THE ANSWERS AREN’T “OUT THERE”. THEY’RE IN YOU.
You feel like you’re doing everything right. Eating your veggies. Going to the gym. Practicing Yoga. Meditating every morning...ok not quite every morning!
But after all the stretches, the “Om’s”, and the cleanses, you’re still slightly anxious. Slightly tense. Aching for a massage. Exhausted. Dreaming about the biscuits in the cupboard while you urge yourself to have some fruit instead. If you’re doing it all right, why don’t you have unlimited energy, a flat stomach and a clear mind?
Perhaps you’ve been looking on the outside for so long that you’ve learned to ignore what was happening on the inside.
That’s exactly what happened to me.
Starting at age 11, I attended the Royal Ballet School and received full-time professional classical ballet training. It was a wonderful foundation; it taught me to strive for the impossible, to push my limits, and to be conscientious.
Training in such a prestigious and competitive environment, I was constantly trying to move 'perfectly'. I was so caught up in what I looked like from the outside, that I didn't pay attention to what things felt like on the inside. I had NO IDEA how I was biomechanically designed to move, I just moved. I jumped further. I turned faster. I lifted my legs higher. And higher. This type of movement may have looked freeing.
But all I felt was frustrated.
Frustrated with my body. Moving often felt unnatural. Even breathing felt unnatural! My creativity and unique expression became blocked. Instead of understanding how my body was evolutionarily and functionally designed to move, I tried to control it. As my Franklin Method teacher, Eric Franklin himself always says:
''You get better at whatever you practice.”
So what was I getting better at? A lot of tension, stress, injury, and anxiety.
From Pointe Shoes to the Pilates Studio
I graduated from The Royal Ballet School at age 18 in 1999, I danced professionally with several companies, including The Royal Ballet, The Birmingham Royal Ballet and Ballet Im Aalto in Essen, Germany.
While working on Don Quixote in Germany, I severely injured my ankle. Thankfully I received fantastic rehab and discovered Pilates. I had never felt so strong in my life: Pilates gave me a huge insight into creating balanced strength and flexibility throughout the whole body. Unfortunately, my ankle still wasn’t strong enough to support a competitive career in pointes shoes. So I left dance in 2002 to train as a Pilates teacher.
After two years of teaching Pilates, I travelled to Australia to work with my good friend Bruce Hildebrand at his innovative Pilates Studio in Melbourne. Bruce was studying for his Level 3 Franklin Method Training and blew me away by his enthusiasm for life, health, and his career. He was so inspiring, I knew that he was onto something!!
To be a part of this fascinating world, I knew I had to study the Franklin Method as soon as humanly possible......
"Working with Rachael was an eye opening experience for me! I came away feeling strong and energised, full of new inspiration."
Helen Crawford, First Soloist, Royal Ballet Company, London
The transformation begins...
In 2006, I moved back to the UK, set up my own Pilates Studio, and met my husband in a friend’s delicious Thai restaurant.
I began studying The Franklin Method and life has never been the same. Although I have danced and moved my body my entire life, it was Franklin Method that showed me how to really get to know ME. How to get out of the daily competition, out of everybody else’s ‘stuff’, and to find out how life and movement work for me, my way.
Thanks to my friend and mentor, Laura Hames Franklin, I’ve learned how to ‘make my life my art’. This was the one piece that was missing during my days as a professional dancer. Had I understood and worked with what was naturally happening inside my body, I know I would have discovered SO much more potential in my body. There’s now so much more enjoyment in moving, more confidence, less injuries, and much more energy.
After years of study, I am now a Level 3 Franklin Method Educator. My intensive study periods with Eric Franklin have taken me to London, New York, and Colorado. I am now teaching all over the world - Morocco, Costa Rica, Canada, America, Iceland, Paris and the UK, it's a very exciting time- I can't wait to share this work with you!!
There are only a few Level 3 practitioners worldwide, we are a new breed, this is the future of movement!
"In Rachael’s workshop I picked up many new useful tips and tricks to help dancers achieve a better understanding of how their body functions. Rachael’s clever use of dynamic imagery helps her students to understand their own anatomy and movement patterns in a clear and practical way.”
Aedin Kennedy, London UK. Senior Physiotherapist of the Royal Ballet Company.