Sarah Aspinall (UK)

Sarah Aspinall (UK)

Growing up I was a painfully shy child and it showed itself in so many ways. Dance became a huge part of my life. I never felt shy when I was dancing.

I had an amazing teacher who was a kind (but strict) lady, fully invested in her student’s experience and progress in ballet and made each and every lesson an absolute joy.

But I found the move into high school, and all the associated pressures of school, anxiety inducing. I gained a scholarship at the age of 14 to ballet school, but didn’t go because my parents wanted me to follow a more traditional career path.

By the time I reached sixth form, I had a plan in my mind. I decided to reinvent myself. I set myself a mission to move towards fear rather than hide, or run away from it. I went to university and I got enticed by the bright lights of the big city of London and the law firms. And that’s where I moved.

But in journeying to the city, I started to let the things I loved fall away. I didn’t have time to think about my wellbeing and stopped dancing altogether. Around that time I also lost my dad.

A brush with death in New York on my 30th birthday was the wake up call that I needed. I realised that my earlier reinvention had primarily been to please others and it had moved me away from who I really was and my passion – dance.

I needed to try and find a better way of living my life for the sake of my mental health and wellbeing. It was finding a New York City Ballet Workout class that reminded me I had danced because I loved it and it happened to keep me in shape. So why not do that now?

Within two years of my 30th birthday and that fateful evening in New York, I had left my legal career and was training at the RAD to become a ballet teacher.

I remember being five months pregnant in my assessment for the RAD teacher training. I had to sit out of one class and observed people doing some floor barre exercises. This inspired my vision to teach adults. I passed my teacher training with the RAD and began teaching children before soon after setting up my own classes focusing on ballet fitness for adults. This led to me creating an online programme,, which now serves a thriving community of over 18,000 women across 22 countries.

Movement was the real catalyst for change. It gave me back my confidence and the discipline to re-train and overcome associated anxieties of leaving a successful corporate career. It gave me structure and routine, enabled me to set boundaries and most importantly, it allowed me to re-connect with my true self and discover a whole new way of existing. What had saved me as a child was saving me all over again.

Movement was the real catalyst for change…What has saved me as a child was saving me all over again.