Why is MiE?
Long, long ago in a far off land…
Wait! That’s not THIS story! Christie, here, I’d love to tell you a bit about my journey to creating Express MiE. For starters, I had some pretty unusual life experiences in my first 20-something years (long story… saving that one for later!) which ultimately added up to literally thousands of hours studying real-life examples of the intricacies of human behavior. Through that time I learned a great respect for the beautiful relationship that exists between the essence of truly masculine and truly feminine characteristics. When they are boiled down to their simplest form, they fit together like two perfect puzzle pieces. There is an amazing harmony that can exist – and I’ve spent much of my life working to understand and describe that phenomenon.
I am ever learning & working to more fully live the principles of femininity and as a part of that journey I discovered sensual dance. But, I’m getting ahead of myself, here. First I have to start with how I started the first types of dance I studied.
Misery sets in…
In the late 90′s I found myself feeling depressed, lethargic, hopeless and like there was something horribly wrong with me. I had gained about 40 lbs – wasn’t sure how – and felt completely miserable about life. I remembered that in my teenage years I had been an ambitious, perky, fun-loving person who always saw the glass as half-full. I assumed that my problems were all in my head… and I didn’t know just how right I was about that!
Through a happenstance need for a blood test I ended up finding out I had a brain tumor. A non-cancerous tumor on my Pituitary Gland, to be specific. As it turns out, the pituitary is a tiny little thing that controls a HUGE part of a person’s body and mind. It is the part of the brain that messages ambition and drive, the master gland that controls all hormones (when hormones are out of whack life is not pretty!) and the director of all things metabolic – causing hypothyroidism when it doesn’t send the right signals (hence the weight gain I couldn’t overcome). Because this condition was not yet well understood by doctors at the time, I struggled for years to get proper treatment.
During that time I decided I had to force myself to find something that made me smile – something that gave me a sense of accomplishment and moved me in the right direction. I hated going to the gym – especially avoiding treadmills – and have never been good at sports. (If an object flies toward me *I DUCK* – apparently a reflex that can’t be trained to catching thus far!). I had only taken dance for a year as a child (age 2… doesn’t count for much but I have some cute pictures!) but always loved the idea of it. So, I found a local tap class.
Dance as a therapy…
I must admit, the first few months of class were a bit hard on the ego. There I was with teenage teeny-boppers in a class trying to get my out-of-shape body to do the moves they had been whizzing through since the womb. But, I had signed up with a friend and somehow we made sure to help each other stay motivated. After tap came jazz, then lyrical… hip-hop was too hard to resist, of course ballet seemed necessary, and bellydance?!? Oh yes, bellydance had to be added to the list. Before I knew it I was a dance-a-holic. Hello… my name is Christie and I can’t stop dancing!!
Not only did dance give me a way to feel good about becoming healthier, but it also gave me an opportunity to meet other women and create a supportive network of positive people. As I got on the right medication, my hormones and body balanced out and suddenly I was in terrific shape. So, I danced more. It was around this time that I discovered sensual dancing.
I was really NOT sure what to think when, for the first time in my history of dance, I was told I was a natural and suggested to skip a level… in a pole dance class! I am very much a normal woman and even had a much more conservative background than most – so the concept really made me laugh! But, over the years I’ve found sensual dance to be the one thing that has had the biggest impact on me. My weekly classes became a solace for me in a crazy life I was living – they were my therapy, my workout and my hobby all rolled in to one. It was my time to slow down, relax and be in the moment – not focused on the kids or the bills or the dog or the husband or the job or the relatives or the… you get what I mean! I simultaneously got the best workout I’d ever had, to boot. I’m all about efficiency!
The light goes on…
I realized that being in such a supportive environment of women who are all vulnerably learning to express their sultry side is incredibly nurturing and uplifting. I remember seeing a woman in her early 60′s strutting her stuff and the whole room cheering loudly. In my signature Pole~ah~Tease class I’ve brought the best of all feminine forms of dance together to create something soft and beautiful, yet raw and real. I also make sure to incorporate pieces of Kundalini Yoga in order to focus energy toward the positive outlook of all women. My classes are not where you will learn to do crazy-incredible pole tricks (although we do have some of those available to our upper level dancers), but rather where you will discover the crazy-incredible woman you have inside.
As time progressed I couldn’t resist immersing myself in the world of ballroom dance. Talk about a perfect analogy for the beautiful relationship between a man and a woman – WOW! If you really want to develop yourself in that area try the Argentine Tango… and then apply all the lessons you learn to the bigger picture of your life! Still a dance addict I’ve now studied and taught about 30 types of dance, and continue to explore every type of alternative fitness I can find. It is not unusual to find me hanging on a trapeze or dangling from the ceiling by a fabric scarf wrapped around my leg. Yes, these are the things I do for fun!
