Advice on Transitioning from Dancer to Trainer: Spotlight on Katie Dettling

Thank you Rachel Neville for the amazing blog feature! Rachel shot us for our new website and does exceptional work. Read here for thoughts on dancer to trainer to marketing…plus what to look for in a great trainer or photographer!

Rachel Neville Photography

We recently had the pleasure of working with Katie and Grant Dettling, co-founders of Fit-Arts, a Pilates and wellness studio on the Upper West Side.  In addition to being a successful entrepreneur in the health and fitness field, Katie and her husband Grant, are former dancers.

Katie spoke with us about navigating the dancer to trainer transition and the resources she used to cultivate a successful career after dance.  She also told us about the lessons she brings from dance into the world of fitness and entrepreneurship, and what it was like working with Rachel Neville Photography to create fitness marketing images for her company and its new website: fit-arts.com.

1. What lessons from your dance career did you use to transition to a successful fitness training career?

A long career in dance instills qualities like discipline, work ethic, adaptability, strong multi-tasking capabilities and more that we have used to transition. But beyond…

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No More Mediocre: 5 steps to Heretics & Movements

 

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Greetings WordPress after a long absence! Apologies again but with good reason. My last post referenced a new job/experiment in Arts Management. Let’s just say, what a wonderful experience but blogging wasn’t the only thing I lost while on the job. Sleep, healthy eating, exercise, relationships, inspiration and a few other things went by the wayside. And for what? Not for anyone’s pay and not for anyone’s glory, that’s for sure. This is how our world runs, too much for too little, and it is NO WAY TO LIVE. Are you with me? Read to the bottom…

Non-profit management is no joke. Not glamorous, thankful nor fulfilling. It feels like a lost battle. As much as I LOVE the arts, I can’t do it. I just can’t. Not like that. Without inspiring leaders, relevant product, healthy upward mobility for artists, where is it going? So god bless the developers and managers out there. We desperately need you. I will keep supporting the arts in new ways. But it is TOO hard to make the changes necessary within the old systems. Time for new ones. Anyone else? 

Maybe I’m a Leader after all, as opposed to just a Manager. “Leadership is about creating change you believe in,” Seth Gordon says in his book Tribes, “Heretics are the new leaders, the ones who challenge the status quo, the ones who create movements.” I believe in movement, I believe in health, I believe in helping people be the best they can be. Every time we do that, we’re improving the world. That’s what I felt I was doing when I was on stage as a dancer. And I feel I can do that through moving others.

So, after producing three full length productions alongside my husband for the dance company, we decided enough is enough. Studying in college, pilates, barre and still performing alongside the management job, something had to give. It wasn’t going to be my health, marriage or passion. Certainly not my independence. So what then? The job and the stage had to go. Risky… yes. Smart…I hope so.

Turning attention full time to fitness instructor training, I was able to pass full certification as a Stott Pilates and Total Barre instructor (amongst other things) in the top 96%. I geeked out and gained other specialties (like Women’s Health) plus my husband became a Barre Specialist (he’s in even better shape than while dancing). Et Voila: We’re in love. With changing lives.

I mean if you have the choice for a healthier and happier life, take the leap. And if you don’t agree with the way things are done, do them differently. In a leap of faith, we have started our own business: Fit-Arts. And how are we doing it differently? We’re starting in our apartment. We’re supportive and flexible. We inspire. In a beautiful dedicated space on the Upper West Side, we’re giving individualized exercise based on an artistic aesthetic. Bringing the arts viscerally into people’s lives by giving them the joy of movement and breath.

So here’s to creating movements. “Life’s too short to be mediocre. Defending mediocrity is exhausting. Destroy the status quo and thrive,” Seth Gordon from Tribes again. (I highly recommend this book for anyone who rejects mediocre on principle and knows there is more to life.)

Do you get enough sleep? Do you feel good about yourself, moving your body? Do you have the quality time with family and friends that makes life worth living? Are you inspired by the presence of anything more than ordinary in your life? My guess is no. Because most of my clients say no. Well there is more. Let’s change that. 

SO WHO IS WITH ME?? I want you to do 5 simple things. Right now. 

  1. Hit snooze and take Friday off.
  2. No refined sugar for 30 days (we’re on Day 1, so come for the ride on Instagram)
  3. Work out more than you thought you could (feel free to comment here for tips).
  4. See a live performance or artsy movie you would never normally seek out (comment for recommendations).
  5. Follow and share us on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and our WEBSITE.  We’re not sure exactly where this movement is going, so we want to HEAR YOUR progress, fitness, wellness, life changing ideas. Tag @fitartslife and #wermore in comments.

In any of these ways we will say no to mediocre and live the Fit-Arts Life…Test the limits of your capacity and you will be surprised at just what you can do. Why not now? What are you waiting for? And you won’t believe how productive you become. Seriously.

