Bay Area Event-January 26, 2019

We are so honored to take part in such a fantastic event! It was the first Dancers’ Day of Health hosted in San Francisco, and first to have mental health professionals participating!

Dancing With ED’s mission to raise awareness, offer education and support to dancers, partnered well with the event offering a wide range of health information and resources. The purpose of the event was to introduce the dance community to dance medicine providers in the Bay Area, bolster awareness of and support for dance medicine, and promote the health of dancers of all ages and levels across our community. Along with evaluating their physical health, each dancer had the opportunity to meet with a dietician regarding nutritional concerns including disordered eating and eating disorder struggles.

The mental health section of the screens included printed materials on depression, anxiety, eating disorders, mood disorders, and where to turn for help. Eighteen dancers signed up for a new virtual peer support group for dancers struggling with their mental health! 

Dancing With ED’s founder and ED Recovery Advocate for Dancers, Amy Waddle, met with dancers struggling with food, body image eating disorders. Amy says, “The goal for these conversations is to listen, encourage and connect the dancer to provide professional help. No one should have to dance through that alone.” The day included:- Free screenings for professional dancers to promote the health of our community.

– A keynote presentation from Nancy Kadel, MD. A board-certified orthopedic surgeon and dance medicine specialist.
– Panel discussions and Q&A session focusing on best practices in the field of dance medicine, mindful creative practice, and leadership with trusted professionals who work with dancers: Steve Coleman, LAc; Lenny Stein, DC; Selina Shah, MD; Kendall Alway, DPT; Libby Parker, RD; Nancy Marks, MD and Augusta Moore, Director of ODC Ballet Program and Feldenkrais Practitioner.
– Breakout sessions with dance medicine professionals, nutritionists, mental health experts, finance experts, and performance coaches.
– Interactive Lab with ODC Artist’s in Residence Kinetech Arts

Link to Event Page:

The next Dancers’ Day of Health will be in L.A. November 2019. We will be there! 

Dancing with ED: Recovery, Restoration, and Release

February 6, 2019
12:00 pm EST / 9:00 am PST

Amy Waddle Image

Amy Waddle is a former pre-professional classical ballet dancer and eating disorder survivor. Her lifelong battle with bipolar two disorder and triumph over suicide inspired her advocacy work. She is an award-winning eating disorder recovery advocate, and speaker, member of the Suicide Prevention Council of San Luis Obispo, certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainer, Q.P.R. for suicide prevention trainer, and speaker for the Stamp Out Stigma Speakers Bureau. She created a high school mental health curriculum called New Perspectives with local nonprofit Transitions Mental Health Association and had presented it to over 1,000 students in San Luis Obispo County. Amy also has her own nonprofit for the dance community called Dancing With ED, Inc. which she founded in 2012. Her latest project is her memoir which she hopes will be a testimony to God’s work in her life. She lives with her husband and daughter on the Central Coast of California.

Bay Area Tour

I’m very excited to be in the San Jose and Mill Valley, Ca. area’s sharing my vision and misson of Dancing With ED.

If you’re a dance community member, don’t miss my meet and greet April 11, 2017, where I’ll be sharing my personal journey through dance, an eating disorder, and how Dancing With ED the nonprofit was formed.

There will also be an opportunity to get involved in the nonprofit mission and become part of the ED recovery movement in dance.

The Biggest Lie Of All

Many people believe eating disorders are concerned with body shape, size and weight.

It is all a mirage…. it’s after something much more valuable.

ED wants us to think it’s about being thin. 

You’d think it would save the best for last, store up the best lie of all, but it’s in the first kiss we are captivated. When the weight starts to come off, when the clothes no longer fit and when the pills start to work.

ED’s very up front, so much so, we aren’t even looking for it.

It’s not deep, not untouchable. It was there all along.

The biggest lie of all.


Two Voices, One Recovery

I saw Mikhail Baryshnikov do 11 pirouettes.

“I thought that was impossible.”

Dancers are unstoppable, determined to do what they love regardless of if it’s hard or never been done. Dancers aren’t afraid to push the limit’s. They are some of the strongest people on the planet.

I admire them, look up to them, and I’m one of them 🙂

I can’t help but compare this to my recovery……

Many times I felt moving forward was impossible. Getting better would never happen for me; I’d been sick for so long. I’d forgotten who I was, what I was capable of. Dance helped me remember.

I started to dance when I was 12 years old. I went pre-professional at the age of 14. By 17 my career ended due to a spinal injury that broke my body, mind and spirit. I walked away from everything. That’s when I met ED (my eating disorder)

Ed owned me, took over my life, and attempted to separate me from the only thing I ever truly loved. It taught me that perfection was attainable, being thin brings happiness, just work harder and you’ll be successful. You can always be better, don’t settle for less than your best….. always about being better.

Because somehow being better, made me better.

Doesn’t everybody want to be better at whatever they do? Of course! There is nothing wrong with wanting to do better.

Then there’s the invisible line……

I took to Ed’s (eating disorder) voice so easily,  maybe because I had already been around these statements before. It was all so familiar….

As a ballet dancer, I was told I could always improve my technique, being thinner would get me more parts, work harder, strive, push, shine, succeed! I never heard “that’s good enough”, ” go easy”, “you’ve grown enough for one year.” When you’re not beating yourself up for every mistake, then you’re anticipating the next beating because you know it’s gonna come.

It was as if the thinking was the same as my eating disorder. The same philosophy of sorts, language, even attitude. As a former dancer, I still have the philosophy of doing my best at everything I do because that’s what I do. I’m a dancer, it’s in my blood, can’t unlearn that. And I don’t settle for second best. ( perfectionist much?)

So….how was I to be around dancers, dance and hear all those statements and keep my recovery voice alive, not be triggered and tempted to jump right back into my old thinking? You see….

My recovery voice is the complete opposite of the my dance voice.

Recovery voice says: you are enough just the way you are, you don’t have to change anything about yourself to be accepted. It pushes me into a space of acceptance and wholeness regardless of physical appearance.

Dance voice says:  (like my Russian ballet teacher who never had anything nice to say) but you could always do more, be better. If the way you look changes you will no longer have value. When you are serious about improvement you are willing to sacrifice for it… what’s a little pain and hunger? Fix it. Do it again. Not that way.

How can I have both?  Just one voice?

Where do they overlap? Is there something that exists between the two opposing ideas? It’s as if the recovery voice is counter cultural to dance voice.

But there has to be a way! It’s not impossible.

Can we create a dance-recovery voice? A voice that embarrasses self-acceptance and always wants to improves. Challenge and comfort? Better and good enough…

Some might say it’s impossible but….if there’s anyone that can do the impossible, it’s a dancer.