Testimonials from Partners
I’m so proud that my company Ballet Tucson is partnering with the Whole Dancer this season and beyond. The physical and mental demands of this rigorous art form can be hard to navigate and Jess at The Whole Dancer is the perfect guide. She helps artists to develop a healthy approach to all aspects of their practice while maintaining their deep love and passion for dance.
Artistic Director of Ballet Tucson, former Soloist Pacific Northwest Ballet
One on One Coaching Testimonials
I loved working with Jess. I had such a genuine connection with her and still continue to, even after our sessions have ended. I know she is always just a call away if and when I ever need her again. I can tell she really cares about her dancers and wants to do all she can to help us. She also has shared so much about her personal journey. I know she truly understands where I’m coming from.
I needed help figuring out what foods would be best to fuel my body as a dancer. Becoming more of an adult, as well as becoming a more serious dancer, meant that I needed to start treating myself as an athlete. Fueling your body correctly is a big part of that. I needed guidance in this area as well as figuring out body image issues and how those go hand in hand.
Not only did Jess work with me on food choices and building good habits around that, but she also helped with body image, confidence in dance, finding balance in life outside the studio, and self care. I think all these things are connected and crucial to having a successful career and can get lost along the road of training, especially for younger dancers trying to find their way.
I feel like I am in less of a “fog”. I have built good habits for myself surrounding food choices and have also built a lot of confidence in the studio. I listen to my body more now when it is asking for a break and prioritize self care.
Thank you for all you do Jess!!!
Colleen Underriner, Steps on Broadway Conservatory
Before working with Jess, I was suffering a lot with my body image from my teenage years. I had disordered eating patterns from previous traumas and at some point this whole situation just started to become bigger and bigger. My mood was all the time down and I just couldn’t work as hard as I wanted to at the dance company where I am now.
I had a therapist the whole time, but I arrived at a point after almost 3 years, where I felt that I needed help from someone, who has experience with dance. It’s such a specific world, and If you don’t have experience in it, it’s really hard to understand it and to help dancers with their struggles.
I felt the coaching experience was really specific. Sometimes I needed support with my eating, sometimes I needed more support to see the whole dance world from a bigger, more open-minded perspective. As dancers sometimes we forget that we have the choice to say no, or to choose where we want to work. I felt seen during our meetings and It gave me a huge support in my everyday life.
Now, I am much more confident about my body and I am more conscious in my everyday life. I understand that every body is different and I don’t have to compare my body to other dancers’ bodies which gives me freedom finally.
Through my work with Jess I realized that as dancers we have much more power than we thought.
Bettina Jurák, GöteborgsOperans Danskompani
I ultimately made the decision to hire Jess as I knew I needed to make changes. I was ready to stop feeling so drained mentally and physically. I loved The way she approached fixing things without judgment and from a holistic perspective.
I haven’t worked with other dance providers. However the difference I see With Jess is that she is able to tackle more than just one specific issue. I noticed most support providers or coaches really have one main focus, and although that can be great the mind and body are connected in so many ways you can’t just focus on one.
Jess has given me the confidence to take my health and well being into my own hands and really take care of myself. I am ready mentally to deal with the day to day challenges of dance as well as knowing how to fuel my body and keep myself honest with how I’m doing. I know how to pinpoint what’s wrong and what to do to tackle it.
I have much better awareness of how my body is doing. Before working together I wasn’t able to really pinpoint why I was feeling off, or maybe even better. Now I am able to notice what is out of whack and get everything back in balance.
Kathryn Muscarella, Ballet Theatre of Maryland
I decided to hire Jess for coaching because I was well into audition season and a really stressful performance was ahead of me. I felt so little confidence in myself and my body, I was overeating every night and felt so sick mentally and physically. I did a free coaching call, and instantly Jess knew the root cause of each issue I was bringing up and gave me tools to work with. I knew that she genuinely wanted to help me and I knew I needed the help.
This coaching experience is unique because we worked in a 1:1 setting, which allowed us to tailor everything to my specific needs and schedule, especially transitioning from a college program to a professional career. We focused not on changing what I was eating and cutting out food groups, or exercising more, etc. but what habits I could incorporate into my life to heal my relationship with food.
