Jess Grippo reinvented her life a decade ago in the solitude of her bedroom. She’d grown up a ballerina but quit when she was 19 and spent most of her 20’s not dancing. She was too intimidated to take a class. She wasn’t ready to dive back into the dance world.
But when she began to dance when no one was watching, alone in her room, it changed everything.
Jess has had Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome since she was a teenager. “My teenage years were the most intense training time in my classical ballet life. I wasn’t getting my period at all,” Jess explains. It wasn’t until she was 23 and began working with holistic health coach Alisa Vitti that her body started to slowly heal. Then she started to dance alone in her room.
“What I noticed was dancing in this new way, dancing in a way where I was actually expressing myself — it wasn’t just following and learning choreography, it was the emotional expression through movement — the more I got into that, there was a correlation with my period getting more regular.”
Jess believes that emotions can live in the body. “They’re not just a thought in your head. A thought in your head can cause an emotion, but there’s actually this connected pathway.”
Jess spent time in college studying psychology and then, inspired by Alisa Vitti, Jess became a health coach. “Training in both psychology and holistic health made me aware of the connection between the mind and the body.”
She has learned that working through creative blocks and repressed emotions then moving and dancing and activating your body can be revolutionary for your physical and mental health. Jess Grippo currently helps others grow the way she did as a dance teacher and through a book she’s published.
“In my teaching, the main thing I’m here to do with dance is to really just be like: how can we open up that channel? How can we get you in touch with your emotional expression and the creativity that can come through that?” Her book has the same focus. It’s called Dance With This Book: Start a Revolution with Your Body, Alone in Your Room, and is meant to help unlock your creative, expressive potential through dance.
Jess never thought her book would be as relevant as it is today. People are spending more time than ever alone in their rooms and need daily dance inspiration.
“When all of this happened with the coronavirus, I was like, okay well, the only thing that makes sense to me right now is dancing. I know part of my service is staying in because I’m not an essential worker, but I can show up for people online.”
About a month ago Jess started hosting live online dance breaks, for daily dance inspiration. Jess is now gearing up to host her annual “Dance a Day in May” experience, a 31-day creative dance challenge that provides you with daily themes to inspire the way you move. Many choose to post daily dance videos along with it. It’s free to join and you can sign up here.
“It’s less of ‘we’re gonna learn this move today’ and more of me guiding you into your body and whatever free-form movement that wants to come out.”
The dance breaks are free if you need them to be, but there’s a virtual tip jar if you would like to donate. You can also support Jess by picking up a copy of her book.
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