Photo Credit: Danny Santana @dspstudios
PhysicalMind Institute’s Tye4X Takes Dance and Dancer Health A Level Up!
PhysicalMind Institute® was established in 1991 to carry on the work of Joseph Pilates. Beginning with Certification of Pilates Teachers, the Institute continued the tradition of looking at bodies and inventing what was needed for better movement and pain relief. Today Pilates, Yoga, Barre and Dance professionals and consumers worldwide benefit from these patented, portable, and lightweight products such as Tye4®, Parasetter®, Head Floater® and more. These are the future of fitness.
For dancers at all levels, and in particular the professional, injury prevention is key and physical therapy a way of life. Professional dancer, Master Pilates Instructor and entrepreneur Emily Zachary-Smith found working with PhysicalMind products easily encompassed her own personal goal to develop the complete dancer on a healthy, well-rounded level. Together, with PhysicalMind founder Joan Breibart, Emily has been able to do just that through her work with PhysicalMind.
Inside Dance spoke with Emily on her journey to this important step in her career and the benefits and results she sees from PhysicalMind products.
Emily, tell us about your history and professional background and how it led you to this next step with PhysicalMind/Tye4X?
I originally grew up in Indianapolis training in all genres – classical ballet, jazz, tap, musical theater – a little bit of everything. I trained extensively at the Dance Refinery and at Butler University. I joined the Butler’s Gifted and Talented program as a freshman in high school – they had me do their college program. So, I’ve always trained with elite-level professors and at institutions where I could always keep that versatility. Being the girl from Indiana, I tried to get coast to coast as much as possible – California and New York. At a young age, I moved to Los Angeles and started working in the commercial world – television, film, industrials, and I also loved the concert and the Broadway world as well. For 10 years, I did the Radio City Christmas Spectacular which was really exciting. I was really lucky – I got to do the best of both worlds and along the way, I found I really loved teaching and choreographing. When I wasn’t performing, I decided to get pilates-certified, so within that I developed an interest in physical therapy. Pilates was the easy thing for me to do to blend that love of what is so important for dancers.
My husband and I are the directors and owners of Core Training Techniques & Hardcore Pilates. Core Training Techniques is designed to bring cross training and injury prevention to dancers of various ages and levels, along with dance training, college and career prep, plus specialty classes. Our goal is to not only help take dancers to the next level, but help them understand the biomechanics and skills needed to give them longevity in the dance world.
How did you and Joan Breibart meet and begin collaborating? Describe your work dynamic.
I’m also a teacher for Tremaine Dance Convention. We go to 20 cities throughout the U.S. When I am in New York for Tremaine, I always try to spend extra time in the city because it has my heart. I had seen some of the PhysicalMind products. I had followed Joan. I had followed Marika who is head PT for New York City Ballet. I had seen the Mini Parasetters and had to find out more. I made sure when I was in New York for that job, that I made time to connect with both of them. While I was working on the Mini Parasetters, Joan suggested I try the Tye4. We had never met in person and she’s just fast-paced and has this vision. From that day on, I started communicating with Joan regularly and learning about the Tye4, the Parasetters and the Mini Parasetters – those are my go to PhysicalMind products that I found worked best for myself and my students. We started sharing ideas and feedback, and communicating all of the time and it has evolved from there. Joan is so savvy in terms of what we need in the pilates world, the business world – she really dove into the dance world to work with professionals to figure out the best way to do this. It’s been really exciting to know we’re giving accessibility to dancers worldwide.
Emily Zachary-Smith speaks on the key benefits of Tye4 and Tye4X!
Emily Zachary-Smith describes the therapeutic benefits and use of the Tye4X for injury prevention.
Emily Zachary-Smith discusses the user-friendliness of the Tye4X.
Can you describe the learning curve and process for yourself and your students when implementing the Tye4X into the curriculum?
One of the things I like about this product that makes it such a great training tool is a smooth, natural progression in how you introduce students to it. It’s easy to set them up in person or virtually. You don’t have to be hands on. I’ve been working with it on Zoom and talking students through it the first time.
The beauty of the Tye4X is you have so many options of how to use it. You can use the simplest, basic instruction as the introduction and get advanced with it as well. It’s easy to make it a stepping stone. It’s not cumbersome, it’s lightweight, it hugs the body. It’s very easy for visual cues to demonstrate. I’ve had great luck with all ages and levels.
Can you speak further about the age and level of dancer that will most benefit from the Tye4X?
I personally feel I use it with my dancers ages 10 through 12, and up. There are plenty of dancers who are younger who could benefit, it just depends on the training and what their goals are – their work, their curriculum, and where they want to go. As long as you’re doing age-appropriate work, you can utilize the Tye4X for a big variety. With age comes maturity so they will dive a little bit deeper and into those connections and retain the value faster. I think middle school and high school students really excel with it. Really, it’s great for all ages and with all genres of dance. We’ve shown a lot of work with ballet dancers, modern dancers, hip-hop dancers, Broadway, commercial jazz – they’re all doing the same rigorous physical activity, it’s just different techniques and different training – but, [the benefit of the Tye4X] really does apply to everyone!
The product itself seems so versatile. What are the key takeaways you’d like our readers to know?
Because I’m on the road with Tremaine many, many weekends a year, I love that I can throw it in a dance bag, a tote bag, it fits in any suitcase. It’s lightweight, it’s packable. I don’t have a city I go to where it’s not with me, whether I need it for myself or for teaching. I can get the Tye4X out and use it for ten minutes and it can make a difference. You don’t have to implement it to an entire class for an hour and a half or two hours. Ten and twenty minutes, it’s going to get those muscle groups connecting the deep foundation work you want to do with your support system. We want that total body connection from the ground up. The connections and muscle awareness, it just pulls everything together. Which is what you want before you go on stage or go into rehearsal. From the studio, to your house, backstage, your hotel room – it’s there for everyone from your novice dancer to your professional!
The Experts Agree!
“The Tye4X is an extremely versatile product that perfectly fits in a dancers bag! It is a wearable device that affords stability, resistance and assistance when the dancer is conditioning or when taking class. It is able to be used when exercising on the floor for strengthening as well as when standing upright on one leg, thereby challenging balance and restoring proprioception. It can be taken anywhere and needs no extra room than the body itself requires. Because it is very grounding and increases the force of gravity on the spinal column, it is very beneficial for maintaining and improving the health of the bones.” ~ Marika Molnar PT
Marika Molnar PT, is a highly respected physical therapist known around the world for her expertise in the evaluation, treatment, and prevention of dance injuries. Through her work she has developed a sophisticated understanding of movement and healthy functioning of the human body as well as sharp observational assessment skills. She is the director of Westside Dance Physical Therapy, a private practice in New York specializing in the rehabilitation of dance injuries. She was the President of the International Association for Dance Medicine and Science; the Director of Physical Therapy Services for the New York City Ballet; and a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal for Dance Medicine and Science for which she has written several articles.
Inside Dance has an advertising partnership with PhysicalMind Institute.