 

Thoughts From The Barre: Project Performed

Thoughts From The Barre: Project Performed

So bloggers…Snow has fallen, project back in the pointe shoes performed! And here I am in my tiny dressing room, wearing my tiny Snow Queen tutu. My Nutcracker performances swirled onto the Kaye Playhouse stage in New York a couple weeks ago. I must admit I am just now recovered. What an intense relief, immensely cathartic. It was wonderful to be back under the lights with a great group of performers, somehow magical. And these lights were particularly bright. Knock your socks off and knock you right off your leg bright. YES, there were those ever present imperfections, doubts, aches, pains, and why am I doing this when I can’t eat, sleep or stop feeling so keyed up. Let’s face it, I am hardly the world’s most perfect tutu ballerina. But that would make it easy. And is anything easy worth doing anyway? As my favorite trainer Jillian Michaels says, “You have to get uncomfortable, that’s when real change happens.” And I’d like to think I make up for it in artistry and Presence. All in all, it feels worth it for that sense of wonder and accomplishment.

Not to mention, I was surprisingly overwhelmed by pride for my 8 year old angels, who remembered all their choreography AND to smile. They looked at me with such a twinkle in their eyes when they saw me in my tutu, then resolved into giggling hysterics when covered in fog at the beginning of act II. Priceless.

Anyway, just following the path that has presented itself and glad it brought me at least one more opportunity to grow as a performer. Bringing a little joy and beauty into the world this holiday…

“Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity; so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand.”
Henry David Thoreau quotes

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Thoughts From The Barre: Pointes of Preparation

Thoughts From The Barre: Pointes of Preparation

Project back in the pointe shoes in full swing my friends – welcome to the workshop! This finicky foot wear is both a ballerinas best friend and worst enemy. You see, the right shoe can send you on stage as if you had angel’s wings and the wrong shoe makes every step drag through mud. So, as my New York Nutcracker D-Day is rapidly approaching, a frenzy of preparations have begun. For one never knows which pair will be the magic one. The one that fits your foot like a glove and feels just right when you stand on it. The one that lets you balance perfectly as you pirouette. And here we have my arsenal: 8 pairs of Freed of London pointe shoes in varying stages of readiness, otherwise known as $741 in cardboard and glue and 8 hours of sewing. Crazy right? Surely. But worth it in the end. Here’s to hoping there’s a diamond in this heap….

“All the dancer’s gestures are signs of things, and the dance called rational, because it aptly signifies and displays something over and above the pleasure of the senses.”
St. Augustine

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Thought From The Barre: Let’s Get Tutu It

Thought From The Barre: Let's Get Tutu It

Project Back in the Tutu Is under way:
Well folks, it’s that time. My Snow Queen Tutu has arrived. In case you pondered the absence of my posts, it has been on account of getting in shape for the Nutcracker! That’s right, I’m not just back to dancing, I’m back in the tutu. There is nothing more quintessential for a ballerina and therefore full of expectation. Every flaw is evident in the infamous short skirt. It is both thrilling and chilling. So, I approached a fitting in the illusive tulle with some hesitation. It went better than expected! (Considering I haven’t worn a tutu in over a year and a half.) Although, I still have a ways to go. 4 weeks to get these not naturally tutu hams up to snuff. It is a time consuming affair, ballet class, bikram yoga, searching for pointe shoes, sewing of pointe shoes, exercises for the ankles, turning, turning, turning, and let’s not forget the core strengthening! Needless to say, I can’t quite forgive those who were born with perfect tutu legs, but I’ll give them a run for their money in determination any day. So, here’s to Sugar Plums dancing in my head until December 8th. And probably yours too, as I spotted at least 2 holiday commercials today. It’s that time, so let’s get tutu it!!!!

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Unicorn Universal

Unicorn Universal

“Heroes know that things must happen when it is time for them to happen. A quest may not simply be abandoned; unicorns may go unrescued for a long time, but not forever; a happy ending cannot come in the middle of the story.”
Prince Lir from “The Last Unicorn” 1982
(I must admit, still one of my favorite movies)

A universal image, I finally had the chance to see this mystical tapestry at The Cloisters several weeks ago. Even though the unicorn is in captivity, it is still somehow more CAPTIVATING than sad. Perhaps a testament to the need for structure to appreciate beauty? Or order to let us be free…DHARMA: Law in the universal or abstract sense, not limiting but the wind that carries us toward our purpose.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art says:
The seven individual hangings known as “The Unicorn Tapestries,” are among the most beautiful and complex works of art from the late Middle Ages that survive. Luxuriously woven in fine wool and silk with silver and gilded threads, the tapestries vividly depict scenes associated with a hunt for the elusive, magical unicorn.
In “The Unicorn In Captivity” he is tethered to a tree and constrained by a fence, but the chain is not secure and the fence is low enough to leap over: The unicorn could escape if he wished. Clearly, however, his confinement is a happy one…

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Thoughts From University: On The Nature of Knowledge

Thoughts From University: On The Nature of Knowledge

Knowledge: “This indeed is but a temporal object, and a transitory possession; but so are other things in themselves which we make much of and pursue. The moralist will tell us that man, in all his functions, is but a flower which blossoms and fades, except so far as a higher principle breathes upon him, and makes him and what he is immortal. Body and mind are carried on into an eternal state of being by the gifts of Divine Munificence; but at first they do but fail in a failing world;
We attain to heaven by using this world well, though it is to pass away; we perfect our nature, not by undoing it, but by adding to it what is more than nature, and directing it towards aims higher than its own.”

John Henry Newman’s “The Idea of a University,” published in 1852
Researching for an essay, struck by these profound words…

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