I’d like to introduce you to Jessica Millman Ezratti, who is a phenomenal dancer and runs her own dance studio. I met her 2 years ago through Patrick, and I could instantly see why he raves about her: she is smart, gorgeous, and has that special X-factor. It’s so wonderful to see such a passionate individual in the fitness world. She was the first person I ever knew who taught the Barre Method a few years ago, which literally is taking the world by storm today. She was definitely ahead of the curve and knew that that dance + exercise make a special combination. It’s a type of exercise that incorporates dance into workout routines (and my sister, who started doing it a few weeks ago, cannot stop raving about it). Check out the clip above of Jessica demonstrating some great exercise moves. Read on below to find out more about her journey and her best fitness tips for you!
The first time my mom took me to the ballet I was 5. I told her my eyes hurt. I was afraid if I blinked I might miss something. I was in love. Now, 22 years later, I’m starting my fourth year as owner and creative director of West Side Dance Studio. WSDS is based in ballet and also offers jazz, modern, hip-hop, tap, yoga, and dance exercise. I feel good when I’m active. I realize that is easy to say when it’s my job to move, but when I’m not dancing I do other activities that I enjoy. I play tennis once a week, I go paddle boarding with my husband on the weekends, I do yoga constantly which helps the alignment of my body and my sanity. I have never been a gym person because I need to lose myself in the movement of the activity, and I think that might be dangerous at the gym.
My goal when I teach is to transfer the passion I feel for movement to my students. I want them to have the love that I feel when I’m active. I was lucky to find ballet at such a young age. It not only always kept me active, but taught me other key elements to a healthy lifestyle. When I was tired I still had to go to rehearsal; it’s easy to make excuses not to exercise, but I learned I just had to get up and do it.
Although it was easier to stay fit because I was dancing so much, I also learned what foods worked for my body. When I ate too much dairy, I didn’t have as much energy. And I love cheese. But when it came to show times, I cut it out of my diet because I wanted to feel my best during performances. Most importantly, I learned to set goals. Physically of course: triple pirouette, full splits, how to use my breath. But also mentally. And achieving these short and long term goals helped inspire me to continue to push and improve myself.
I think that it is very important for children to find an activity that they love. I was fortunate that I knew what it was right away, but they should try everything until they find it. Active children are much more likely to become active adults. And for the adults who didn’t have a chance to find something as a child, it is never too late. There are plenty of activities to join now. We offer adult ballet classes for beginners at my studio. I picked up tennis as an adult. My 91 year old grandmother just started doing yoga two years ago.
My top 3 healthy tips for readers:
- Find activities you can have fun doing. Not just one! Make time to do something fun and active everyday, even if it’s just blasting the music and dancing around your bedroom like a maniac.
- Set short term goals so you feel empowered to reach your long term goals and actually write them down. It feels so good to cross items off lists. Dance like a maniac, check!
- If you’re full stop eating. You always have tomorrow, no need to stuff it all in today.
Find more information here:
West Side Dance Studio
15830 Pines Blvd
Pembroke Pines, FL
Special Thanks to Jessica for sharing her amazing story. I hope everyone checks out her website and shares her story with your friends and family. Who knows, maybe the Barre classes are the fun exercise classes you’ve been looking for.