All posts by findingyourfreestyle

Tracee Kafer is the founder and creator of Finding Your Freestyle.

A Fun, Freestyle Challenge Progression!

VIDEO AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST, PLESAE USE THE CAROUSEL ARROWS LAID OVER THE VIDEO TO SEE THE 5 CLIP SERIES

This was something that I intuitively created for my Wednesday 4:00 PM Finding Your Freestyle class at Body & Pole (now happening every week!), it’s quite simple, an effective pattern breaker, floor connector, and pathway carver. Take a look, and give it a try!

1. Start a moving meditation with only one rule, keep some part of your foot on the floor the whole time. Many will want to stick with toes and stay “in the pretty” zone, but remember the whole foot has feel-good potential, too!

2. Then you, or a partner/friend, cleverly place objects (the studio props of blocks and straps were perfect but literally anything goes) in the movement space, on the floor. Have fun with this! 😆 Goldilocks style… Not too many. Not too little. Then … move the same exercise intention of step 1 while also playing with avoidance of objects. Play with proximity to the object, the closer you get, the deeper the interaction.

3. Then, take the objects away, but imagine ANY kind of floor obstacle exists as you move. This requires you to tap into your intuitive imagination, and you can base it off the sensations you had from the last round. You can start by imagining the same objects, but then allow yourself to freely associate. They may change as you move, and should. Freedom is important here while you imagine visually or sensorially.

4. LAST ROUND, and this can go on for awhile as you remove all seeming constraints, allow yourself to start lifting your feet and legs away from the floor. Let your imagined objects remain, and spontaneously change, as your explore FLOOR and AIR. Music can help!

Remember to have fun, and stay curious! Breaking patterns can sometimes be uncomfortable, but you may enjoy it start to finish! Both kinds of experiences are useful for your freestyle practice. This progression is very warming as it forces you to engage with the lower body while heavily “leaning” on your pole anchor up top. While you do this work, you will GUARANTEED be shifting movement patterns, creating new whole body shapes and even transitions as you do so. You will also become aware of how you habitually travel directionally and use your feet, and how big and small of circular connections you make (the floor will feed this back to you well). Just the first exercise alone is wonderful for smoothing out your travel pathways and keeping you aware of footwork and fluidity. Socks would also be great here.

Tag @traceekafer and @findingyourfreestyle if you try it! Have fun floor skating and dodging!!!! Hashies: #findingyourfreestyle #fyfchallenge

A little sidenote: There are so many more steps you could make if you wanted this session to be longer, some of which is bringing secondary awareness back to neglected areas of the body, movement quality, or use of space… for example, I got so floor focused my head became “stuck” downward focused (looking at the “objects”), and so with video or partner witnessing and giving feedback I could go back in and play with that. ❤️

I could also interact with the objects with even more defined characteristic or “rules”. This would be great for floor and standing work too.

A post shared by Tracee Kafer (@traceekafer) on

The Finding Your Freestyle Podcast – Episode 2 – Meditation with Dr. Linick

Thank you for tuning in to our second episode of our brand new series: The Finding Your Freestyle Podcast!

The #FYFpodcast will marinate with our blog and current #freestyledtips and the ongoing #fyfchallenge offerings, but now adding an immersive discussion format to bring in new voices. This podcast is inspired to start a larger dialogue on the art of freestyle (beyond modality and form), and tangential topics of mindfulness, awareness, intention, intuition, creativity, self-expression, and collaboration with interesting folks who are doing their thing in their own way! This podcast will continue to touch back on movement and freestyle practice, but includes the connection between freestyle, in moving form, and the way we can access that freedom in many other life experiences.

Dr. Jess Linick, psychologist and somatic therapist, is our second guest here to talk about meditation, and mindfulness. What is it? What is it not? How do we get started and where else can it go? There were so many fantastic talking points here, I highly suggest you listen – start to finish!

ABOUT DR. LINICK
Dr. Jess Linick is a clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment and resolution of trauma, meditation, mindfulness, and body-oriented psychotherapy. She received her PhD from Columbia University, and currently practices in juvenile detention in New York City. Dr. Jess has danced her whole life, but began pole dancing while living in Los Angeles at BeSpun in 2011. Upon moving back to NYC in 2012, she started dancing at Body & Pole. Along with Tracee Kafer, she is the co-creator of Pole Speak. She is in the process of becoming a Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner, which is a body-oriented, trauma-focused healing modality. She completed her 200-hour yoga teacher training at the WOOM Center in NYC, which combined elements of sound meditation with Vinyasa yoga, and is also Reiki Level 2 attuned.

