how I f**ed up my leg: the story I almost didn’t share

jess on crutchesMany of you have already seen the photo on Instagram or Facebook and by now you know that I’m on crutches. No dancing for a month at least.

The short story is, I landed funny while teaching a dance class on Tuesday night and tore a muscle in my calf, resulting in me not being able to walk for awhile.

The longer story? The story I’m a little hesitant to share?

Well, it starts with my strong feelings about Zumba.

And it’s all teaching me a lot, so I thought the risk of embarrassment or potentially offending some people would be worth the wisdom and avoidance of injuries that could be passed on to you.

Let me explain.

First off, I’ll say that my props go out to Zumba and the tidal wave it’s made in the dance fitness world, the amount of lives that have been changed by it, and the positive impact that all of that has made.

Personally, it’s just not my thing. (If it gets YOU going, however, keep doing it, obviously!)

For me, sixty full minutes of cardio is too much at once. I like to spend more time doing pliés and gently warming up before jumping around. I’d rather get my cardio in with biking or the elliptical, and leave dancing to the art form that it is for me, with whatever physical benefits naturally come along with it.

That being said, every so often I get asked to sub for a Zumba class at the studio where I teach ballet. I’m a last resort when there’s a last minute cancellation and another Zumba teacher can’t be located. I’ve done it a few times, reluctantly, mostly out of fear of the Zumba regulars despising me for not giving them what they were expecting. “We want to cha-cha, damnit!!!” (My subbing-for-a-Zumba-class is composed of my style of a jazzy dance class, adding in a bit more of the jumpy and cardio stuff.)

I got a text on Tuesday morning with the request to sub that evening.

My gut reaction was like, “Nooooooo!”

And my brain was like, “Well, could be a great opportunity to meet some new students and make a few dollars since you’ll be missing your usual class in a couple of weeks. And you’ll be helping someone out!” (My brain/ego loves saving the day, apparently.)

I went with the brain. I said yes. Even though I had a full day and wouldn’t have time to prepare, which stressed me out. Even though I was still getting over being sick. Even though it was a super cold day out and my body was calling me to be cozy that evening.

About halfway into the class, I landed funny and felt a sharp pull in my calf which led to a feeling of a really really intense and painful charley horse. Somehow, I got through teaching the rest of the class with modified movements, and by the time it was over I realized I couldn’t walk without a major limp - my right foot was not able to flex all the way.

I’ll fast forward through the hysterical moments I had lying face down on the studio floor alone.

I’ll praise the amazing people who showed up on the phone and in person to help me move forward.

And I’ll cut to the point of telling you all this:

I’m pretty sure this injury was a sign from the dance gods that it’s probably a good idea to focus on what you’re genuinely called to do. Trying to be something you’re not will only tear you apart. Sometimes in the literal sense.

If I hadn’t said yes to subbing a class that I wasn’t fully into, I wouldn’t have been doing the jumpy moves that my legs were probably too cold to do, and I wouldn’t have torn a muscle.

goddess on the go jess grippoI am coming to terms with the fact that my gift in this world is not to deliver cardio dance classes to the masses.

I am committed to sharing the gifts that I am here to give: i.e. guiding myself and others to dance the dance that is fully authentic and unique to each person. Holding space for people to express themselves and create in their own way. Leading the kind of classes that I had always wanted, and building a community through them.

It’s taken a lot to move past the fears to be able to say that out loud and put my authentic work out there. Cue the voices in my head:

“what if my class is lame, though? what if no one cares? what if they judge me?”

Can you relate?

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing you’ve had similar thoughts and there’s something you want to put out there, too.

Maybe you’ve secretly been wanting to “out” yourself as the dancer/teacher/healer/performer you know you are.

Maybe you’ve been dancing in a way that isn’t fully you, but you’re doing it anyway because it’s what’s popular or what you’ve always done.

Maybe when you really think about putting yourself out there in the ways you’ve only dreamt of, you get scared, you hold back.

It’s ok. I get scared sometimes, too. We all do.

It’s certainly scary, and it’s certainly worth it.

Because the other choice of holding back your true self - and living a life that is paved by expectations - is really the lame option.

So how do you get to that place of boldly putting your authentic expression out there, in spite of the fears and voices in your head telling you not to?

In my experience, it happens most effectively when you don’t try to do it all by yourself. Guidance is necessary in moving past the fear and getting out of your own way so that you can give birth to the dance/class/blog/story/show you are meant to. And that’s why I do the coaching work I do.

While my leg heals, I making a lot more time in my calendar for creative coaching work. If I can’t dance my physical dance at the moment, you better believe I’m going to be extra passionate about guiding you to dance YOUR dance, literally or figuratively.

I would be thrilled to be the midwife to your creative birthing process, if this is speaking to you.

While my coaching/midwifing specialties are in the areas of dance and writing, I’ve been coaching all kinds of artists and (re)emerging artists for years in their process of unfolding, getting to their truth, and expressing it authentically.

There are options for working together that vary from a self-guided video course you can do at home, to a single powerful session that will get your words on the page, to a whole 6-months of a journey. During our phone session, I’ll guide you through a process on getting clear about what’s really in your way and what the best option would be to creating what you really desire. Expect laughter, tears, and heart-opening moments of truth and clarity.

Click here to book a time for a complimentary Creative Guidance Session so that we can do all that, get to know one another, and see if and how I could best serve you. There are no strings attached and no obligation, other than my desire to have you leaving the call feeling inspired and empowered to take the next steps in your creative process.

My approach is creative, body-centered, and gentle but fierce in making sure that you get the truth that will serve you and your mission most effectively.

Book a time here or simply hit reply and I’ll get back to you asap.

In the meantime, keep dancing how YOU want to.

If you have the desire to put a creative vision out there that could inspire or benefit humanity, there's a reason for it. Don't shut down your impulses - allow them to be channeled through you. You'll be doing us all a favor.

to dancing your dance,



p.s. This offer for a complimentary session is only good until Sunday or until all spots are filled up. Take action now if there's an ounce of something in you that has been sparked by reading this. It only takes a spark to light a full fledged fire. Let's do this!