Yes. I would recommend coaching with Jess, 1000% yes. A lot of people think they can fix things by themselves, or “just get through it”. They “start over” every week or month and end up falling into the same habits. I have seen this happen across many dancers and many do not even realize the connections between food and our daily lives other than “just wanting to be skinny”. Allowing myself to be comfortable talking about it was one of the hardest things I had to do, and Jess helped me through that. Aside from eating and body image, there is so much more that Jess helps with! We have talked about auditions, comparisons to fellow dancers, interactions with artistic staff, dealing with traveling back to family, and so much more.
The main result I have received from this work is that I now feel as though I have a healthy relationship with myself and food. Of course it is not perfect, and it is unrealistic to expect that, but I am healing. I enjoy dancing every day, I can focus on my technique without judgment, and most importantly I now know so many tools and have habits that work best for ME. I feel confident in my dancing and am able to also separate myself from negativity that others feel and not let it affect me. I am not stuck in the binge/restrict cycle any longer and I can enjoy a life full of food, love, and dancing!
Maia Blake, Ballet Spartanburg
A year ago, I was feeling so lost with how I felt about my relationship to dance, with food, and my body. I had not found my work/life/dance balance yet. I wanted to talk to someone who understood the dancer’s struggles, even though it’s not my job anymore.
I’ve never worked with another coach in the dance industry. But I love that your coaching feels so customized and not one size fits all.
I cannot begin to recommend Jess enough to current and former dancers. I know she focuses on working with pre-pro and professional dancers, but helping me transition to my new career was so helpful and should offer it to “retiring” dancers.
This is the most at peace I’ve ever felt with my body. I love my new relationship with dance and now I’m not scared to take breaks or not train as intensely as I did in the past. I’ve learned to tackle new food situations at work and find joy in enjoying food overall.
I’ve always looked forward to my calls each week. It’s so nice to talk to someone who understands the dancer struggles both physically and mentally (which most therapists don’t). I’m going to miss our chats, but I feel ready to take on the world.
Jessie Frazier, Retired Professional Dancer
I decided to hire Jess for coaching in hopes to mend my relationship with food and to improve my outlook on dance in the classroom. I have struggled with eating for years, and I was looking for a more sustainable and guilt-free approach to eating.
I have never been through this type of service before, and it was refreshing to know that I am not alone in these struggles. I’m planning on auditioning soon, so it was really nice to be reminded that there will be opportunities out there for me as long as I take the time to seek them out. I was very surprised at the scope of Jess’s services because I did not anticipate the well-rounded support she provides for her dancers!
Since working with Jess, I don’t feel guilty eating anymore, and I have flexibility with what I can eat. I have made much more peace with my body, and I am confident with how I look. I also have learned my value as a dancer, and I know that sometimes not all dance environments will be the right fit. Moving forward, I am auditioning for companies just as much as they’re auditioning me.
Jess has made me want to keep dancing and has helped me to believe in myself again!
Nicole Dickson, Butler University Dance Major
Before I started working with Jess, I knew I needed extra support if I wanted to succeed and have a career in dance. I struggled with anxiety and my insecurities were hindering my ability to perform at my best. Jess gave me the tools to approach things differently and manage my mindset so that I could reach my highest potential. Being able to talk through the issues you are facing with someone who understands the pressures of professional dance is so beneficial. Jess is easy to talk to, positive and encouraging. I really attribute her ongoing support and encouragement to helping me achieve my dream of an apprenticeship with the Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Malena Ani, Pacific Northwest Ballet
Working with Jess has been astoundingly transformative in so many ways. As a former professional ballet dancer who has gone through the same struggles many of us face, she comes from an incredibly relatable place to approach clients with understanding, empathy, and validity.
Jess is exceptionally skilled at what she does, and one of the most incredible aspects is that she helps lead you to discover that balance is possible on your own. She fosters your relationships with food and your body in a way that is unique to the individual. There is no one size fits all method, and she tailors one on one coaching to your needs and concerns.
She is such a positive force, and I found that the effects of this program helped shape me as a whole person and have transferred to all areas of my life. I have learned to accept myself and treat myself with the same kindness I would treat a friend, and I am able to view myself through a lens of understanding rather than harshness and guilt.