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST ON iTUNES!

The Finding Your Freestyle Podcast – Episode 1 – The Conscious Chef

Thank you for tuning in to our first episode of our brand new series: The Finding Your Freestyle Podcast (now in iTunes)! I’ve been inspired to start a dialogue online (for years, really) on the art of freestyle, and tangential topics of mindfulness, creativity, and expression with interesting folks who are doing their thing in their own way!

I aspire for this ongoing dialogue to be a nourishing spot for inspiring our diverse, daily practices. When awareness, curiosity, and intention collide, we find more freedom and ownership in each of our actions, and evolve how we feel about ourselves and our lives. Join me!

The #FYFpodcast will marinate with our blog and current #freestyledtips and the ongoing #fyfchallenge offerings, but I’m excited to now enjoy a discussion format and invite in other voices, and I brought up one of my best friends Kiele Turrini, the official chef of our Retreats, The Conscious Chef, to be my first guest.

You guys really enjoyed her infographic on mindful eating vs. dieting that we shared, and Kiele really explores instinct, intuition, harmony, and sensory awareness in her craft – what better person to inspire us in whatever our practice is! In this podcast we discuss intuitive cooking, instinct, flavor profiles, cravings, and more!

ABOUT KIELE
Kiele is a Natural Foods Chef, Intuitive Cooking Coach, and the founder of Conscious Chef in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. She has a background in Food & Healing and whole food learning. Her goal is to open up people’s minds, hearts, and souls through learning about whole food nourishment, healing, making conscious choices, and living an exceptional, holistic, fulfilled lifestyle. Conscious Chef is a food & wellness company with a focus on eating Whole Foods, nutrient-rich living, and making conscious lifestyle choices to be your best self.

FOLLOW THIS LINK TO LISTEN TO THE PODCAST ON iTUNES!

FYF Freestyle’d Tip #15 – What if I only have a few minutes to freestyle?

Hey guys! It’s been a little while since our last long-form Freestyle’d Tip, thanks for tuning in! In this episode, I wanted to give you some tips on what you can do to make the MOST of the few minutes you have to move. Maybe its that one song at the end of class, or you have a busy schedule and can only move for a few minutes, but know you want to/need to? How can you make the most of this time?

Short movement breaks or moments to dance can still be very beneficial to us; it can bring us insight, wake up our bodies and our creativity, shift or expand our energy, and let us release something that needs to go.

I’d love to help you consider the internal and external factors that can help “get you there”. Hopefully there is a tip in here that you can take with you!

Reminder, we have three events coming up that will assist you in accelerating your practice (and your understanding of freestyle)…. The FYF Intensive in Boulder, CO at Vertical Fusion April 6 – 8, the FYF Retreat Costa Rica May 12 – 19, and the FYF Retreat New York August 30 – September 4. Email me with any inquiries: findingyourfreestyle@gmail.com.

Sending you much love for your moving life! – Tracee

FYF Freestyle’d Tip #14 – “Being Good” Part II

This feels like a part II for me, based off of the last Freestyle’d Tip on our blog, “Dancing Doesn’t Always Have To Be “Good”.

Continuing my own dialogue with the idea that there is a whole facet to our practice that requires us to be empowered by “vulnerable” things, and of feeling enough RIGHT NOW… also included in this are a few practical ideas to cultivate more awareness, self-love, and worthiness when your practice is spiraling into spaces that don’t feel or look “good”.

A New Adventure Awaits…

I’ve lived in Brooklyn, New York City, for 12.5 years. And by the end of this year, we will be moved to the country.

We close on *this* house in just two days. It’s been a long journey to get here, but here is our “new”, totally romantic, 200-year-old house. With an abundance of light, space, and nature, it is absolutely beyond anything I ever thought I would live in.

