Carla Jennings is a prime example that you’re never too old to pursue your true love and passions. At the age of 58, Carla looked in the mirror and wasn’t happy with the image she saw looking back at her. After raising a family and focusing on providing for others for decades, she decided two years ago that it was time to reinvent herself by quick stepping her way into the Golden Years as she reignited her lifelong passion of ballroom dancing.
“I had danced when I was single, but then I got married and had my daughter,” explains Carla. “Until two years ago, I hadn’t danced for 20 years. In an effort to become a better me, I went back to what I was passionate about, which was ballroom dancing. It took finding something that I truly loved to get me moving again.”
When Carla went back to ballroom dancing after taking a 20-year break, various injuries and issues began to surface as she pushed her body to continue moving forward. One of the most notable injuries was the need for joint replacement surgery in her foot. After undergoing the surgery in September of 2013, her doctors told her that it would take a year for Carla to recover and be able to dance again. But, with regular massage therapy sessions from her beloved massage therapist Victoria Liotta at Elements Northport, Carla was able to defy those predictions and was back to pursuing her dancing dream only nine weeks after surgery.
“I attribute most of my success to Vicki’s innovated massages and movements with me,” shares Carla. “What makes her stand out is that she goes beyond just giving a good massage. After discussing my situation after my surgery and getting to know my body, she did research and came back with suggestions on different approaches we could take to get me back to where I needed to be. Overall, it’s been a partnership of me constantly working out my body and losing weight, while Vicki continues to find new ways to open up my joints, alleviate pain and help me move better.”
Victoria uses a combination of medical message, deep tissue and Swedish approaches with Carla, as well as stretching, during their sessions to help increase her range of motion and loosen tight muscles. Victoria zeros in on where Carla is feeling pain during each particular session and then focuses on all of the tight areas throughout the body that could be contributing to her painful areas. Following Carla’s foot surgery, Victoria really focused on increasing blood flow and breaking up scar tissue to help promote quicker healing.
“The most gratifying part of treating Carla is that she really is now able to do what she loves,” explains Victoria. “It’s so amazing to see her have the courage to continue dancing, especially after her injury, to continue with the treatments and to continue improving how often she’s dancing. It’s tremendous to hear about her dancing three times per week. She’s dancing more now than she was even two months ago.”
Since reinventing herself with ballroom dancing two years ago, Carla has lost 49 pounds, has a new love for life and is accomplishing more in her dance career this second time around than she could ever imagine. Carla currently dances four times per week, for a total of six to eight hours of ballroom dancing, and she performs in showcases with professional ballroom dancers. She also had the opportunity to be a guest dancer at the local community college where her instructor teaches ballroom dancing as part of the physical education curriculum. During her guest dancer debut, she demonstrated how you can take ballroom with you throughout the years and showed the students all of the different levels of dance you can achieve.
“As I turned 60 years old, I’ve been thrilled with where I am at this point in my life and with my dancing,” shares Carla. “The stars have all aligned for me to pursue my dream. I have a great instructor and massage therapy has become an integral part of my journey. I know I will dance better as the result of the massages I receive from Vicki. I’m so grateful that massage allows me to move better and helps me reach all of my goals.”
Looking ahead, Carla’s new personal goal is to lose another 16 pounds before she turns 61 to help increase her fitness level and mobility. When it comes to dancing, she intends to continue dancing multiple times per week and performing in showcase events as they become available. And, Victoria plans to help Carla every step of the way as she continues to pursue her dreams.