Welcome to episode ten of the Real Life, Real Passion podcast. Today our guest is the beautiful and talented Ballerina Becky Erickson.
Becky is a local celebrity in the dance world. She has been teaching and dancing professionally since she was eighteen years old. She has been cast and performed the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker nine times, five of which were in consecutive seasons.
In this episode, Becky and I talk about her passion for dance, and why dancing as an art form is so important. Becky values education, and believes in putting in the work to be prepared. She also shares her thoughts on the importance of alignment and balance and many other great insights that are relevant in dance and for life.
Click the link above to listen to the podcast.
Becky Erickson has been a principal ballerina since she was eighteen. She primarily trained with the Cache Valley School of Ballet in Logan, UT, where she is now an instructor. Becky has also trained with Dance West, NYCB, Ballet West, Inishfre Irish Dance Company, and the Northwest Dance Intensive.
She has performed for many professional and community theatres and even competed in Las Vegas for Season 8 of Fox Network’s So You Think You Can Dance. She was recently interviewed to be a part of the Dance Across the USA. She was photographed for the state of Montana at Glacier National Park.
Becky is a high demand teacher and has taught dancers of all ages in both private and group lessons. She is known for bringing magic to young dancers and healing to those suffering from injuries or physical limitations. Her ability, passion and love of dance truly label her as a master teacher and practitioner.
She lives in Providence, UT with her Husband Trevor and her three children.
Growing Up With Dance
Becky grew up in Wellsville, UT. Her very first experience with dance was with her second to oldest sister, Tora. Becky’s Mom started a clogging company, the Stage Coach Cloggers, when she was really little. Her four older sisters clogged with her mom, she grew up in a home of dancers.
Before Becky started clogging, her second and third oldest sisters took dance from the Wellsville community dance program. Her sister Tora (second oldest) really enjoyed dancing and decided that she wanted to focus on ballet right about the time that the ballet school in Logan, UT opened.
As part of her business, Becky’s Mom had built a dance studio onto the house. Her sister Tora decided to teach dance classes to little girls about Becky’s age who wanted to learn how to dance. So, Becky’s first dance class was taught by her sister Tora when she was about five or six. There were maybe six little girls in the class and they performed at the Wellsville tabernacle to Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid. She remembers the whole experience being really fun, and it was dancing with her sister that really sparked her love for dance.
Tora only taught dance at home for a little while, and after she finished teaching Becky joined the Cache Valley School of Ballet in Logan because, “I wanted to be like my big sister.”
A Love for Dance
Her sister Tora was the one who really planted a seed for the love of ballet. She passed that love on to Becky, as well as her ability to teach little ones and make dance fun.
Becky loves teaching all ages of kids, and her classes fill up quickly. She lets the kids have magic in class the first couple of weeks so they fall in love with it. The first few weeks they pretend to put on tiaras, and they get to go around the room and say what color their tiara is. The tiara helps them remember to keep their neck tall and their shoulders down, and dance like a princess for the whole semester. Once she creates that little bit of magic, she really doesn’t have any discipline problems. The girls love her, and they also love what they are doing.
Her sister helped Becky fall in love with dance, and now Becky is able to pass on her love of dance to her students.
Magical Side of Dance
As she teaches, Becky tries to help her students connect with the magical side of dance.
Dancing is hard work. Dancing of any kind is hard, but ballet is especially difficult. You have to be extremely disciplined and “you have to love it or you’ll give up.”
If there’s not that magic at a very young age, then the kids will give up when it gets too hard.
Becky liked to do activities at school in addition to dancing at the Cache Valley School of Ballet, she’s been with the ballet company practically her whole life. She studied there, and now she teaches there.
She also danced for the drill team and then she cheered at the high school.
Becky also took master classes as part of her training. She’s trained with the New York City Ballet when they come on tour through Jackson Hole, WY. She’s also taken a few ABT classes (American Ballet Theater), one of the most prestigious ballet company’s in the world. She also dances with the NorthWest Dance Intensive where she is also now on the faculty.
