Welcome to our blog! The first post answers the question, "How and when did I decide to create The Barre Valencia?" For the last decade, sometimes unaware to myself, it has been taking form in my head and heart. A crossroads came in my life and it was time for the studio to come to fruition.
First off, I have no memories of my life that do not include dancing or moving in some way, shape, or form. I grew up in a dance studio in Iowa City, IA called 'Dance of Iowa', run by a remarkably charismatic lady named, Michael Kohli. Besides my own Mother, I still accredit Michael as being one of the most influential women to ever enter my life. She was passionate, fearless, warm and effortlessly glamorous. Far more than educate me on how to point my foot; she influenced me. Year after year, until I was 18, I practiced with Michael and performed with girls that became my second family and home.
During college I was able to study in Rome with the Saint Mary’s/Notre Dame program and then I graduated with Honors in Broadcast Production from The University of Colorado. I worked for FOX Broadcasting Company in Chicago and then Creative Artists Agency in Los Angeles.
When I was building my career in Chicago I lost myself for a bit; I was working all hours - late hours, eating constantly with no thought as to what I was putting into my body. I only worked, ate, and rarely slept. I put on weight and then began to cover myself up in baggy clothes including hat and glasses. It took my sweet mother to make me take a long, hard look at myself and realize the spiral I had created. So I signed up for Mat Pilates and connected my mind to my body once more. It was a re-awakening and I kept moving forward unveiling true happiness.
In 2007, I began my teaching career as a Fitness Instructor. I first received certification with the national franchise, Power Pilates, in LA. The focus was Mat Pilates, teaching the fundamentals of Joseph Pilates. A little background here: most people know Joseph Pilates worked to rehabilitate injured dancers, but you may be surprised to know he was born with ailments and dedicated his life to attaining physical health. He was highly trained in gymnastics, martial arts and self-defense, and was so highly regarded that he trained individuals at police schools all over England, and at Internment camps during World War I. He believed people's lack of breath, bad posture, and modern lifestyle were the roots of bad health. He encouraged the use of the mind to control muscles and focused attention on core postural muscles to help keep the body balanced and the spine supported. “Pilates” was in fact, originally called, “Contrology” and focused on learning body control.
I tell you this since during my life, I've suffered from weak low back muscles and tightness. I'm not naturally flexible and being rather tall, I have struggled to build back and core strength for good posture. The Pilates teachings and exercises registered with me, and became the foundation for my own technique.
In 2009, I was introduced to The Bar Method. After three months as a student, I was accepted to be a part of their training program and I went on to become a Master Instructor with them until 2015. My Barre education went hand in hand with my Pilates education and the combination took my teaching to a whole other level. Barre exercises are more closely associated with the nature of Dance because they were created by a German-Russian Dancer named Lotte Berk. Similar to Joseph, Lotte’s focus was on building core strength and flexibility.
Over the course of the last decade, I have immersed myself in the teachings of two very prominent figures in the evolution of physical fitness and what ended up happening was I began to create my own “collection.” After my son was born in 2013, my collection became my own technique and I began teaching and practicing my own spin on things.
About a year ago, my family and I moved from Brentwood, Los Angeles to Valencia. After living in the city for almost 8 years, we were ready to live a more quiet life, and Valencia was the perfect fit. We instantly fell in love with the community, the people and the small-town way of living. Jackson, (my little boy) thrived in his new environment and my husband and I were overjoyed with our new neighborhood, friends and home.
I have spent the last decade of my life teaching and motivating and it has been one of the greatest joys of my life. Welcome to my dream come true - The Barre Valencia.