The mindset shifts that are possible with this program are long term benefits that everyone should take advantage of. Working with Jess has been such a blessing, and it has been an invaluable investment that I wish I had known about sooner. Before I found this program, I had accepted that I would never have a healthy relationship with food or my body, and I thought that was even to be expected in the dance world.
However, working with Jess has brought me to a state of acceptance I never thought was possible. You don’t have to struggle in silence! Restore your relationship with food, heal your relationship with your body, create long lasting change, and develop coping mechanisms to deal with life in a healthy way. You won’t regret it.
Anna Moeller, Butler University Dance Major
Since I started working with Jess 2 years ago, I have lost weight and gained muscle mass, developed healthy eating habits to sustain my dancing, and been able to occasionally indulge in foods without as much guilt. I gave up my restrictive mindset towards eating. My technique and lines have improved since I am no longer fixating on how my body looks in the studio. I thoroughly enjoy dancing instead of feeling like I have to overcome obstacles to be able to enjoy it. I can now wear just a camisole leotard and tights in the studio and not feel like hiding! Jess helped coach me through 2 lead roles (which as a recreational dancer is a lot!) and helped me feel confident and prepared for performing them. Jess is positive and nonjudgmental. She genuinely cares about your success and is well equipped to address any dance-related health concerns you might have physically, mentally, or emotionally!
Jessica Maddox, Adult Dancer
Before working with Jess, I struggled with properly fueling myself as a dancer and I was constantly comparing myself to others. I learn so much from each session! As dancers we need to understand how to fuel our bodies and change our mindsets around food. My body confidence is better and working with Jess has made me understand that great dancers need to be strong in order to perform our best.
Lena Easter, Huntsville Ballet
Working with Jess was exactly what I needed for the situation I was in. I felt a lot of pressure to get back to 100% after I broke my foot, especially with audition season looming. I felt behind. Jess helped me organize my thoughts and my company list. Although the audition season was cut short due to the coronavirus crisis, I felt very prepared and confident to go in and get a contract. I had a lot of worries that Jess talked me through and it was nice to have an outside voice that is familiar with the situation without being biased. I can see myself signing up for 1 on 1 coaching again in the future! I also love that we have a friendly relationship even though my session is over. I appreciate that I feel that I can reach out to her whenever, and that she will occasionally email me to check in on things. Thank you, Jess!
Ellie Abbick, Louisville Ballet
Praise for The Dancers’ Best Body Program
Before The Dancers’ Best Body Program, I was struggling with inspiration, motivation, and confidence. This was my first experience with a dancer support service and it blew my mind! It challenged me in ways I wasn’t expecting, and I’ve come out on the other side feeling inspired, confident, and motivated to keep what I’ve learned going in my everyday life.
This program allowed me to focus my energy on dance, my body, and food in a positive way. I have never spoken or thought about the dance world and my experiences as deeply as I did throughout this program. It has helped me un-learn and analyze any negative thinking or feeling that I have, and replace it with grace and balance. Jess has amazing insight, is very relatable, and gives unmatched advice.
I gained so much respect for the other dancers sharing their stories and being vulnerable. It was validating hearing how similar our stories were, and comforting to know I wasn’t alone and we’re all going through the same things. I have seen a HUGE shift in my mindset around food, my body, and dance through my work in this program. Because of this, I have lost some weight naturally. My physical goals are ongoing, but I’m so grateful for the knowledge and confidence I’ve gained. Jess sets you up for success in every way possible.
Cecilia Zanone, IUBT Alum, Dancer & Teacher in Chicago
I signed up for The Dancers’ Best Body Program for support in conquering food restriction, body dysmorphia, and not feeling confident in my body. It was so helpful to work with Jess who is a dancer, who has struggled with the same things dancers go through everyday.
Through the program, I saw a shift in mindset from focusing on my body aesthetic to my overall health, well-being and my technique. I’ve felt greater confidence in my dancing and daily life and found a better awareness of how to listen to my body.
I gained a perspective of what others are going through and how they are dealing with their problems. The program also provided a sense of supportive community to help me and encourage me through my own struggles.
