lifestyle wisdom, movement, breath, joy, dance, song, ballet, contemporary dance, vocal training, and language arts (French, Dutch, Spanish), to our community and to my formulation strategies for my clinical care and natural products industry consulting work.