Gina & Susanne connecting this week over events in their lives as artists. Creating space with the intention to shine a light on dark corners with the hope to support you. Come join us with no judgment. We are holding space to learn, laugh, and downright pointe at ourselves.
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Rise 360 with Gina & Susanne | Redefine your Power.
And welcome to another episode of Rising 360. Gina, so glad to see you. We are talking about power today, or actually, we’re going to redefine power because I for sure I found myself in a position where I didn’t see being powerful as something positive. Can you share a quote for today?
So the quote for today is creativity means you have greatness. Be creative; you have greatness. So I think it’ll be fun to chat today about embracing that greatness that power, and by when we walk into the studio, why we believe we can’t, and why we are not at specific points.
Right. Our misconceptions about being powerful.
What was your perception of even the word being having greatness in you? Or the phrase of being powerful? What was your perception maybe earlier on when you were a dancer?
So I guess I felt like it was my job to be quiet, listen, be meek, and wait to be told what to do. And that if I had a personal opinion that, didn’t belong in the conversation, because I was the student. So I guess I never felt powerful. I felt the opposite of that, you know, quiet and now weak, but certainly not as I carried myself with a sense of strength. How about you? Did you have any order perception, or what was your perception of power, being powerful? You just talking brought me right back into Ballet school because being quiet doing what I was told was the sentence that I heard as well. It was all about following, not leading your own life and who you are, and becoming your version of a dancer, a human being of Gina of Susanne. And I think when I grew up, I saw being powerful as something very negative, as something terrible, that could hurt other people. I only saw people being assertive, that told other people how to do things. And it was never like a partnership. Or people in powerful positions never showed me a sense of collaboration or caring, so I have had this perception for the longest time. And I’m talking well into my 40s here that being powerful means being evil point-blank. And with that, I could never step into my own most powerful version that I’m capable of being in right now because I was rejecting it so much. Not even enough. I wasn’t even aware of it as a student and a dancer because we never looked at it that deep, like the level of awareness, was very basic. And then that’s why I think I never even explored what that could look like. I would never even ask the question. What me powerful? No, no, thank you. I’ll pass on that one.
And then we’re operating under these notions. The limitations we have were planted there long, long ago, so long ago that we don’t know that they’re there. And we don’t even realize that they’re holding us back. And I think that this topic could be no pun intended, could be very powerful for dancers to release themselves from the limitations they’re putting on their ability to show up as they are in the studio and the world.
And, you know, when you’re talking about limitation, it’s so serendipitous because I saw so many people want to have the conversation, people are fighting for their limits, they’re fighting for their right to be correct. And even if that means not stepping into their full potential into their greatness, they’d rather be accurate than the best. And that to me is like, wow, when we’re talking about limiting beliefs. Read the book, the Big Leap, and I’m saying it again and again and again. And again, it is something that dancers should have on their nightstand and read every day because every time you go through it. I’ve read it for the third time now, I still find new things that expand my level of awareness that I can understand, when this thought comes in, this is something that I learned when I was ten years old, you know, and these stories are the only reason why we’re staying where we’re at. That’s why we’re not going to audition at 30 because we believe that at 30, no company is going to take you. Right? What kind of a story, what kind of a limiting belief are you operating under that you believe that at 30, your career is over? You know, and it’s these of things like when your teacher tells you that your foot isn’t arched enough, so you can’t be a principal dancer. And we take that on. And then we wonder that we get all of these opportunities thrown at us. And yet, we’re not stepping forward because we have that innate belief in ourselves, that limitation, the fear of stepping into the power because somebody way back when put that in you. And that’s why awareness is so imperative. This is my self-development and knowing baseline psychology, particularly for high performers. Yes, dancers, you are high performers, you are the highest of the performers, next to athletes in the performing arts world, and you have to, and my son is going to snap my fingers because I’m saying you have to. But it is imperative that if you want to truly overcome any physical conditions that may not be favorable for you to be a dancer, your mind can do so much more.
