Stacy has been an instructor at B Present Studio since January of 2015. We sat down with her recently to learn more about some of her favorite things (chocolate chip cookies and wiener dogs), how she came to love the barre, and the moment that she found out she’d been saying “plie” wrong this whole time…
How did you first learn about B Present?
I first heard about it from a friend in my book club. She had been telling me about this studio, and I thought,”Who works out with a ballet barre? That sounds…kind of easy.” Also–I’m the farthest thing from a dancer. I have no rhythm; my husband makes fun of me it’s so bad. Ballet, and really any kind of dance, is very intimidating to me. But working out, getting a good sweat on, I’m all about that. And I’m always up for a challenge, so I thought, “Why not try it? What’s the worst thing that could happen?”
What was your first class like, and what were your first impressions of the studio?
I remember coming in for the first time, I think it was in February of 2014, and I had to bring my kids (twins Preston and Shelby, now 11) because it was a snow day. They went into the child care room–and they’re in third grade at this point, they’re quite a bit older than most of the kids in child care–and they just said, “Mom. What are we doing in here?” I was like, “I don’t know, can you just help with the little kids?! Just be of help to the other children. That would be good!”
So then I walked into the class…and everyone’s barefoot. I’ve never worked out barefoot–it really caught me off guard. I couldn’t do it! I couldn’t go barefoot, so I wore socks in there the first time.
It was much harder than I expected, but in a good way. The jury was still out for me, though. I wasn’t immediately like, “this is the best thing since sliced bread, I’ve gotta come back.” I did a lot of single classes, probably six or seven, before really committing and deciding whether or not this was going to work for me.
But I’ll tell you– it wasn’t necessarily the physical aspect. And this is what everyone here says, right? The physical is great, but I wasn’t expecting to get the whole package: mind, body, and spirit. I didn’t feel like I was out of shape at the time; I’m an avid runner, I just wanted to do something different. And this was certainly different from my comfort zone. The whole connection with the mental and spiritual parts, and the messaging–it was like “Give me more!”
So you came as a student for about a year, and then you were asked to join the team as an instructor. What was it like making that decision to say yes?
I remember vividly that we were getting ready to go on our family Christmas trip–we take a trip somewhere every year for the kids’ Christmas gift–and we were sitting in the airport getting ready to board the plane. I got this text from Tammy, one of the nicest texts I’ve ever received. I was all at the same time excited, scared, humbled, determined…all of these polar opposite emotions, that was me. Part of me was saying “Oh, that sounds so fun!” And then another part was thinking “How in the world would I do that? I’m not that strong…”
Had you ever taught fitness before?
No! Haiiilll no!(Ed. note: If you’ve ever taken a class with Stacy, you know exactly how this sounded in her sassy Southern drawl.) I’m lucky just to get the muscle groups right. So I did have fears about whether I could learn. I didn’t have any fear about getting in front of people–maybe a little bit, but it’s something I knew I could do. It was more the fears of: Do I know everything I need to know? What if I mess up? What if I’m not very good? What if they don’t like me? All of those things that we as women are insecure about.
What is your favorite thing about teaching?
My favorite thing about teaching is getting to challenge the women and few brave men who come in to push themselves to a level they don’t think they can go to. Everyone is different in terms of what they connect with, and some people may not like that “go go go, you can do more, you’ve got more to give!” form of motivation, but that’s just my style. It’s the competitive side of me that came from growing up playing sports, and coaches motivate by pushing you to do more than you think you can do. And then when you do, it’s like “Holy crap, I really CAN do more than I thought.”
Well, if you tried to lay off that because you’re afraid that some people might not like it, then somebody who DOES need that is missing out on the gift you have to give.
Absolutely. Plenty of people prefer a softer approach, and don’t respond to the in-your-face, clapping, “10 more!” military-style motivation. At the end of the day I say: there’s a variety of instructors for a reason. We’re all different and we all have unique gifts. You can pick what works for you, whether that’s instructor-driven or time-driven.