As her career progressed she was able to be a contestant on So You Think You Can Dance, and made it all the way to Las Vegas which was a scary and amazing experience.
Becky has a brand new three month old baby boy, so right now she is mostly focusing on teaching. She thinks she will probably retire from the stage for ballet (at least from principle roles). She will most likely perform Irish dance again. She used to dance with Inishfre Irish Dance Company but it was too hard to dance for two companies, so she stopped dancing Irish to finish up her ballet career.
Irish is more appealing now because it is less demanding on hips and on feet. Becky is confident that she could easily perform Irish dancing for another ten years.
However, she did say if they begged her to come back to ballet, if they really wanted her, then she probably would…
In High School, Becky had an interesting lesson in Seminary. She doesn’t remember exactly what the lesson was, but someone had the idea that the kids would take each other up to the front of the room and guess what their lives would be like. Someone said (speaking of her), “She’s going to be a ballet teacher, and she’s going to teach little girls how to dance, and she’s going to be a prima ballerina.”
At that moment, she knew that that’s what she wanted to do. “I need to do that, I have to do that.”
She knew from that young age of fifteen, that she wanted to be a ballerina and a teacher for the rest of her life. She started teaching at eighteen and has taught ever since. She loves it.
Not all masters are good teachers.
Some great dancers cannot be great teachers. That’s what shes learned from taking classes from great dancers, classes from world premier ballerina’s, that were terrible teachers. Their talent almost came easy for them. Ballet demands a certain physique, a certain bone structure. You have to have really open hip sockets to achieve the best turn out and achieve the best line that will be appealing to the audience.
Becky is living proof that other people can learn it even if they don’t have the physique, because she doesn’t have it. But ballerina’s who didn’t have to work, who didn’t have to really overcome physical weakness limitations, have a hard time teaching others. They don’t understand or empathize with why their students aren’t doing what they are being asked to do.
She has seen prima ballerina’s throw fits at their students. Yelling and asking why they are doing a wrong behavior is not the way to help students learn anything.
Some imperfect performers are the best teachers.
While some masters are not good teachers, some performers who aren’t the best performers, or are not good technicians, may be great teachers.
Becky’s had teachers like that. They can explain things, and break what they are teaching down so that their students can understand. Even thought they were never principle artists themselves, they had a gift for teaching.
You never know who’s going to be a good teacher or not, or who’s going to relate to you. Sometimes different people get more or less from the same teacher depending on their phase of life… Once you know technique, you can teach technique every day all day, but if a student is not willing to learn it and absorb it, they aren’t going to hear it.
The Love for Dance Developed into a Lifelong Passion
The love of dance started wither her sister, but when she moved to the ballet company, dancing felt big and special. In the dance world Logan is still really small, but compared to her small town of Wellsville, Logan felt really big. When she started dancing in Logan, the company was using the stage at the Bullen Arts Center. It was pretty, and clean, with a beautiful staircase and a golden railing, and Becky felt special dancing there.
Her teacher was named Diane, and she made the experience even more special. You can be a strict ballet teacher, but if you aren’t sweet with your strictness, the students will hate it.
Becky has had teachers that she didn’t love. The love of ballet is why she stuck with it. It was those good teachers that could be strict while being sweet, that helped develop that love into a passion.
Some of her love of dance came from the magic of the place that she was studying too. It was the culmination of the class, the artform, and the beautiful building where they performed.
Dancing as a Career
When Becky was in high school dancing really started coming across TV through sit coms, commercials, and even as programs. She was able to watch parts of swan lake or the nutcracker performed by professional dancers. This was before YouTube, and before you had access on your phone to watch whatever you wanted. What she knew of ballet was what the Cache Valley Civic Ballet presented on stage. And she did love that, but when she saw professionals on TV with perfectly tailored tutu’s (which feels pretty amazing to have a tutu made to fit you), and they were flawless she was filled with the desire to be like them.
At a civic level you can get pretty good. But unless you are pushed by dancers who are better than you, you can’t become flawless.