Preach. Right? You’re seeing words of healing, like even to me now. It’s very healing to hear those words. I think we rely on the stories that we’ve been told about ourselves. And that can eat away at our ability to embrace our greatness and show up as powerful individuals. I had a teacher ask me to switch schools from a competition studio to a Ballet school. And I, you know, had confidence in myself at this other studio at the Ballet School. The teacher took my mom off to the side and said, she’s not going to be a Ballet dancer; she has too many limitations. And my mom didn’t tell me this until like a couple of months later when we went with another studio. But I had those words in my mind. And it was a real struggle to get over them. Yeah. So I think we are very limited by the labels that people put on us. You’re not a jumper. That sinks in and starts to become part of our psyche and who we think we are. But it’s not necessarily the truth.
So let me ask you this question. When did you realize that these stories held you back from becoming more? I mean, you and I had these beautiful conversations on your porch overlooking the water, which I’m very missing on how we were conditioned and how we now uncondition ourselves. When did that start? Like when did you begin to process, and what was what initiated the process?
Unfortunately, probably not until I was in my late 30s or mid-30s did I start to do the type of self-help work to realize my limiting beliefs. I wish you knew I’ve listened to cut to a conversation like we had when I was 16 to help pull me out much sooner but as a 30 something-year-old. I started embracing my strengths. And what I brought to whatever situation. So it wasn’t only, you know, it was not as a student, it was as an adult that I gave this realization. And by the way, you’re welcome back to come to sit on my porch anytime you want to take a trip, get dressed, and I love chatting with you. So yeah, I would love to talk about how we can help dancers break out of this shell of the self-limiting beliefs about being powerful. Is there? How can we help dancers with that?
The first step that I see is for everyone to find their definition of what powerful means to them. Think about what does it mean to you? Have you ever thought about that? And if it’s something that’s not positive, that doesn’t enlighten you or empowers you to understand that you are the most magnificent human being walking this earth? Then what’s going on? What kind of beliefs are there that are holding you back? I think that for me, that would be the very first step. I didn’t know that I had not a great relationship with the word or the meaning of powerful until I had a podcast interview with somebody. And it came out, and I’m like, oh, wow, I didn’t know. And that was the moment for me where I could say, Oh, wait a second, like if I believe that powerful isn’t great, then why am I talking about being powerful, because I don’t believe in it yet, I believe in a version of it. But the layers have not yet been uncovered. Being open to all of this science like understanding that, yes, in a studio, there are specific rules that we as dancers comply to that, you know, we’re respecting each other. But that does not mean that you are not you, that you can’t say a word, that you cannot have your own opinion, that you cannot feel all the feels that are there that you cannot stand up for yourself.
That brings up such an essential thing if we’re not showing up powerful for not embracing our power. We’re not going to be our advocates in the studio if something is making us uncomfortable. An example, we feel an injury coming on. We are concerned about bringing it up because we’ll be perceived as being lazy. If we don’t carry the strength and the power to speak up for ourselves, we’re in trouble.
I’m going to take it one step further. And I’m going to use an example from the US Women, Olympic gymnastic team. I’m pretty sure most people have heard about all the abuse going on there for years and years and years and years. And I listened to a podcast of one of the plaintiffs, one of the first ones that were abused by Larry since the age of eight. And it went on to the age of 25 because she didn’t know that it was wrong. After all, she was a product of the team. They are brainwashed, not knowing what’s right and wrong, not knowing where her power lay. And I understand it’s an extreme.
When we’re looking at the Ballet world and all the abuse that has been prevalent and keeps being uncovered, dancers will be standing in their powerful self and knowing and having the language to say no, this is wrong. I don’t like that and standing up for themselves. I don’t think we would see all of this we don’t. We wouldn’t see underpaid people dancing for less than minimum wage or paying companies to be dancing. We wouldn’t see so many girls coming out of class or rehearsal crying because the director told them to lose another five pounds when they’re already 95 lbs. These things would not be so prevalent if the dancers understood that they are the most powerful thing in a Ballet company.
Because without you, there is no Ballet. There is no product. There is no company. There’s no money coming in.
