Becoming a ballet dancer is no easy feat. The hours and hours of training, discipline and rigor is beyond most people’s capacity. Trained classically by the Boston Ballet, while also studying under such greats as Edward Villella, Annette Jackson was hand-picked by Robert Joffrey himself to perform in his company, the world renown Joffrey Ballet.
While dancing Annette found herself drawn to a Pilates studio down the street to engage in strengthening exercises. Ballet requires continuous physical and athletic choreography which can sometimes be asymmetrical. The demands and grind of workouts, the stress of stretching, kicking and jumping can take its toll on a dancer’s body. Annette found a remedy and comfort in Pilates class.
In 2009 Annette took a position as Pilates Director at the JCC in Scarsdale, where she is today. She teaches private and group classes to adults of different ages, but mainly within the 50 – 90 year range. Annette says, Pilates “keeps the body feeling almost like it did when dancing.” She continues, “it teaches body awareness and challenges the mind.” Annette says there are a lot of people, with stressful jobs or retirees who have various ailments, who are relieved by her exercises.
A few years ago, due to years of wear and tear, grinding of bones and strenuous workout routines, Annette had to have hip replacement surgery. She was strong through the whole ordeal and after a few months she was back to her “young” self, with full range of motion.
Then, it happened again, this time to her other hip! But like a pro, she completed her surgery and is currently undergoing physical therapy at Performance Rehabilitation in Yonkers. She is bouncing back again, and within a few months total we predict she will feel great again. “Working with Annette has been great. While we care for people of all ages and physical levels, it is wonderful to work with someone with such good body awareness. Her drive and motivation have been a tremendous asset to her recovery,” says her physical therapist David Burke, PT, MS, cert. MDT.
While at Performance Rehabilitation, she has taught some lessons literally and figuratively. She has shared her knowledge of Pilates exercise to staff. Watching her do her therapy is inspirational because of attention to form and posture. She is giving everyone an extra dose of motivation to work through ailments – this applies to both other patients and staff.
We remain in awe of a lovely prima ballerina from the Joffrey Ballet and now Pilates Director at the JCC. She has moved through life with grace, as a great ballerina would.