When Becky was first married, her husband purchased season tickets for Ballet West. It was a huge eye opener for her. Ballet was what she did, and what she wanted to be. She has always loved it and always knew that she loved it, but as she watched the other performers, she and recognized that she was not at the same level. She decided she needed more training to be able to look like they did.
So, she sought out masters, and trained to get better.
The Parisian Ballerina
One of Becky’s talents is that whenever she is in a store, she can spot a ballet figurine, a poster, or anything ballet oriented from across the room.
One of Becky’s most favorite experiences when she was a foreign exchange student between her Junior and Senior year. They went to Germany, and for part of their trip they got to tour London, and Paris, and a some other cities in few other little countries south of Germany.
When they were in Paris, she visited a great big huge white church, clear at the other end of town from the Eiffel Tower. It was very important that they stuck with their group. But on the way back to their bus that she had to catch, in order to get with their group, they walked past several little shops and vendors.
On the very top shelf of a little shop she saw a gorgeous little ballerina figurine. She instantly wanted it. Her friend Mandy reminded her they needed to go. Becky didn’t care, she needed the ballerina. She went into the shop, and didn’t even negotiate the price. To this day it is one of Becky’s most favorite ballet statues, because of how Becky found her.
Favorite Experiences as a Performer
Live performance is exactly that, live. It might not be your very best, it might not be flawless. There have been a handful of times where Becky has felt that her solo was flawless, and those are her favorite experiences as far as performing.
Sugar Plum Fairy
There was a particularly memorable year when she was the Sugar Plum Fairy. In the part Becky had some attitude turns, which are hard. They are awkward, and it puts your body in a weird position. You are supposed to stay up on point, with your leg back behind you while you are spinning.
She nailed her attitude turns, and felt amazing when she came off stage. One of the gentlemen that performed with her noticed and said, “did you see that?” It made her feel even better that her performance had been seen and appreciated.
Another time she was performing the role of Lilac Fairy. The Lilac Fairy’s solo is also hard. At least it is hard for Becky because she has tight hips and tight ankles, the two worst things that you can have as a dancer. She’s had to work very hard to overcome those physical limitations, and she still hasn’t completely overcome them. For her, this solo is very demanding.
Becky’s favorite experience performing this solo actually wasn’t on stage, it was in rehearsal.
She had just taken three weeks off from an injury. During that time she was just going to therapy, healing, and getting to the point where she could perform the role, she didn’t dance at all.
The Lilac Fairy is one of those dream roles that you often get right at the end of your performing career, because you are finally good enough to do them.
When she came back from her break, Becky’s director was nervous. There hadn’t been a dancer that had such a major injury that took them out of rehearsals for that long and for a leading role before.
Becky nailed it, perfectly. Everything. Her legs were high, the center for her pirouettes was perfect, and even though it isn’t a long solo it is a very technically demanding solo. That was the first and probably only time Becky has ever seen her director speechless after she has performed. She looked at Becky and said, “well OK. That was nice.” She didn’t even know what to say because she was expecting the exact opposite. Becky could see the relief in her face and could tell that she didn’t have to worry.
Her other favorite dancing experience was when she was in Paquita, playing the role of Paquita. That solo is another demanding part and had a few things in it that Becky had only practiced and never performed.
To this day, for her company, the Cache Valley Civic Ballet, she is the only one who has ever done an entrechat six on point as a female dancer. There have been a few men perform the move, but they are on flat not on point. It is a really fast move that you have to do high up in the air with no support from anywhere. She felt good about being able to do that on point, and on stage.
There were only three performances of that show, and on the two Saturday performances she nailed her solo. “It was awesome.”
If Only Every Show Could Be Like That
Becky’s favorite experiences are when she feels good about her performance. After a performance, Becky tends to go home and replay the things that she did that night over and over. She figures out what her mistakes were, what she did wrong, and what she could do better the next time. When she is able to come home and feel “peace and joy because my body finally was in alignment with my spirit” it makes all the hard work, the training, and all the bad experiences worth it.
