Merry Christmas beautiful ballerinas! And boy do I have a Christmas present for you today – my present to you is the delightful, inspiring and absolutely marvellous human being that is Marie Walton-Mahon.
Now, I’m going to let Marie share her story because she does such an incredible job of this during our conversation! However for those that have been living under a rock in the dance world, let me introduce Marie and her incredible work.
Marie is the Director and creator of Progressing Ballet Technique – a global phenomenon that is currently being taught in over 40 countries worldwide – and I was going to say ‘to ballet teachers and dancers all over the world’ but the program has now surpassed the dance world and is being used across many disciplines, medical practices and activities.
Marie’s work in this field through PBT is so groundbreaking and now imperative to the Australian landscape of movement and conditioning that she’s even been nominated for an Australian of the Year award back in 2017.
When I met Marie for our interview in Sydney she was teaching a class of eight budding young ballerinas at Tanya Pearson Academy. I was all too ready to wait outside, however Marie bounded out to greet me and ushered me inside before asking the students to greet ‘Miss Canning’ – for a split second I thought my Mum might be in the room. Very rarely am I ever called Miss Canning, but it was beautiful and such a testament to the traditions and etiquette that Marie instills in her classroom.
I find Marie’s work with Progressing Ballet Technique so inspiring. It truly is remarkable and as an entrepreneur she is groundbreaking within the industry. However when I sat down to watch the last 20 minutes of the class she was teaching, I left with so many nuggets of wisdom that I’ll cherish forever as a ballet teacher.
From the way Marie follows a stern correction with a soft word of praise, to describing musicality as the ability to feel the music (because once you start counting you’ve lost it!) and how her eyes study every students face to see if they’re truly understanding what she’s saying, not just nodding their head. Then at the end of class she spent a couple of minutes talking about the fire and the environment, stressing to her young dancers the importance of keeping up their fluids and looking after themselves.
Marie is so much more than an extremely successful founder. She’s also humble and kind to the core. I left thinking, be more like Marie. My goal for 2020? To constantly ask myself, ‘What would Marie do?’
Grit & Grace,