My dancing years started as early as I can remember, "making up routines" to perform for my family or anyone else who would be a willing audience member. Eventually, I landed in a tap class at age 5 and solidified my love for performing. My first year of Junior High, I attended a spring recital of local dance team and was instantly hooked. I BEGGED my parents to let me join and thankfully my persistence paid off! I spent the next 10 years performing and competing - first with my local company dance teams and continuing on through college with the Wright State University Emerald Jazz Dance Team. While in college, I spent my summers teaching dance as a staff member for the National Dance Alliance.
My instinctual passion for creating choreography stayed with me and throughout the entirety of my competitive dance years I was fortunate to have had so many opportunities to see my creations come to life on the dance floor. My first experience was as the Captain of my High School team, providing the choreography for all four of our competition routines that year. My experience continued throughout college where I contributed to pieces for my collegiate team as well as freelance choreography for several local dance teams and individuals for solo pageant competition. After graduating college, I continued on to be the Head Coach for my college team where we finished in 4th place in the 2006 Division 1 NDA National Championship.
In 2007 I moved to Florida and took on the role of Head Coach and Director for the Dance Team and Color Guard at the High School where I started my full time teaching career.
Forever a student, I continued attending dance camps and conventions as well as taking classes at local studios. I've had the opportunity to perform at various local Dance and Arts events including "The Kanvas" and "Cocktails & Couture Tampa Bay" under Choreographers Demario Henry (VYB Dance Co), Dreama Davidson (DreamaBigDream, LLC), and Marcus Borders (Beyond Borders Entertainment).
During college, I found my way to the campus gym and started weight training for the first time. Quickly discovering a strength I didn't know I had (both physically and mentally), I became hooked again and a new passion emerged. I loved being able see and feel the changes that resulted from consistent and methodical training and became fascinated with learning more about the human body. Having discovered just how incredible and adaptable it is and feeling like this was knowledge that everyone needed, I decided to become a personal trainer. I wanted to help people discover their own strength and take power over their body and their health and fitness.
Eventually, I started taking group fitness classes and this became another fun addition to the world of movement that became my lifestyle and naturally, I knew I wanted to do this someday too. The first certification I ever received was for a program called "Kukuwa" ~ an African/Carribean/Latin inspired dance fitness program that I first took part in during the 2006 ProDance camp in Palm Springs, California. It was while teaching this program that I truly felt I had found my calling as a group fitness instructor. At the club where I taught, I started regularly attending other group fitness classes as well - mainly a series of programs from a worldwide Group Fitness company called LesMills. It didn't take long before I decided I needed to teach these, too! They had just introduced a new dance program called "Sh'bam," and instantly I knew - this was it. Entirely a dance based program, this one had my name written all over it. I signed up for training and thus began my journey with Les Mills.
Over the next 10 years, I eventually became certified in a total of 8 Les Mills programs. During this time, I also taught freestyle group fitness classes (including a hip hop based aerobics class and circuit style bootcamps), and coached for 3 years at OrangeTheory Fitness.
In 2017, I was invited to be a part of the Les Mills US National Trainer and Presenter team. Through this role I have had the tremendous opportunity to travel the country to facilitate instructor training modules, present and provide upskill education to instructors at quarterly workshops, and present in large scale, convention style masterclasses at annual LES MILLS LIVE events in Chicago, Orlando, San Diego, and Anaheim.
I figured out pretty early on in life that I was a natural teacher. But it wasn't until about my 3rd year of college (Wright State University, Dayton OH) when I had literally exhausted all of my general education credits that I had to make a choice on which direction I was going to take it. I always had a fascination for the human body and I remembered Health as the only subject that I took in school as being enjoyable and worthwhile. So, I ended up in the HPR department. Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, that is.
The tricky part about this for me was that I absolutely loathed PE growing up but the PE classes were an inseparable part of the program so I had to endure what I thought was forever behind me in order to obtain my degree. It was through taking these classes that I ultimately discovered how much more I was capable of (makes quite a difference when someone actually teaches you a skill without the pressure of performing in front of your judgey peers). My first job out of college awarded me the opportunity to teach 9th grade Health, but it also came with a side of 10th grade PE. I decided that if I was going to have to do it, my mission was to teach kids that they didn't need to compare themselves to anyone else. That learning is a process and a unique one at that. That we each have our own special talents and abilities and that it's ok if there are some things that don't come as naturally as others. Basically, I just didn't want anyone to feel like I did growing up.
Ever since then, empowerment has been the driving force behind my teaching.
I went on to teach 4 more years of High School, 1 year of Elementary, and 2 years of Middle School. Then in 2014, I began teaching Adapted PE in an Exceptional Center for students with varying Intellectual/Physical disabilities and Autism.
Throughout that time, no matter the situation ~Through teaching PE to coaching dance, instructing group fitness classes to personal training ~ the goal has always been the same. To empower those before me to love and accept themselves and to realize just how capable they truly are.
In 2019, I was introduced to the magical world of EDM (way late to the party I know)! As I'm sure many of you can understand, from that first show I was hooked. I have been a huge fan of live music my whole life, but the community and culture surrounding the EDM scene was unlike anything I had ever experienced. This "come as you are" vibe certainly would have served me well in my earlier years, but I digress.
That year, I attended my first ever EDM music festival. I'm sure you can see where this story is going! I saw people shuffling all over the place and all I could think was, "WHERE HAS THIS BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!" My own personal style of dance had always been high energy and beat driven, and I had always had an affinity for footwork, so this just seemed like it was made for me. I started trying to learn with what little I could find online and eventually made my way to the shuffle community on Instagram. And this is where my learning truly began.
As timing would have it, 2020 hit I shuffling was my saving grace. During the lockdown I went through 2 rounds of the Elev8ed Movement challenge with Chelsee Ramos where I learned more in depth detail about the history and techniques of different footwork styles. I used my own learning tools of drilling and choreography to help me learn and my knowledge of body mechanics to develop progressions for the basic steps. Being a teacher to the core, naturally I made a YouTube channel and threw up a few tutorials and follow along practice songs as a quarantine project. Thus the seed for "Footwork Fitness" was planted. At that point, just a far off concept that I had no idea what to do with.
Then in November, I signed on to do the Martian Movers Flow State Freedom program with Marina Mars. It was during this 30 day program that I got "unstuck." I unlocked my own personal style and dove deeper into my passion and purpose. I knew that my greater purpose in this world was served through education, dancing, and performing and I became determined to put the entirety of my life's experiences to use. I put the wheels into motion and devloped this class that I hope will empower and inspiure you. To learn, to dance, to get fit, and to have fun in the process.