If you’ve ever seen Kate Franklin move, you might wonder why she bothered hiring us to coach her?
Elegant, effortless, strong and perfect-postured, my money is on Kate to win a functional movement screening test against anyone in our community, not the mention a V-sit test.
Alas, it came as no surprise to discover Kate is a professional dancer. She started out learning tap, ballet and jazz as a kid growing up in North Bay Ontario. Then at 14 years old, she moved away from home when she was accepted to the Quinte Ballet School in Belleville, Ontario.
Eventually she abandoned ballet to become a contemporary dancer, which she said was a better fit for her.
Kate worked her ass and turned herself into a professional contemporary dancer. Now at 38, she’s a freelance contemporary dancer and dances for companies in Vancouver and Toronto. She’s also a choreographer, as well as the Associate Director of Modus Operandi, a four-year post secondary contemporary dance training program.
Again, you might wonder why Franklin needs us, seeing as she’s a movement professional, but she says since joining MadLab and working with Chesty, she has become an even better dancer.
“The first and biggest (way) is through mobility training. (Chesty) is helping me get more control over bigger ranges of motion. I have a lot of flexibility and range of motion, but I can’t necessarily control it,” she said. “For example, I can kick my leg much higher than I can hold it there with my own strength.”
She added: “I think this kind of training will keep me dancing with less pain for a longer period of time, hopefully extending my performing career.”
The reason Kate joined MadLab in the first place was because she had found she was compensating as she danced, in various ways for years, because of a lack of strength, which led to injuries and chronic pain.
“About six years ago, I decided that enough was enough and I started to truly address the issues. I made a bunch of changes in my life. I started taking days off for the first time, I changed my diet, I adjusted my priorities, I allowed more resources to osteopathy, acupuncture, massage etc,” she said. She also spent time with a biochemist whose also a movement expert, and a Pilates teacher.
But still she needed more.
Enter MadLab, which launched her to a new level, she explained.
“MadLab feels like a big step in this six-year journey. I finally found a place where the programming and the coaching is so smart, all I have to do is show up and I will get the training and the tools that I need to take care of my body and build a strong foundation that supports my life and my dance practice,” Kate said.
On top of this, Kate said MadLab has also given her more stamina and explosive power, and she experiences less chronic pain.
“And I’m more brave and willing to try movements that look like they might hurt. I trust my body more, and I have more upper body strength to help me with everything from floor work to partnering,” she added.
And it’s not stopping there. Recently, Chesty attended one of his pupil’s dance performances, and in classic Chesty fashion, couldn’t help himself but diagnose some issues out there.
“(He) saw a stability/mobility issue in my lower legs that we’re now addressing,” Kate said. “After working on my own to try to close my own training gaps for so long, it’s a dream come true to have someone as knowledgeable as Chesty in my corner looking out for me.”
She added: “When I am on tour or on vacation, I miss it so much. It has become essential to me. I feel like I’m dancing better now at age 38 than I did when I was 25, and I owe a lot of that to MadLab.”
Not only that, Kate has taken a lot of what she has learned at MadLab and applies it to her students.
“I usually teach the conditioning portion of our curriculum, heavily inspired by what we do at MadLab,” she said.
For any adults who think it’s too late for them to become better movers, Kate says this isn’t true. Anyone can improve, she explained.
“To become a better mover, all I think it takes is spending time moving with great awareness. While you are moving, track your sensations and your attention. Move your attention around your body. Maybe for an entire class, you could just pay attention to the sensation in the soles of your feet. Maybe you could spend the entire time in the accessory work breathing into the backs of your lungs. Become curious. By drawing your attention to different parts of your body, you will awaken sensation and awareness and become a movement nerd like me,” she said.
And for those interested in learning how to dance, which Kate says is a “way of bringing your whole self together, body, mind and spirit,” she recommends Harbour Dance (https://harbourdance.com/) and The Happening Dance (https://www.thehappeningdance.com/adult-classes). And if you’re interested in contemporary dance, Rianne Syelnis is who she recommends most.
Get dancing and be more like Kate: Your body will thank you for it.