Dean Speer is the author of On Technique, and Becky teaches with him when she teaches up in Washington. Speer interviewed a male dancer, who remembers doing his solo and said that it was not good. He looked at the audience and said, “we do it again.” Then he looked at the conductor and said, “we do it again.” So he repeated his solo. Afterward they asked this amazing dancer why he had repeated his solo. “The audience paid to see me at my best, so I gave them my best.”
That is the beauty of a live performance, you may get the best, and you might not. That’s why it’s so much more special than a movie. “Live performance is definitely funner, because you never know what’s going to happen.”
In movies or even on YouTube they can cut and paste and record again and again until it looks perfect. And they do that so they can represent themselves or the company with perfection. That’s what you see, perfection, and that’s what we compare ourselves to.
Dance is Important
“Dancers are the athletes of God.” – Albert Einstein
Every culture in the entire world has dance. Africans have their dance, their form, their culture. Ireland has their Irish dancing. Asian cultures have their heritage dances. There is dancing all over the world.
“In some ways, we were meant to dance.”
“Our bodies aren’t meant to just sit around,” and dance doesn’t always have to be technical or formal. Sometimes it’s just dancing with your kids and having fun.
“I think [dance] is a way of expressing yourself.” There is painting and songwriting and other creative endeavors, but dancing is for your body. “Your body and your soul they get to meet up together,” and it’s beautiful.
Lessons from Ballet Class
“I truly believe that every single little girl should take a ballet class,” at some point in her life. Even if she doesn’t become a dancer, one of the greatest things that you learn in a dance class, specifically a ballet class, is self-control. You learn self-control over your body, self-control over your emotions, self-control really over everything.
You also learn how to respect other dancers and class members. “It’s my job to make sure that everyone in the class is learning.” She had a little girl that was being really disrespectful to the other girls in the class, and Becky had to point out to her then when she acts like that, then she takes time away from the other girls who are also there to learn and to dance. That moment of redirection helped her gain awareness and fix bad behavior that could have negatively impacted her life. The dance class was an opportunity for her to become a better person.
Becky loves her students and strives to help them overcome challenges in dance and in life.
One of the greatest benefits of dancing is that it builds strong bodies. Dance fine tunes muscles that doesn’t happen anywhere else. “Dancers train from the tops of their foreheads down to the tips of their toes.” They have to be aware of their facial expressions, and every movement is performed with intention.
Dancers also have to learn to control their emotions because if a dancer lets their emotions get the best of them, no one is going to want to take class with them.
Ballet is a great way to cross train for other sports too. Athletes realize that if they fine tune their muscles for dance, that it can make them faster, help them recover better, and even develop better reflexes. There are really great athletes that cross-train with ballet.
Ballet is her favorite to perform and her favorite to watch, but the cross training that you get from modern, and ballroom, and jazz, is amazing. Any girl that is serious about ballet needs to cross train with other forms of dance also. Ballet is great, but if you aren’t used to moving in different ways, then you will struggle with choreography, and have a hard time picking up on new things. Plus, if you are in a major company often perform other repertoire. You have to be a diversified dancer to succeed in the dance world.
Maris Petipa is a brilliant choreographer known for great choreography set to great music. Petipa was the choreographer for Don Quixote, Sleeping Beauty, the Nutcracker, and Raymonda to name a few.
The sugar plum choreography that they use in the company is very traditional. She loves the traditional choreography in the Nutcracker and for sleeping beauty because the music was written for the movements. She also loves Julius Reisinger who choreographed Swan Lake. When you see it and you hear it, and have the combination of the two together it is magical. So when she sees other choreography that’s to the same music, it’s a little weird.
However, she does love doing original choreography. Her director wrote the ballet Dracula, Copellia, Alice in Wonderland, Firebird, and Beauty and the Beast… she’s written many of the shows that the company performs. For classic shows like The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, they pretty much stick with the original choreography because her director values tradition choreography as well.
It’s fun to do original work because like in the case of Alice in Wonderland, her director set the choreography specifically for her. Everyone in the show had choreography made specfically for them. It’s an honor, and it’s different. She likes having choreography made for her, and she likes doing her own choreography too. Sometimes she feels like she has a better understanding of what will make her look good at different times in her life than other people might.
