Trusted resources

I can’t recommend the following professionals and resources enough!

Performance and class videos, documentaries, tutorials on hair, make-up and pointe shoes including darning, etc

Click here

The most incredible photos taken in an environment where you’ll learn so much about yourself as well as technique with ex-ballet dancer and teacher Rachel Neville. Also the best headshots! (Mention me)
Rachel Neville Photography

2023 leotard guide
Previous guides available. Contact me to talk about it.

Nicole Ligioso, master pointe shoe fitter
[email protected] (Mention me)

From Nicole:

As a master pointe shoe fitter, my passion is to find the best possible pointe shoe for each dancer. A dancer en pointe needs a shoe that will highlight their foot as well as demonstrate technical functionality. The wrong pointe shoe can undermine a student’s progress and can also interfere with future advancement in the classroom and on the stage.

As you may have heard, we have closed the Benicia Dancewear boutique. However, I am still offering remote personal consultations to assist students and professionals find the best possible pointe shoes. Zoom appointments are now available!

  • $50 fee for the first 2 appointments. The first appointment includes: interview, history, measurements, current pictures, and advice. A list of pointe shoes with sizes is sent after initial intake. Second appointment consists of choosing the best shoes.
  • Once the dancer is on the roster, they can book 15 min Zoom or Facetime calls for follow up shoes and trouble shooting for $25.

Robert Van Buren – in person in NYC and virtually anywhere.
[email protected] (Mention me)

Here is why I recommend seeing Robert. What he offers is very different than a doctor or physical therapist. He is trained to see the body as a whole and specializes in working with dancers and athletes. He roots out the cause of whatever is going on, whether it’s a current injury, or something that is limiting the dancer or may be going on under the surface and could lead to an injury. He then educates the dancer while working on the issue(s).

Though I am able to see a lot of the symptoms of the imbalances in my students’ bodies, the reasons are beyond my area of expertise and why I refer my students to Robert, someone I trust completely and who will work with me to make sure my students are healthy and utilizing their bodies as well as possible. I tell him what I see in class and he offers complementary practices that will lead to greater progress in the classroom, always letting me know how it’s going and what to look out for.

Generally, he will ask for videotaped tests ahead of the first session which then consists of a full body assessment. You will receive his assessment via email after. After that, depending on the severity of what is going on, he will recommend how often to see him. The more the dancer is diligent about doing their “homework”, the less often are sessions necessary other than to progress the exercises.

Here is something Robert wrote:

“The assessment session consists of discussing the client’s issues and some basic theory and explanation of what needs to be done. A few live assessment tests are done as well followed by the beginning of guided self treatment with the time remaining. Follow up sessions consist of a brief reassessment followed by more thorough guided self treatment and reintegration exercises.

When dealing with issues of a chronic nature in an athlete, it’s imperative to assess the functionality of the body as a whole. Allopathic or symptom-based treatments for chronic issues are rarely successful. The reason for that is that there are often multiple reasons for a problem ending up in a particular area. The painful or restricted area is the result of other issues and is rarely the problem itself.

The primary concern when dealing with an athlete or a dancer is how they are moving: the functionality of their movement patterns. In every joint, there is an ideal range and pattern of movement. Anything outside that range or of an altered pattern will eventually cause stress to build up in the body including the tissues and articular structures. The end result is altered and ineffective movement patterns followed by compensatory patterns and then finally by pain.

So the goal is to restore normal movement in the joints and normal movement patterns in the body as a whole. This gives the dancer the best chance to deal with the stresses of dance and there’s also a major performance benefit as well.

So how does a dancer/athlete achieve this more balanced state? It starts with a better knowledge of how the body actually works. It’s the brain and the nervous system that control the body but what makes up the body is just as important. Everyone is familiar with the major components of the body including the nervous system, the skeleton, the muscular system and the organs, but it’s the system of connective tissue called fascia that connects, protects, shapes and holds everything in its proper place. When the brain initiates a movement, it does this via a complex series muscle chains. It’s the fascia that creates these chains and connections.

So when there are issues in the body, especially with movement, we look to these fascial connections for the answers. When viewing the body and its functionality through these fascial connections, we can make long lasting positive changes in movement and functionality. I don’t treat pain but the altered movement patterns that cause the pain.”

My teacher Janet Stone teaches in person in San Francisco, in many places around the world, as well as online. She has many teacher trainings in person and online for anyone interested in deepening their understanding of themselves and their bodies. She changed my understanding of myself and my body for sure. I have assisted her classes since 2013. Find me there most Tuesdays and Saturdays when Janet is in town.
Janet’s website, class schedule, Janet’s albums on Spotify and the music she plays in class.

Learn how to keep your body healthy and optimized by self-treating.
Make sure to get the Third Edition. Purchase it anywhere books are sold, including on Amazon. You can also sometimes find it used.

MASSAGE TOOLS for self-treatment
Kid’s bouncy ball for the soles of the feet – you can often purchase singles in Old Navy’s gumball machines.
Lacrosse ball – you should be able to get one for $3. I like these purple ones as purple is my favorite color!
TheraCane – for hard to reach places.


I am now firmly in the barefoot shoe camp! After wearing only barefoot shoes for the past few months, my feet and body are feeling and moving so much better, and I recently regressed after only two days of wearing regular shoes when we got some rain… I highly recommend educating yourself on the benefits of barefoot shoes!

Here is a good place to start:

You can learn a ton as well as shop in Anya’s shop, plus she also links to a ton of other brands including some for which she has discount codes.
Among other brands including barefoot “Uggs” that feel like wearing fluff, I have several pairs of Xeros, including my beloved HFS sneakers in atoll blue about which I always get compliments from strangers. I highly recommend them (and fitness pros get 40% off 2 pairs every six months). *I may receive a referral fee if you purchase anything after clicking the link above at no extra cost to you.*

Correct Toes, recommended and reviewed by Anya, the barefoot shoe specialist linked above. The ones she recommends are $60 but I found the exact same ones on Amazon: 2 pairs for around $15. (I compared them directly next to each other and on my feet. They are made from the same mold with the same material).

THE foot stretcher which is ergonomic and will not hurt the achilles. If used properly and consistently, it will make a big difference. Always warm up first! Contact me to receive a discount code for 10% off.

Small, medium, large and variety packs available.
PediFix® 3-Layer Toe Separators™

I found these ingrown toenail treatment tools on Amazon. Use to pull toenail out of skin and file straight across (unless you have figured out that a different shape works better).

For turnout strengthening – contact me for a list of exercises.
OPTP® Pro Rotating Discs™ (also available on Amazon)

Learn about pandiculation here

Your guide to safer personal care products.
Dirty Dozen & Clean Fifteen.
Your guide to sunscreens.
EWG’s Tap Water Database.
Your guide to safer cleaning products.
All EWG consumer guides.