I was diagnosed with scoliosis at the age of 13...
My story is very unique. I began dance at the age of 4 years old. What started out as a hobby became a passion. I knew from the age of 10 that I wanted to become a professional dancer. I loved being on stage and sharing a story!
"I was prescribed to wear back brace at all times - except when dancing."
At the age or 13 my life took a drastic turn. I went to the doctor for an annual check up. He noticed I had a curvature in my spine and recommended I get an x-ray. To see my spine curved in two places on the X-ray machine was unreal. It looked like an S. To then hear the doctor suggest that I may need surgery was dream shattering. I felt so discouraged and confused as to why this was happening to me. I was terrified!
Thankfully my parents were so supportive of my dreams of becoming a professional dancer. They did research on non surgical ways to treat scoliosis. This was 17 years ago...we did not have luxury of the internet as we do now. We luckily found a Chiropractor in NYC (Dr. Alex Eingorn) and I was prescribed to wear back brace at all times - except when dancing.
It was a very tough time for me because I was growing into my body and had just started attending the prestigious Professional Performing Arts School/Alvin Ailey School. I was learning various styles of dance all while dealing with this frustrating diagnosis. I had to work twice as hard to work against the challenges. It felt like the end of the world but my love for dance kept me hungry and motivated. I had faith that I could still make it as a pro dancer. I saw the Chiropractor 2-3 times a week after dance class and also confided in my dance teachers to help me with understanding my imbalances and strengthening my core.
17 years later I am very grateful that I have not had to have surgery. Of course living with Scoliosis affects my alignment and my balance which are key components of in dance. However having this condition has made me hyper aware of my body. I currently do body conditioning like; Floorbare, GYROTONIC, and specific PT Schroth exercises. This allows me to engage the right muscles in my core, back and legs. I have accepted and found joy in dedicating time to my health in order to remain healthy and strong. Movement and breath is HEALING!!! Can’t stress that enough.
"Dance is not only therapeutic for the artist, but should be for the viewer as well."
My love for movement helped me through many difficult times in life. 17 years later I am living my dreams as a professional dancer. I have danced and toured with 3 companies: Ailey 2, Visceral Dance Chicago, and Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre. I am a Princess Grace Award recipient in Dance and Dance Magazine Top 25 to Watch. In 2017 co-founded The Paige Fraser Foundation which aims to create a safe space for dancers with or without disabilities. I am a current member of The Lion King National Tour.
I am so grateful for the healing power of the arts. I dance, create, and advocate for those living with Scoliosis because I am called to do this. My main mission as a performing artist is to make sure that everything I present is genuine. I want the audience to feel something when they see me perform. Dance is not only therapeutic for the artist, but should be for the viewer as well. I hope my story inspires other people with scoliosis to keep moving and breathing through life!