If Logan were to ever do Swan Lake, Becky would love to play Odette. Another one of Becky’s dream roles would be to play Juliette from Romeo and Juliette. It is a beautiful ballet, and she’s already done most of the difficult movements that are in it, with a few different partners. So she knows that she is capable of all the choreography.
Prima Ballerina Alessandra Ferri
One of Becky’s greatest inspirations in the dancing world is the Italian ballerina Alessandra Ferri. She is a great inspiration, mostly because she is a mother. She is also a beautiful and talented ballet dancer. She had to retrain part of her technique when she was about 28, because she was having some limitations in her ankles, they were a little bit weak, and she also had some limitations in her hips.
A gentleman by the name of Phillip Beamish recognized that Ferri was a beautiful dancer and decided to help her figure out why her body was having the limitations and help her fix them. He spend over a year figuring out why one person’s body will do something and why another’s won’t.
Ferri embraced the coaching. She knew that she was in a pivotal point in her career, and she knew that she would have to change the way she was working or she would have to stop dancing.
Life Beyond Dance
After she retrained, she got married, had two daughters. When her daughters were teenagers, she decided to retire from the stage, Ferri was 46. She only retired for a few years, and just recently returned back to the stage at 52.
She is an amazing woman. Although Becky has never met her, she feels like Ferri is an inspiration to all of the dancers out there who feel like they don’t have anything else left to give, or feel like they just aren’t good enough. “She’s a standing testimony that you can keep improving, and you can still have a life outside of dance.”
It was actually her daughters that encouraged Ferri to go back to the stage. They realized that their Mom wasn’t the same, that something was missing. They wanted to see their mom regain the light in her that was missing, rather than have her give up everything for them. She embraced what her daughters told her and returned to the stage. She is a beautiful woman with a beautiful story.
For a lot of time people thought that you couldn’t do both: be a dancer and a mother. But you really can.
One of Becky’s favorite stories is a documentary on YouTube called Ballerina. The documentary follows five Russian ballerinas at different stages in their careers: Uliana Lopatkina, Eyguenya Obraztsova, Alina Somova, Diana Vishneya, and Svetlana Zakharova.
There are two stories that particularly stand out to Becky. One ballerina who had an injury and one who became a mother. They were both nervous to return to the stage but knew they wanted to. Both dancers were principle dancers at the time, but didn’t expect to be principle dancers when they returned to work.
When the dancers returned, the director noticed that because of the break, both physically and emotionally (dancing is demanding on your confidence, your emotions, and your body), these dancers came back stronger, with more desire and had a higher purpose. They were more relaxed on stage because, they were in “their happy place.” All the tension was gone and they were better dancers.
The dancing world is really starting to embrace that motherhood is a part of life, and so is returning back to dance. “Why train your entire life to give it up?”
A Break Can Be Good
Becky noticed that after having her first two children she was more supple, more confident, and she was a stronger and leaner dancer when she returned to the stage.
“It was in alignment with what my spirit wanted. I wanted it so bad, and I believe the Lord wanted that happiness for me too.”
She had more to give when she went back. Taking time for your self as a mom is so important.
Becky has found that when she is feeling afraid, it is usually because she doesn’t feel prepared.
“If I’m doing everything I can to prepare, then I honestly just have a prayer in my heart that I will have the strength to do it, whatever it is. But if I’m not prepared, then that’s when the fear… can consume you.”
Fear is not reserved only for dancing, it can be on numerous levels, but the same principle holds true: if you don’t feel prepared, it’s scary.
It’s all about preparation.
If you are learning or trying something you have no idea about, look it up, research it. Learn everything about whatever it is you’re going to do so you feel prepared. Then when you are in the situation, you can trust yourself, your judgement and intuition, and with a small prayer that things will work out, they will (even if it’s not in the way you think it will).
“If you’re totally prepared, you might be nervous, but it will all work out.”