Nicole Moyer, San Francisco Ballet
I enrolled in The Dancers’ Best Body Program because I was struggling with my relationship with food, my relationship with my body, and feeling very stuck in terms of motivation and technique. I love the sense of connection and community created throughout this program, and the way you are given a place to truly process the information and come up with individualized ways to incorporate the information.
This is not a one-size-fits-all type of program, but instead a guide to self-discovery and learning how to decide what is best for you and your own body. My favorite part of this program is that it helped me to recognize that I’m so much more than just a dancer, and that every other aspect of my life needs my attention and care as well. This program has helped me to see myself more as a whole person and shown me how to go about finding more balance within my life.
Through this program I’ve begun viewing myself with more kindness and compassion. I’ve started to learn the process of listening to my body, whether in terms of hunger and fullness, how certain foods make me feel, or in terms of when to rest. I’ve broken down many unhelpful rules I’ve placed on myself over the years, and recognized the way I’ve allowed body comments I’ve received to directly and indirectly affect the way I view myself. Many of the changes I’ve experienced have had to do with mindset, which looking back on it was probably the biggest thing that needed to change for me. I feel like I’ve gained so much knowledge about how to live in a more holistic and integrated way.
The group coaching calls were so amazing. I felt very supported because everyone was so kind and would offer suggestions, and share if they’d had a similar experience to what I was saying. It was very validating to see that I wasn’t the only one going through these struggles, and in fact we all were. It was eye opening to understand that we were working through some similar issues. Sometimes another dancer would bring up a question I hadn’t thought of that applied to me, or Jess offered another dancer advice that I could use as well, which was so helpful. I loved having that time and space set aside where I could share how my week had been going, and then listen to others and be there for them.
Emma Feddo, University of Utah School of Dance
I signed up for this program to start working through body dysmorphia, disordered eating patterns/orthorexia, low body confidence and distractions around my body while dancing. I think almost all dancers should try the program and would benefit from it. Ballet culture instills such harmful beliefs and ideals in us that are so hard to unwind on our own, this program gave me so much help both in the modules and in having Jess and the other dancers as support and a sounding board.
I have been much more diligent about fueling my body properly and eating well/regularly, which has led to my having much more energy. In general even though I know I still have a long way to go with healing and undoing all of the dysfunction in my relationship to my body, I have a more peaceful outlook on my body and it distracts me FAR less when I am dancing than it ever has, and once I filmed my audition videos a month ago and watched them, I definitely had much more pride in myself, what I was capable of and how I look.
Bailey Madill, Canadian Freelance Professional Ballet Dancer
I signed up for The Dancers’ Best Body Program because I was struggling with body image and making food choices from a healthy place (avoiding, restricting, or snacking too much at night. I also wanted to improve my petite allegro and find confidence in ballet class. This program has been huge for me in developing a more optimistic view of myself as a dancer and feeling more confident in my body. In addition to receiving a broad education in dancer-specific nutrition, I explored my honest perceptions of myself as a dancer, experimented with finding the foods that best fuel my individual body, learned self-care practices that are manageable to incorporate into the insanity of a full-time student/dancer life, and worked through journaling exercises each week that revealed underlying mental barriers that were preventing me from achieving my potential as a dancer.
Through her experience as a professional dancer, Jess also provided career support for us in the ballet world as we were navigating the stress that comes with audition season and the unknown of the future of the arts in the midst of a global pandemic. I would highly recommend this program to any dancer who values a well-rounded, sustainable approach to pursue their individual goals for their bodies, in their minds, and in the studio.
Amy Allen, American Repertory Ballet Trainee
Before participating in The Dancers’ Best Body Program, I was struggling with binge eating episodes, low body confidence, and a lack of energy when dancing. The Dancers’ Best Body Program (and The Whole Dancer for that matter) has a higher quality of content than other online support services for dancers. I love how the program puts a huge emphasis on self love and self care. I feel that is the main component that has helped me get to where I am today. The program does not just focus on food but on the complete well being of the dancer. I also love how Jess was a professional dancer and understands the struggles dancers are going through. To me, it is crucial that I have a coach who understands what I am going through as opposed to, say, a non-dancer dietician. I also thoroughly enjoyed the group coaching calls as it was the first time I have ever been able to talk about my problems out loud around other dancers, and everyone was extremely supportive and understanding. I went into this program only hoping for weight loss, but what I got was much better. I now have a healthy mindset and a greater sense of self love. I am able to eat a cookie at night without feeling guilty. I have also noticed an increase of tone in my muscles as a side effect of a healthy mindset.