A little backstory, I’ve never owned a home. For much of my adult life, the thought of owning property filled me with a sense of over-responsibility and aversion. I liked the idea of freedom untethered to ownership. Not having to invest very much in the space I dwelled. Transience, and convenience. But as I have realized in my 35 years on earth, life is constantly moving as a current underneath you. No matter what certainty you feel within your own identity and compass, the dissonance of the quickness and slowness of flowing life leads you through many cycles of death and rebirth. And it should.

This year, I have felt I have been on a precipice of great change heading into the next chapter of my life. Things had started to feel like shifts, endings. Activities that used to fill me with inspiration and energy, now felt a little more itchy and constricting, like a sweater that doesn’t quite fit anymore. I’m sure there is a predictability to this new desire, this earth-phase of life where I now crave space to BE, a home to create an oasis within for myself, my family, my friends, my business, and my FYF tribe. But I don’t care much for how predictable it is. I felt the truth of this in my bones.

Murray (my husband) and I began talking about the prospect of leaving the city for a little while now. He isn’t a city dweller at heart, and while I HAVE been for over a decade or more, it has now been long enough here to build a desire contrast for a new daily experience. On that note, never underestimate the power of building up a desire for your own contrast. This is a valuable part of life (of everything, really), the impermanence and inevitable change of things being the actual creator of genuine appreciation for both sides of the coin. My desire to leave city life built…. while walking on too much concrete all the time, seeing too much concrete all the time. By noise. People, people, everywhere. Crowds of people. People who can’t respect your own boundaries, because space and awareness just doesn’t allow. Chaos, that you build denial and suppression up against to convince your energy is not there. Not enough space. Smells. Traffic. Relentless ambition. Pretentiousness. Competition. Garbage. Chaos. The fact that *time* in NYC feels tighter, restrictive, that there isn’t enough (any NY’er can attest to this odd distortion/illusion of our sense of time).

Of course, these things **are the reasons I found my true self here**, found what I wanted to do with my life, found my love, my people, my dance, my creativity, my autonomy, my business, found so many absolutely irreplaceable things. New York birthed me, in many senses. And will always be a beacon of inspiration to me. But what doesn’t change, doesn’t change. Someone told me once a beautiful metaphor about reliance and dependency. A pair of crutches are a life-saver when you injure your foot. It allows you to get around when you can’t, it supports you in a time when you need it the most. But if you don’t let them go? If you keep using those crutches when your body is ready to walk on it’s own, it becomes your handicap, your atrophy.

So, what my life pulls me towards now? To be able to feel more space for the energy in/outside of my body, rather than walk around constricted because of the denseness of people, activity, and chaos. A desire for the access to the abundance of more natural things. Grass. Plants. Trees. Forests. Animals. Sunsets. Stars. I feel my creativity needing more time and space as well, this city is one of total DOING, constantly, and while I am comfortable in that pace, and productively I may thrive in bursts, I feel that the creations within me that will be born in the next decade need a different environment. I want to create from BEING first, this is where the root of what I feel the best of what I have to share is. And New York just makes it difficult to create in this way. It makes it difficult to make space for it.

I felt the manifestation of change begin to root awhile back, but the journey to finding this home was accelerated on a path we did not expect. I mean, it was FAST. We found this house over the course of two days, in two consecutive weekends in September. Walking through this house felt like a natural confirmation. I was awed by my own growing certainty, and sense of rightness in this space. I have to be honest, when Murray first sent me the online listing I gawked. I said to him, “THIS IS TOO BIG! HOW ARE WE GONNA CLEAN IT? ARE YOU CRAZY, IT’S A BEAST!!!!” But, as things go, you never know what your second (third, and fourth) impression will be. Walking around on those welcoming hard wood floors, after driving along beautiful, sunny, country roads, I saw space for Murray and I to eat better (near the farms we love), to spend more of our time doing what we love (get outside as we were doing most weekends anyway, now at our backdoor), to have family and friends visit and also have ample space and privacy to enjoy. I saw my business expand with space for more events (and inventory), I saw two whole movement rooms (one for pole) to train, teach, and film in (watch out for online FYF sessions), I saw a meditation/therapy room that offers sunlight on all sides to feel contained, safe, and warm. I saw a deck and a huge yard for yoga, cartwheels, coffee, maybe singing loudly? I saw a tub that will probably become my favorite pastime, ha. This house also had a richness in detail, a weight, a history, a solidness that felt more beautiful than any other home we saw, even the brand spanking new ones.