Tools and Resources for Life and Happiness
Becky’s sister Tora (her ballet teacher), is a Pilates teacher and Becky cross trains with Pilates. For years she went to class with her. At one of Tora’s continuing education conventions, found out about MELT therapy.
MELT, was created by Sue Hitzmann. MELT stands for Myofascial Energetic Length Technique and focuses on hydrating your connective tissue and easing pain.
Basically, it’s learning self-massage techniques. There is a foam roller and little balls that are specifically made with different densities of hardness and softness. MELT classes teach how to use the equipment properly. The process is very scientific, and Hitzmann did a lot of research to find out what you need to stimulate where to release a certain part of your body.
Before Becky started MELTing, she thought she’d be done performing (about six years ago). MELTing prolonged her performance by five years and she can still keep performing if she wants to.
Ideally Becky would like a massage everyday, but that is not realistic. Dancers work really hard, and if they don’t have that release of tissue, the scar tissue and inflammation it just builds and builds.
MELTing not only helps Becky with her dancing but it helps in life. When Becky gets stressed, she carries all her stress in her shoulder blades and then it travels up the back of her head and then she gets a constant headache. Because of MELT, she knows how to release her own shoulder blades on her foam roller. “It’s amazing. I MELT some part of my body every single day.” Whether it’s her feet or her hands or her shoulder blades, her legs or her hips. She knows how to release her entire body, and now that she knows it, and has the equipment, she can do as much or as little as she wants.
Becky also loves her craniosacral therapist, especially after her last birth. Little baby Abraham came out sideways. Her therapist has worked wonders for her and her son.
YouTube and Reading books are other great resources for healthy and happy living.
- The book that she recommends the most is On Becoming Baby Wise: Giving Your Infant the Gift of Nighttime Sleep by Robert Bucknam M.D. and Gary Ezzo.
It helps so much with infants. “If you can’t sleep, you can’t function. And if your baby’s not sleeping then you’re not sleeping.” It’s also a great resource because it helps you narrow down and figure out what could be wrong with your baby when they are upset and fussy.
- The book the she reads, reads, and re-reads is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë.
“It’s just such a good love story.” “It just makes my heart so happy when I read it.”
- Another one of Becky’s favorites is the The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom.
Becky truly loves this book. The amazing things that Corrie and her sister go through is inspiring.
- Right now she’s reading The Lincoln Hypothesis by Timothy Ballard.
It’s also a really good book. It’s historical and informative. Her favorite book depends on what she is interested in at the time.
- She’s also been collecting the Children of the Promise Series, which is historical fiction by Dean Hughes. She is excited to read them all as her son gets a little older and she has a bit more time.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for their therapeutic and healing properties. Becky uses them every day for her overall health and happiness, especially:
- Frankincense. Frankincense helps reduce stress reactions and negative emotions, helps boost immune system function and prevents illness, kills harmful germs and bacteria, balances hormone levels, eases digestion, and helps decrease inflammation and pain.
- White Fir. Fir Needle essential oil can be used to relieve arthritis pain, heal muscle aches, reduce fatigue, prevent infections, lower pain, improve bone health, and increase metabolism to name a few.
“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke
“Neglect not the Gift that is in Thee… Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them.” – Timothy 4:14-15
We Are What We Do or Do Not Eat
Calcium and Protein
Becky doesn’t limit her carb or her protein intake. Dancers especially need to make sure they get a lot of calcium and a lot of protein in their diet because those are the things that get used more than anything else. Your muscles and your bones are continually working and manipulating and having protein and calcium are very important in keeping them strong and healthy.
Limiting sugar is important to keep inflammation down. She tries not to eat a ton of sugar and teachers her students not to eat a ton of sugar too, but a little bit is not going to hurt you.
“I’m a firm believer that there are yummy things on this Earth to be enjoyed.”
She is not an anti-sugar person, but there is definite science behind sugar being an inflammatory food, and the same for dairy. But she does not limit those foods completely out of her diet. She just tries to balance it out with really healthy things. “Everything in moderation.”
