Kathryn McCann – “I felt like I was finally living my dream.”
As a child I studied ballet intensely in New York, until my family moved to Boston. There I trained with the Boston Ballet. We trained six days a week, three to four hours a day at a time, working on flexibility and strength, and perfecting the technique.
Then I had to choose either performing professionally at the age of 18 or going on to college and getting a degree. I chose college so I could be more educated, and got my bachelor of fine art specializing in ballet. I was really lucky that that was actually something that you could get a college degree in. I’m still actually amazed by that.
Right after college, I started dancing professionally in Charlotte, North Carolina for a company called Moving Poets Theatre of Arts. That was my “pinch me” moment, because I was getting a paycheck for all that hard work. I felt like I was finally living my dream and reaping the benefits.
I always knew I wanted something more, so I transitioned out to the West Coast and started dancing professionally for SeaWorld. I was a mermaid in the sea lion and otter show, which was always hilarious. At one point in my life when people asked me, “What is it that you do?” and I would respond, “Well, I’m a professional mermaid.” They would joking follow with, “Okay, get out of the fantasy land.” I’m like, “No, really. I’m a professional mermaid. I’m in the Clyde and Seymour show.”
We wore elaborate costumes and makeup every single day, and performed in front of thousands upon thousands of people. I was definitely living my dream, making people happy, working with animals, working with sea lions. Understanding marine mammal training was fascinating. I’m lucky that I got that opportunity in my life.
Right around the time I turned 30, I realized that it wasn’t a reality anymore for my body to take that sort of stress. Ballet and dance in general is very harmful to the body. I needed something more therapeutic. I needed something more understanding and compassionate. That’s when I turned to yoga for healing and for guidance.
My transition into the yoga world has been so incredibly supportive and loving. Now I feel like I have that support and love for myself. I’m certified at the 500-hour level. I have been through a lot of trainings and it’s always an ongoing process.
I still have a million more trainings I want to do. It’s a lifelong journey. To be able to instill that in other people, that’s really where I’m finding my job very rewarding. It’s so satisfying seeing my students evolve. As I continue to evolve, I can pass even more on to them.
To be continued…
2nd of the interview series with Kathryn McCann.
Photo Credits: John Watkins, Brad Golden and Kathryn McCann
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