Grace Brown, Colorado Ballet Academy
Prior to taking part in this program, I struggled with body confidence, my restricting and bingeing habits, and solidifying strategies to properly fuel myself. The support in the group program was fantastic, I loved the group coaching calls! It was nice to connect with dancers outside my circle and know we were all in a similar boat. Initially you may be thinking that this is a program to help you lose weight. Instead, the program offers information, support, a chance to dive deep into your habits or patterns, and an opportunity for a major mental shift. You gain a lot of knowledge and healthy habits and lose what no longer serves you in becoming your best self! Losing the stress and worries around food is the greatest weight I’ve left behind!
Bodies fluctuate, so my biggest goals were in creating lasting change in my habits and approach to food. I have more body confidence, I have much healthier habits, and a really relaxed approach when it comes to food. Rather than worrying about weight gain, I get to consider what will help me feel fulfilled today. Some days it’s my favorite salad and other days, it’s a homemade baked treat. Though I’ve had some weight loss, I don’t believe it’s the most important change from the program.
Timmorie Freeman, Trainee with Alonzo King Lines Ballet
I think that The Dancer’s Best Body Program is amazing because there is such a sense of camaraderie amongst the other participating dancers. It feels open, safe, and encouraging in every aspect. The number one thing that has changed for me during this program is the awareness of my mindset. Along with that, I have discovered an eating plan that works for me and helps me feel energized and confident. I have noticed positive changes in my body and proportions that have not only been noticed by me but by others as well.
Anna Ackerman, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre School
When I worked with sports doctors and nutritionists in the past they didn’t really understand a dancers life and were just trying to promote their own agenda, rather than help you find exactly what works for you. I would definitely recommend The Dancers’ Best Body Program. I think the biggest reason I recommend it is because the program covers everything and helps you create a healthy lifestyle that can be maintained long-term — it isn’t an extreme or “quick fix” program. I really enjoyed the group calls and always looked forward to them! I am going to miss them! It has helped me to be more accountable with going through the program. Whilst I am comfortable sharing with individual people, sometimes sharing with a group of people stresses me, so it has helped push me out of my comfort zone and become more confident.
Chantelle Meyers, Professional Dancer Abroad
I have a much better mental view of myself, WAY better body image, and I am not afraid of food anymore… I am just thankful that I can have joy when I dance. If you really invest in this program, it can heal your body image, relationship with food, and help you accept yourself where you are. I may not have dropped 20 pounds over the course of this program, but that’s not necessarily what it means to achieve your best body. Your best body is one that you are comfortable in and I am proud to say I am comfortable in mine. I finally don’t feel alone in my struggles and feel that I have the tools and resources to overcome them.
Tatum Beynon, University of Iowa BFA Dance Program, Dancer + Teacher in Chicago
This program is much more interactive than other dancers’ support services I have seen. From bi-weekly group coaching, to journaling and actions, the program allows you to apply what you learn and make new habits in your daily life. Jess is an incredibly supportive and encouraging coach. She has built a program in which you can meet new dancers from around the world who share the same struggles as you. I have been able to create new healthy habits in my diet. I gained immense amounts of confidence in my dancing and body. And most importantly, I’m no longer worried about how months off from COVID-19 will affect my future. I have lost the couple of pounds I gained from quarantine. I have seen changes in my leg muscles and abdominals. I have much less worry about my body and myself as a whole person. My mindset is much more positive.
Emma Stewart, Canada’s National Ballet School
I always thought that I was just going to struggle with food and my body forever and be unhappy until I was skinny. Which at my core, I knew was false. But without this program, my past self would’ve believed all of the thoughts that came through my head as facts. By participating in this program, those thoughts I had were often challenged and that allowed me to take a step back, and see that the voice in my head wasn’t always telling the truth. I am here to say it is 100% possible to find peace with food, body and enjoy dancing again. We are all human and have ups and downs and through the group coaching calls, you can confide in one another, gain tools and education from Jess and others, and for me it really shrank my problems that I was blowing out of proportion in my head. In the best way.