Everything Should Be in Balance
Becky is a big fan of Kale smoothies. She does not care for Kale in other dishes because it is coarse and rather bitter, but a smoothie is a great way to get all the nutritional benefits of Kale without the taste. She makes banana, blueberry, kale, yogurt, and peach smoothies. She also likes to make dehydrated kale chips.
Balancing out sugar with healthy foods is key.
“If I eat crappy I don’t think well, and then I don’t pick up on choreography well.”
Food Fuels Your Body
Becky tells her older girls that they have to eat breakfast. “If you do not eat breakfast, by the time you come to class at four o’clock in the afternoon… you’re tired and you’re unmotivated.” Your body needs seven hours to process the nutrients that you ate for breakfast, so if you want to do well, you have to eat breakfast.
Within the first five minutes of class Becky can identify the students who ate breakfast, and who didn’t. The ones who ate breakfast are there “present in mind and body.” and even beyond that, she can tell who ate a healthy breakfast. The girls who took the time to have a smoothie, or oatmeal, or something that had some nutritional value do better. The girls that take the time to eat healthy progress “at least five times faster than their classmates.”
Becky also holds them accountable. Unfortunately eating disorders are fairly common in the dance world. She has had students who struggle with eating disorders too, and Becky truly wants to help all her students be healthy. They talk about how important it is for their bodies to have calcium and protein. And how important it is to eat so that they can develop healthy bodies not just a skinny body. There is a difference,“skinny bodies don’t endure.”
When her girls come to class, she asks, “Who had breakfast?” And they take the time to go around the room and say what they had for breakfast, and the girls answer honestly. Whether they “had a bite of air,” or a granola bar, or a smoothie they are honest. Becky feels they tell her the truth because she isn’t there to judge them, she has their best interest at heart. She has their physical and emotional bodies as her primary focus.
“I can’t do anything with their dancer body, if I don’t have the other two things working in harmony.”
At the beginning of the year she would explain that the class would be hard, and she intentionally makes it hard because she wants to push her dancers, but she can’t do her job if the girls don’t do their part to make sure that they are physically and emotionally caring for their bodies.
Becky is really excited to finish her home studio. She and her husband Trevor really love living where they are. It’s close to town but far enough away it’s a little slower pace. It’s also close to both of their families. Two years ago they added on to their home to have a master bedroom and bath, and underneath it is the dance studio.
Becky teaches a lot, primarily private lessons. Last summer in the three months of summertime she taught 175 classes. And 140 of those were private or semi-private lessons. She would love to be able to move even just half of those home. It’s more convenient for some of her clients, and it is more friendly to her mom schedule.
She also has a Far Infrared Sauna that she can use to either help dancers overcome injury or overcome physical limitations. It is something that helped her dramatically. The sauna has far infrared, near infrared, and mid infrared light therapy so it can help loosen up the dancer’s bodies and loosen up the scar tissue.
The facility that the dance company has, does not have any physical therapy on staff or an injury prevention program, so when a dancer gets injured or is trying to overcome physical limitations Becky is where they go. It is also one of the reasons she has so many private lessons. She doesn’t just teach technique, she teaches the girls how to work with their bodies in a healthier way. Students come from all over Cache Valley to train with her and they all aren’t ballet dancers. The classes are very tailored to the individual dancer. So, having her studio with the sauna specifically for helping her dancers improve and heal will positively impact Becky’s effect as a teacher.
The studio isn’t just for convenience, but it will help her dancers have the resources they need. It also gives the dancers a safe place to work until they are confident enough to go back to the studio.
NorthWest Dance Intensive
She is also looking forward to teaching in Washington again this summer for two weeks. They would love for Becky to move up there and start a big school with them but Becky loves it here. She’s isn’t interested in relocating right now. She loves what she is doing. She knows it is what she is supposed to do, and she knows she is where she is supposed to be.
She loves going up there to teach because they are thankful that she is there, and they appreciate her ability to break things down for her students.
During our conversation, on more than one occasion Becky mentioned that she truly feels like she is doing what she is supposed to be doing. And it didn’t happen by chance and it wasn’t handed to her, she had to work for it.
