The only saving grace about my Dancers Shape barre class is that it doesn’t start until 9:30am. I can sleep in a wee bit and slide into full consciousness at a reasonable pace. Because there is nothing reasonable about the paces that Jennifer McCamish puts us through. . . But that’s exactly why we all show up.
I added the Dancers Shape barre class to my pilates routine a few months ago, as a way to up the ante. The ante still has a way to ascend, but I return every Tuesday. Because someday I’m gonna get through the entire hour. And those ten gazillion butt lifts.
Sweet Jennifer, she’s encouraging and exacting. And she’s a former student of mine from UT! There is, for sure, a karmic thing going on. I’m sure that my dance history and criticism classes seemed something of a relentless bootcamp themselves.
After earning her BA in Dance from UT-Austin, Jennifer headed for London, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and New York, where she danced professionally for 13 years–as a Radio City Rockette! (Man, I’m feeling old.) Now, with extensive training in injury prevention, personal training, and Stott Pilates?, she has opened up her own Dancers Shape studio back here in Austin, at 5350 Burnet Rd, # 7.
Jennifer is one powerful woman, so I asked her to share her thoughts about women and power:
How do you define power?
Accomplishing goals and dreams gracefully through a positive attitude and thought process, that is power. The mind is full of energy and I have experienced how strong and productive or weak that energy can make you. Believing in yourself and not fearing failure builds courage and allows you to take big risks and to go for your dreams, even when others doubt your abilities. Being afraid of failing holds you back from experiences that can help you grow into a powerful individual. You have to experience failure in order to know you are pushing yourself in life. The amount of strength it takes to pick yourself back up from a failed experience and turn it into a positive learning experience is invaluable for building a powerful you.
Everyone should embrace all their potential power so they can take more control of their future and change any thoughts or predetermined paths with which they might not be totally satisfied.
When do you feel most powerful?
I feel powerful when I make dreams become a reality. This is never an easy task, so when the hard work and focus pay off it is a feeling that can’t be touched. Not only do I get this feeling with my own dreams but also when I know I have touched a client’s life. When I work with people who have physical limitations, many times these limitations have to do with their mind set, not believing they can improve because of their age or an old injury. With a gentle approach, we start to build strength and flexibility back in a weak area. When the client starts to feel or see the change, I see the mind begin to think in a different way. They begin to feel like they can get to a place they previously didn’t believe was possible. This makes me feel very powerful, knowing I had a part in helping someone change their body, but more importantly their mind.
Who are some powerful women you admire and why?
Professional dancers such as my Radio City Rockette and American Ballet Theatre friends. In the professional dance world there were many women who performed into their mid-40s. You never could tell how old they were because they took such great care of themselves and had a love for life that was infectious. I watched many of them recover from injuries and have babies later than most women, and still come back and dance on the most famous stages in NYC. It was inspiring to see their grace and beauty through their positive attitudes, which allowed them to recover and overcome physical obstacles in their bodies. These role models helped motivate me after my own hip surgery to make sure I had a full recovery and to step back onto the professional dance stage after a six-year dance hiatus.
How does the Dancers Shape barre program optimize women’s physical power?
The Dancers Shape barre program optimizes women’s physical power because it is based on the scientific approach of overloading the muscles to the point of fatigue–the most efficient way to break through training thresholds to see and feel improved muscle tone and strength. Quick results don’t come for free, however. That means the class is very challenging, and you have to have that strong mind and will power that you can complete the class, you will improve and gain strength, and you can finish those last three reps that your body feels are impossible.