It all started at a personal training convention in Los Angeles. Angel, who had been working as a trainer, was browsing vendors when she met a representative from Gray Institute®. After years of feeling that there “had to be more” to her personal training work, Angel was inspired by their perspective on functional movement. Curiosity piqued, she sneaked into a Gray Institute seminar later that day.
“I do feel bad about that now,” she says. “But I needed more information. I was hooked.”
Angel Introduces Applied Functional Science® to the Irish Dance World
Originally from Ireland, Angel was a personal trainer working with Gaelic football and camogie players and students learning Irish dance. What she saw troubled her. Youth, particularly in the dance world, would sustain injuries and never fully recover. Girls would come into dance training sessions with perpetually sprained ankles, wearing orthopedic walking boots. They would take them off to dance, and then put them back on again afterward.
Angel knew there had to be a better way to address these injuries, and help the young dancers and athletes not only realize their full potential but avoid life-long damage to their bodies.
That’s where her Gray Institute education came in. After becoming certified in Applied Functional Science, Angel started to notice specific dance techniques that were causing her students problems and began tweaking their exercises, warm-ups, and form to help alleviate their pain. Her approach worked. Her students began making it to — and winning — competitions on the world level.
Gray Institute Techniques Transform Young Dancers’ Performance
The Irish dance world is steeped in tradition. Angel knew that to make a real impact, she needed to be thoughtful about how she approached students, their injuries, and their progress. Correct Irish dance form requires the dancers to hold their upper body still as their lower body moves. This can create tension in the body, Angel noted, making it difficult for the girls to breathe, and setting them up for injury.
Based on her functional knowledge of biomechanics and the body’s chain reactions, she diplomatically suggested ways dancers could adjust their posture to be more functional while staying true to tradition and form. Her dancers started having more stamina, recovering from injuries more quickly, and, most importantly, having more fun.
“The kids used to fall apart at competitions,” Angel notes. Capable dancers would be paralyzed by nerves, unable to perform when put on the spot. Her Gray Institute education helped Angel identify the real cause of their distress: unresolved stress and tension in their bodies. She worked with them to relax and breathe, and suddenly, they would be able to dance.
“Now I get texts from my dancers saying ‘I didn’t get sick before a competition,’” Angel says. “That’s how you know what you’re doing is working.” Angel also notes how important it is to involve her students’ parents and teachers in the process. “They’re curious about what I do, but when they see that it works and that their kids are having fun, they’re supportive. And at the end of the day, they’re kids; they’re meant to be having fun dancing, not worrying about getting hurt.”
"Gray Institute Has the Total Package: Mind, Body, and Spirit”
Upon seeing the initial success with her dancers, Angel took every Gray Institute course she could, including becoming a GIFT Fellow in 2016. She runs her own business doing personal training for Irish dancers — one of the only coaches in the world who works using a functional approach.
A life-long athlete and learner, Angel picked up golf as a hobby a few years ago and has since made it to a semi-professional league. Her goal is to take the Gray Institute Functional Golf System course to help golfers like she has Irish dancers.
She keeps coming back to Gray Institute because not only do the techniques work; she appreciates that they value a person’s mind, body, and spirit.
“I love what I do,” Angel says. “Gray Institute has been a game-changer for life. I could never do what I do without Gray Institute.”
Gray Institute: Your Source for Game-Changing Education
At Gray Institute, we believe that to effectively treat physical injuries or distress, you must also address emotional well-being. This perspective has been getting undeniable results for over 40 years, and we’re proud of the ways our techniques have changed the lives of Irish dancers, golfers, and people like you.
If you want to learn more about how a Gray Institute course could help you be a more effective trainer in your unique industry, please don’t hesitate to contact us!