Do you have a favorite go-to move?
Burpees. I love burpees!
What about a least favorite move, where you cringe even when you see it in your own workout?
I haaaate thigh dancing. And to be perfectly frank, I hate doing anything at the barre. We probably shouldn’t put that in here, right? [laughs]
All the barre stuff takes so much more finesse and grace, and that’s my weakness–so that’s where my insecurities come out. When I first started student teaching, I had the freedom to structure the class however I wanted. I could have done longer non-barre sections, but I made myself do like 40 minutes at the barre just to prove to myself, “You can do this. It’s not your favorite, you’re not great at it, but you’re going to do it.”
I think that’s probably reassuring for clients to hear, actually: that even the “pros” didn’t ace it right out of the gates.
Absolutely. And I remember–I’ve told this to a few of my classes–I used to think it was called a CLEE-ay. I didn’t know it was a plie, I always thought it was a CLEE-ay! So when Tammy was doing our training, I said “Excuse me, did you say plie, like with a P?” She was like “Yeah, it’s a PLEE-ay.” I thought,”Oh man, I’m in trouble. I don’t know any of this!”
Tell me about your life outside of B Present.
I work in sales for ADP, and I’ve been there for 18 years. My husband Clint and I have twins, Preston and Shelby, who are 11, and three wiener dogs who complete our family. I love to read, have quiet time to reflect, and spend time with the people I love.
How would your kids describe you in just a few words?
Heaven only knows…it depends on what day you ask them.
[Later on, Stacy actually DID ask them, and Preston and Shelby both gave the same answer: “good mom, pretty, and barre addict.” Can’t argue with that!]
What is one item in your closet that you can’t bear to get rid of, even though you know you’ll never wear it again?
Oh that’s easy, because I just cleaned out my closet last night and there it was. Now I don’t know if this counts because it’s not really mine, but it’s the maid of honor dress from MY wedding that my sister wore. I borrowed it from her for an event years ago, and so there it hangs, 21 years later. It’s way out of date but I can’t seem to part with it, because it just takes me back to that day.
What is your favorite healthy food, and what’s your favorite splurge?
Oh that’s easy–I love chocolate chip cookies. Looooove chocolate chip cookies. Healthy food? I’m going to go with a fruit smoothie.
Are you a coffee drinker?
No, I don’t drink coffee.
People like you and Tammy who are so chipper and don’t drink any coffee–I don’t understand. I can’t mentally comprehend it.
I’ve never actually tried it! But I don’t think I would like it, so I’ve never tried it. My parents weren’t coffee drinkers, I didn’t grow up with it, and I just never picked it up. I probably don’t know what I’m missing, right?
Ahh, it’s kind of an acquired taste.
So it’s like beer? Well, I do love beer…
If you could go back in time and spend an hour talking to your 15 year old self, what would you say?
Oh gosh, what wouldn’t I say? It’s cliche, but “don’t sweat the small stuff.” At that age, everything is so “live and die.” If I don’t get an A on this test, my life is over; if that boy doesn’t stay with me, my life is over. If you can just go beyond that moment, it really is all small stuff–it’s “what are people going to say about me, what are people going to think?”
What’s interesting is, we’re sitting here in B Present and we want to “be present,” but in order to become wise you have to look ahead a little bit beyond the moment, beyond today, because the decisions we make today will affect tomorrow.
What would you say is the single most positive thing you’ve gotten from being part of B Present? What impact has it had on your life?
Probably that you really do have a choice to change your mindset. I always felt like…”Well, this is just how God made me.” I don’t know if I used that as a cop out–“I just have a short temper, I just yell a lot, this is just how I am.” No! I don’t have to accept that. I can choose who I really want to be. Based on the truth–and not something that someone told me I was when I was 10 years old, and that stuck with me until adulthood. We really do have a choice in who we are. If you change your heart, you can change so many other things in your life.
“‘Well, this is just how I am.” No! I don’t have to accept that. We really do have a choice in who we are.”