There are some incredible people in life in that when you look at their accomplishments you truly can’t help but privately wonder…how do they do it?
Mary Helen Bowers is one of them.
She was a full scholarship student at the School of American Ballet in Manhattan at fifteen years old. One year later she was invited to join the New York City Ballet. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from Columbia University in New York City.
In the unbelievably competitive and demanding dance world, Mary reminded me of someone from the National Football League of all places.
When one of the greatest NFL defensive backs of all time Charles Woodson in December of 2015 announced his retirement after 18 seasons, I quietly wondered, well you know…..how did he do it?
Why is just the career span alone mind blowing?
As reported by the informative site livestrong.com, according to the NFL Players Association the average career of an NFL player is only 3.3 years. The shortest careers among NFL players tends to be those who hit and get hit the most during games and practice. Running backs have the shortest average careers of just 2.57 years. Wide receivers have average careers of 2.81 years.
The average career for cornerbacks is 2.94 years.
It’s widely known that classical ballet is one of the most demanding and prestigious forms of dance. A ballet dancer’s career begins early and typically ends earlier than hoped.
Mary Helen Bowers was a dancer with the New York City ballet for 10 years.
To place that in perspective you have to appreciate that while dancing for any major city ballet company is prestigious, dancing for the New York City ballet is most prestigious.
As expressed at their official site nycballet.com, “New York City Ballet is one of the foremost dance companies in the world, with a roster of spectacular dancers and an unparalleled repertory. The Company was founded in 1948 by George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein, and it quickly became world-renowned for its athletic and contemporary style.”
So if you are Ms. Bowers and you suffer a career ending injury, what do you do next?
Most dancers when they retire if they are fortunate, transition to become teachers, choreographers, or ballet administrators, while some advance to become artistic directors or producers.
Mary Helen Bowers successfully made the transition into the elite level of the fitness world by building her online fitness instruction studio.
I had a teacher, he was 86 years old and his name was Luigi in New York City, and he said, ‘Never stop moving. You get to reinvent yourself.’ So you have to find ways to reinventing yourself. Especially today, because it’s a whole different market – social media is so important.…….Ben Vereen
The respected business magazine entrepreneur.com informs, “A former New York City Ballet dancer, Bowers developed the training and fitness routines that became the foundation of her Ballet Beautiful program after an injury forced her to find a portable and effective way to stay fit while stuck in a dressing room. She started training her clients privately in 2008, and within a year she built a solid client list.”
That is amazing.
It’s was so amazing that it grabbed the attention of A-List actress Natalie Portman who contacted Mary to help her prepare for her role in the film Black Swan.
Ms. Bowers’ first online position was via iChat. The format worked so well that she decided to transform Ballet Beautiful, the name of her company, into one of the world’s first online fitness studios.
At her site balletbeautiful.com they share, “the Ballet Beautiful workout mixes the athleticism and grace of classical ballet with targeted exercises and stretches that sculpt a dancer’s toned, lean physique.”
Ballet Beautiful offers:
- Global access
- Online workouts
- Customized private training
- Incomparable results
Within a year, Ballet Beautiful’s client base increased more than 400 percent to about 10,000 users in 50 countries, and Bowers’ online offerings expanded to 15-minute streaming videos and DVDs available for purchase.
Having a child is a memorable and powerful positive life altering experience. At times it can understandably force a career of major life transition change. Interestingly Mary handled her pregnancy in a creative way as well.
The popular news and entertainment group huffingtonpost.com relates, “Bowers, the woman behind the Ballet Beautiful fitness company and the trainer who helps get Victoria’s Secret models into runway form, has been documenting the stages of her pregnancy in a series of stunning photographs. She has been sharing these steps of her journey to motherhood on her Instagram account. She has been dancing through the entirety of her pregnancy, with her doctor’s approval.”
Nothing seems to slow this married mother down.
She’s written a book as well.
Offer someone the opportunity to rebuild a company or reinvent an industry as the primary incentive, and it will attract those drawn to the challenge first and the money second.….Simon Sinek
Let’s briefly visit Mary’s hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.
Charlotte is a major city and commercial hub in North Carolina. Its modern city center (Uptown) is home to the Levine Museum of the New South, which explores post–Civil War history in the South, and hands-on science displays at Discovery Place. Uptown is also known for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which celebrates the sport of auto racing through interactive exhibits and films.
Making news, on December 22, 2015, The Charlotte Observer reported, “North Carolina has become the ninth state to surpass the 10 million population mark, the U.S. Census Bureau reported Tuesday.
Estimates released by the bureau said the state added an average of 281 people per day during the past year, making it the ninth-most populous state in the U.S. with 10,042,802 people.
North Carolina’s population gain between July 1, 2014, and July 1, 2015, trailed only California, Florida, Georgia, Texas and Washington, the report said.”
Like its native daughter, Charlotte and North Carolina are a major attraction.
If you desire to get into great shape, Mary Helen Bowers is a name to remember.
For those of us who have tried to think outside the box, we know how extremely difficult it is to achieve the phenomenal success that Mary achieved so quickly.
When life throws you curve balls, sometimes very severe, one of the challenges and pathways best taken is to re-invent yourself.
No doubt the same determination, sacrifice and creativity that propelled Mary to become one of the world’s best ballet dancers has fueled her recent accomplishments as well.
Re-invention can be a beautiful thing.
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.