Hannah Knorr, Ft. Wayne Ballet
After gaining more information about food, I have a better understanding of what foods work for my body. I’ve noticed just a general sense of feeling better when I fuel my body with nutrient-dense, nourishing foods. I just returned to the studio. I was having some anxiety about the judgement and shame I’d put on how my body looked, but I was surprised to learn that the first day I looked in the mirror and felt great. I would absolutely recommend this course. If someone was struggling with how to fuel their body, how they see themselves, negative self talk, relationship with food, cross training, or comparison to others, then this is the course for you. You’ll learn valuable information that will help you gain a better relationship with food and with yourself.
Emily Kleinschmidt, Professional Dancer in the Twin Cities
Before participating in The Dancers’ Best Body Program, my situation made me question everything about myself as a dancer. I felt defeated. I could not have found this program at a better time. Since working with Jess, I feel energized and excited. I’m more secure in who I am and know what I have to offer. My relationship with food has improved-walking into a grocery store and shopping with the sole purpose of fueling your body is truly liberating. Looking in the mirror and having more good days than bad is definitely a result of the support Jess has given. I am able to dance for myself again and I am overall a happier, less stressed out person.
Jessica Cobb, Columbia City Ballet
I joined The Dancers’ Best Body Program because I have struggled with disordered eating patterns for such a long time. If you need guidance on what to do to feel good, nutrition is one of the largest components and this program covers all categories of what nourishment is and how it can change you and help you become the best version of yourself. I no longer allow myself to get tied to what other dancers do. I now make my own choices with food and I actually love my body for what it is becoming as I continue to dance professionally and train.
Lauren Stuck, Nimbus2 and ZviDance Apprentice
I am so grateful I found The Dancers’ Best Body Program and had the chance to work through this life changing program. While this program has impacted my physical state and my view on food, it equally touches on improving mentality. I had struggled with many insecurities and misconceptions surrounding food. Now I feel that I am more confident, not only in my body, but in my dancing as well. Jess has created an invaluable program and she is truly invested in your progress. I am excited to continue on with a healthy lifestyle for my mind and body.
Gabby Dean, Aspiring Professional Dancer
My results from The Dancers’ Best Body Program have spanned far and wide-I’ve lost weight, improved body composition, changed the way I eat, RECOVERED from binge eating disorder, improved my ballet technique and my self-confidence. I am finally able to remove the jack that’s been tied around my waist (intended to hide my lower body) for the last year.
Dancer + Teacher, Madissen Fujimoto
Through The Dancers’ Best Body Program I have lost weight and noticed more muscle definition. I have become more confident in my body while dancing, so much so that I finally worked up the courage to wear a crop top to class, rehearsals and auditions without feeling insecure. I have realized the difference between feeling hunger and feeling emotions. Jess has taught me how to deal with the emotions instead of falling into an emotional eating spiral that I typically gravitated towards. I’m so grateful that I invested in this program and grateful to Jess for helping me arrive at a more positive and aware mindset around eating, body image and overall wellness.
Cassie Tumasz, Dancer
Before The Dancers’ Best Body Program, I felt stressed about making choices with food, especially getting back in shape after at injury. Every meal meant getting closer to or further from my goals. Thinking that way caused a lot of stress. I now know that it’s OK to “get there” slowly (and the quick fix won’t last) and it’s OK (if not healthy!) to have a cocktail on the weekend or dessert on my birthday.I’ve started to view each day as a step forward, no matter what the day holds. For this I have to completely credit Jess and The Dancers’ Best Body Program!
Margot Aknin, Dayton Ballet
Through this program, I have experienced major changes in how I approach food and my body. My awareness of what makes me feel energized, what nourishes me, and what I enjoy eating is all strengthened. It’s now much easier to make good decisions for my body! I am feeling more confident in myself as I see progress start to be made. As I’m heading back into the studio after surgery, I feel more ready to accept things where they are as I know I’m working steadily to become my best self in all realms of life.
Kacy Coyle, Nashville Ballet II