Outside of all my dance-i-ness I’ve also led a very busy life with a career in business management and consulting. I’ve owned a medical massage therapy clinic and a diamond jewelry line. I’ve done operational business management in both the small business world and the large corporate setting. I’ve worked for excellent companies in the medical, biotech and aerospace industries ~ my passions for efficiency, accounting, creative problem solving and strategic planning have afforded me all kinds of awards and fun. I’ve also spent plenty of time following my other passion – creating beauty. Quite a while ago I realized that my passions for interior design, layout and design of printed and digital materials (I always wondered why my spreadsheets were so damn pretty…), and designing brands that are strategically yet beautifully created all came together under that common thread. So, I’ve been actively training, consulting and designing in those areas for years, as well. I even make sure to spend plenty of time volunteering and mentoring other small business owners – you can read all about my business coaching opportunities at www.launchmie.com. Needless to say… I keep busy!
There is a happy ending!
As the story comes forward to the present, the brain tumor problems resurfaced in 2006 when the medicine I needed was pulled off the US market. I decided to bite the bullet and opt-in for brain surgery to have the tumor removed. Freaky! But, I had an amazing surgeon and made a quick recovery. Although, I seem to be somewhat forgetful these days and I’d like to think it’s because they could’ve accidentally taken a few extra cells… I suspect it’s really just because I’m relaxing into life more and worrying less about being a perfectionist. As a side note, studies show that Pituitary Tumors are found in 1 out of every 5 people!! Not all of them are active, but still, who goes to the doctor for things like weight gain, depression, moodiness and hopelessness resulting in a quick diagnosis of a brain tumor? Educate yourself at www.pituitary.org – you never know who you can help!
Now that I am at a point in my life where I’ve found stability and peace in myself and my relationships I’m ready to turn around and help other women along their journey. Embracing your own beauty is a vulnerable thing to do, but one of the most life-changing things possible for a woman. Once we find confidence in who we are and become comfortable with how we look and express ourselves physically we can stop spending time worrying and beating ourselves up. The lack of that internal dialog opens us up to be closer to the person we are at our core, and to more fully enjoy the people around us and the amazing life we create. I’m honored to join you on that journey… see you in class!
~ Christie, Dec 2008
Shuckie darn that dang brain tumor came back… so it’s back to the drawing board with all things health related. It’s just so much fun to fight uncontrollable weight gain while owning a fitness center… NOT. But, I must say, having such fabulous family and friends and the positive atmosphere of the studio has made this round an entirely different ball of wax. Here’s to hope and health but most of all happiness and love.
Also, I want to take a moment to thank the wonderful woman who first introduced me to dance: Brenda. I was super blessed to have her as a very kind and talented teacher who welcomed me into dance and also became a good friend. It makes me smile to think that because she encouraged me along my path through those first few shaky months as an adult dancer I have now grown to where I have had the opportunity to continue sharing the beauty and heart of dance to thousands more women. I’m coming up on 10 years from the time I took my first dance class. And, it just dawned on my recently that the studio I first took lessons at was called “Expressions School of Dance.” I don’t know how I didn’t realize the similarity to my company’s name until nearly two years into this… but I find it so fitting! So, here it is… a great big HUG and THANK YOU to Miss Brenda. I hope you realize the impact you and your goodness have had.
Coming up on a decade in pole dance and almost half that owning Express MiE is an exciting time! I’m so happy at how we’ve integrated into the community and so grateful for all the wonderful women who makes Express MiE a part of their life. We’ve won awards, been featured all over the news and in magazines, but, in my eyes, no reward beats the smile of a woman who has found a renewed sense of confidence and a way to enjoy being active through dance. The past couple years have also been a journey for me to embrace myself, just like the ladies I work with, as my health (stinking tumor) still inhibits my ability to be what I consider my ideal shape. Laughing and having fun in classes, dancing my stresses and cares away - I love the opportunity to find a refresh each week, right along with my students.
We’ve grown bunches and are currently springboarding into a fun, new phase. My favorite development the past couple years is – hands down – the fact that we are now growing Sister Studios. Business has always been “my thang” and I’ve boiled down the process of opening, growing and managing a pole studio to what I like to call a “pole studio in a box.” I’ve been honored to see that because the Pole~ah~Tease courses have had such a huge impact in women’s lives that we now have an abundance of women who are moving to share the classes with others – all across North America. I know, and see on a regular basis, what a blessing it is for women to find confidence in their femininity and I am so very grateful for the Sister Studio owners who are doing an amazing job of spreading the opportunity. Three cheers for the Pole~ah~Tease community!