I respect this house deeply. I want to be a good caretaker of it. To honor it’s age, and it’s character. I want to open my doors to others who want to come get out of the city, to move, to take in nature, to drive 10 minutes to The Body Art Barn (also 200 years old, ha!) for some movement and training. To be a place of healing, and happiness. Stay tuned for that, my ideas loom large.

As far as NYC? I’m going to be a less frequent commuter, I’ll still be teaching my classes and producing marketing at Body & Pole with my team who have been more than supportive about this (THANK YOU GUYS I LOVE YOU). But I will be able to appreciate it that much more because I’ll head home to wind chimes and crickets, Murray and Toto.

If you read this far, thank you. <3 Thank you for being witness to my journey, and to the start of this next chapter. I appreciate you more than you know. Thank you to the friends and family who we have leant on as we stressed, made decisions, worked through hesitations and fears, squeals and celebrations. Thank you to our parents who have been… absolutely wonderful. Sallee Pittman Kafer Scott Kafer Irene Stephenson 2018? Hello there. - Tracee Kafer

FYF Freestyle’d Tip #13 – Dancing Doesn’t Always Have To Be “Good”

Not giving a fuck… an important art form of life. Believe it or not, there is an aspect of you (RIGHT NOW) that is crying out for more of this expression. The act of constantly and unconsciously judging at all times the product of your own exploration/creation – the act of demanding progression, linear growth, control, impressiveness, talent, awesomeness, or some other label that self-validates can be helpful one moment, and totally damaging the next.

Do you always have to be LOOK/FEEL/ACT/BE/THINK/MOVE/DANCEWELL/GOOD/PERFECT/CORRECT/RIGHT?

Nope.

Today I wanted to share something that has been on my mind…

As always, I want to extend my gratitude to you for listening. These blog posts are my own process in finding a stronger voice of authenticity. This is a life-long journey, as even when we find what we feel is a personal truth, there is ALWAYS more we aren’t conscious of, or deny within. Inside this process of #freestyledtips I allow myself to learn through my own insights, thought patterns, emotions, and cycles. I show myself love by allowing myself to simmer in the mystery of it all, and hopefully in that process I can share something that resonates for you in your own life, and we can connect. <3

FYF December 2017 Playlist: Smooth Beats

Some of my favorite music to put on in a daily practice is more “neutral” in tone – there is a good, solid beat, a smooth quality over and under, a tone that I can massage and manipulate to more source from where I am at that day, rather than be led by the songs whims. This playlist is inspired by that, just usable music for whatever you are focusing in your movement. And sure, there are a few secrets in there that may drag you down somewhere deeper, or lift you up. 🙂 Playlist link.

Happy End of 2017, ya’ll!!!! Can’t wait to move into 2018 with you.

FYF Freestyle’d Tip #12 – Observing Habits

Hello everyone! Back from a long trip, I wanted to ruminate on the habits we function from – and within – not specifically in our dance life, but in our daily, everyday, life.

This requires the balance between doing and being, between action and awareness. Being an observer for how your moving/being is a powerful intuitive tool to bring to your freestyle practice. And you can hone this “skill” or may I say, state of being, by practicing it within the more mundane activities that most likely have your body on autopilot, and your mind trapped elsewhere.

I speak about this mostly from the angle of observing and inhabiting the state of bodily presence, this may include the way you move, your breathing, your posture, the way you sense or perceive, the amount of thought or quality of thought, and more. Take a listen!

Podcast Interview on The Shane Godliman Show

Hey guys! Really happy to share this long interview with Shane Godliman, a UK pole athlete. We had a great time ruminating on everything from freestyle, to self-improvement, fear, and more.

“Episode #032 is up and this one was definitely one of my favourite episodes so far! This week I am joined by the wonderful Tracee Kafer. 🙏

In this episode we talk about the idea of the ‘wounded healer’ and how your personal journey influences your perspectives and teaching philosophies, how Finding Your Freestyle started and what it is all about, how Tracee creates an enviroment for people to feel open and comfortable to express themselves and many more fascinating topics!”

You can listen to the full episode right now! Just hit the link here.

YouTube Link

The podcast is also available on Stitcher, Podbean, Overcast and all major podcast apps!