She had to train, she had to learn, and she had to actively research how to improve. She has trained with one of the world’s top ballet masters, Philip Beamish. Beamish has trained some of the top dancers in the world, including Alessandra Ferri. That training didn’t happen by accident, she had to go out and seek him.
Beamish is a pioneer in a new way of dancing that treats different body physiology’s differently. Instead of teaching everyone to do the same thing, he recognized that some dancers are built differently than others and that we shouldn’t expect them to move the same way that others do. He helped them find different ways of achieving the same movements in a safer way.
Becky believes that “if the alignment is there, the technique will follow. If the alignment is not there, the technique will only get so good and then you’ll hit a barrier.”
Becky uses Beamish’s philosophy with her own students. The naked eye probably couldn’t tell what the difference in training are, but Becky helps her students find a different pathway for their body to execute the desired move. Because of the different pathway, her students are able to reach performance previously unattainable for them.
Learn More about Becky Erickson: Links, Pictures, and Articles
- The boy in the ballet (photograph)
- ‘The Nutcracker’ returns, p. 4
- Cache Valley Civic Ballet brings ‘Dracula’ to life
- ‘Dracula’ Cache Valley Civic Ballet shares spine-tingling tale (Cover Photo)
- Fairy Godmother (photo)
Dance Across the USA
- Montana. Glacier National Park. Becky Erickson
- Aton, Moon. (2014). YouTube. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6oE8IFJVK-Q
- CacheValleyDaily.com. (June 7, 2011). Retrieved from http://www.cachevalleydaily.com/news/local/article_05b058ed-fbfc-59c8-95f8-a828046c3cc9.html
- Cache Valley School of Ballet. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.cvcballet.org/instructors/
- Cover. ‘Dracula’ Cache Valley Civic Ballet shares spine-tingling tale. (Oct. 28, 2015). Cache Magazine. Retrieved from https://issuu.com/cachemagazine/docs/103015
- Dance Across the USA. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.danceatusa.com/about
- DrAxe.com. (2017). Retrieved from https://draxe.com/fir-needle-essential-oil/
- DrAxe.com. (2017). Retrieved from https://draxe.com/what-is-frankincense/
- Harrison, Shawn. (2012). The Herald Journal. Retrieved from http://news.hjnews.com/arts_entertainment/the-boy-in-the-ballet/article_a7cc32ec-9607-11e1-9adb-001a4bcf887a.html
- Hunter, Jeff. ‘The Nutcracker’ returns, p. 4. (2016). Cache Magazine. Retrieved from https://issuu.com/cachemagazine/docs/111816
- Inishfre Irish Dance Company. (2014). Facebook. Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/inishfreirishdance/
- lds.org. (2017). Retrieved from http://classic.scriptures.lds.org/en/1_tim/4/14-15
- Macavinta, Amy. Cache Valley Civic Ballet brings ‘Dracula’ to life. (2015). The Herald Journal. Retrieved from http://news.hjnews.com/cache_magazine/cover_stories/cache-valley-civic-ballet-brings-dracula-to-life/article_bf653a64-87cb-52ab-9f81-d7d7d3982592.html
- MELT. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.meltmethod.com/about/
- Meyers, Jennifer. (Apr. 17, 2013). The Herald Journal. Retrieved from http://news.hjnews.com/photo/news/fairy-godmother-wa/image_327da999-301c-5fd3-9060-a17317017ddf.html
- Montana, G. N. P. (2017). Dance Across the USA. Retrieved from http://www.danceatusa.com/thelocations/#/montana/
- Northwest Dance Intensive. (2017). Retrieved from http://northwestdanceintensive.com/
- Northwest Dance Intensive. (2017). Retrieved from http://northwestdanceintensive.com/faculty/
- Philip Beamish. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.philipbeamish.com/method.htm
- Williams, Sally. (2017). The Telegraph. Retrieved from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/health/kept-ballerina-body-aged-54-dancer-alessandra-ferri/