Absolutely. I think we operate under this idea that we are a dime a dozen. If we don’t comply, then we’re so easily replaceable. But the truth of the matter is, once you’re in a company, you’re part of that company. They rely on you to put the performances together. And I’m not saying that dancers should act in an arrogant way or an overconfident way. Of course, that’s not what we’re saying here. But what we are saying is to stand up tall and to carry a sense of worth and a sense of what you represent and how you want to show up in the studio with no apologies, with respect, but with no apologies.
And there’s, isn’t even a fine line. My perception of powerful people as they were arrogant. That’s not the truth. They know who they are, and they’re proud of it.
And how about the negative connotation of powerful females? Powerful females are associated with a specific word that starts with the letter B.
Oh, yeah, yeah, they’re backstabbing, they going to scratch, you know, they’re going to put their nails in your back. One of the reasons I never had any kind of female relationship was if I had known my truth. My power and my greatness, all of that would never have mattered. I wouldn’t have looked for validation from the outside. I wouldn’t have judged other people. I wouldn’t have been in an abusive relationship had I looked at myself as I were a blank canvas. I can create whatever I want to.
It’s ironic, isn’t it, that when we embrace our power, our greatness, it eliminates fear. And then it almost allows us to bring out the greatness and the power in other dancers. When you’re freed up to feel powerful and carry yourself as you should, it frees other people up to do the same thing. I think that’s one way we can lift each other as dancers give each other permission to show up in our most powerful sense.
So yeah, we’re going to leave it right there. Because that is a beautiful way to wrap up this conversation, it’s not selfish. How can I say that? It is not. It is not something you’re not doing something terrible in the world. By showing up as you as your powerful self, you permit other people to do the same. Like, be the light, be that shining star that you know, attracts all of the others so we can all shine brighter together. I think that’s, that’s where to shift the perspective. Even if you’re 16 is so important. Stop caring what everybody else thinks. You will find the right people.
Be beautiful; allow great encouragement to find you.
Please share your biggest takeaway. We would love to see what resonates with you and also what you don’t like. What don’t you agree with? We’re talking about power, right? Knowing what you want and what you don’t want is super important. And this is the platform we can help you and encourage you to exercise that muscle. We’re all for it. So share your takeaways on Instagram, rate us review us. We are so grateful for you.
Okay, we’re sending you so much love. Thank you for being here. Thank you for always listening and till next time.
So much ❤ Susanne & Gina
Important Links to Gina McFadden:
I’m so glad you are here. With all that I have, my goal is to serve YOU – to inspire YOU to better health and wellness in an accessible, actionable way. My passion is to empower dancers like you in their pursuit of better health and peak performance. My work as a dance educator has focused around giving dancers the knowledge and tools to care for their bodies and minds.
Dance has been a part of my life since I was nine. I trained at ballet studios as well as competition studios – my heart knows and loves both worlds! (Did you know you were reading the bio of Teen Miss Dance of Michigan 1994?!) I went on to dance professionally The Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Ballet Pacifica, State Street Ballet and The National Choreographers Initiative.
My students include ballet “bun heads,” competition dancers, concert and commercial dancers…I’ve even taught 3-year-olds (which, as it turns out, is a lot like herding kittens). Most recently, I have been on the faculties of Boston Ballet School, New Jersey School of Ballet, Grand Rapids Ballet School and an adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University and Hope College.
Want to sample some of my writing? I have a blog here and am a blog contributor at The Muse by Apolla. Want to take one of my virtual classes? I teach Apolla Insta Live Series twice a month!
My degrees in business and legal studies tell the tale of a young lady who once thought she wanted to be a lawyer…but this beautiful art form kept calling me back…
Wanting to learn more about anatomy and mind-body connection, I completed my RYT yoga teacher training in 2016. Oftentimes my students will end up in down dog in the middle of a ballet barre because…down dog. I am a Holistic Life, Career & Executive Coach and work with clients (dancers and non) around the globe.
I am married to a handsome Marine (oorah!) and mamma of two lovely daughters, ages 9 and 12. My other joys in life include cooking from scratch, working out, spending time with my family, hosting big dinner parties and reading.
Honored that you are here, Dancer! Please reach out to me via email if you would like to connect!