2018-19 Dancer Profile: Taryn Mejia

Kansas City native, Taryn Mejia, began taking lessons at Kansas City Ballet School at age 3. She studied ballet at KCBS and The School of American Ballet before joining New York City Ballet. She joined Kansas City Ballet in 2012

Q: WHY DID YOU BECOME A DANCER?

A: I was always dancing around my house as a kid.

JCCC’s New Dance Partners September 2017 – Kansas City Ballet performing “The Uneven” choreographed by Matthew Neenan. Photo, Copyright 2017 Mike Strong, kcdance.com with full usage permissions for the companies and dancers

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DANCE BAG ITEM AND WHY?

A: My foam roller. So many little aches and pains are from tight muscles that can be easily rolled out.

Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING MOST PEOPLE WOULDN’T KNOW ABOUT YOU?

A: I took six years off dancing to go to college and have children.

Q: WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT DANCING?

A: I like to go on outings with my children. We love Science City, Deanna Rose Farmstead, Powell Gardens, the Kansas City Zoo, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and Kaleidoscope to name a few. There is so much to do in this city and it’s a way to connect with my kids and the community.

 

Top Photo by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

Sponsor Profile: Performance Rehab

Dancer: Taryn Mejia. Photographer: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios
Dancer: Taryn Mejia. Photographer: Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

Injuries are the yin to the yang of incredible dance. Prevention is key.

 Kansas City Ballet Dancer Taryn Mejia believes, “The most important part of physical therapy for me is quick treatment of minor injuries, aches and pains. These small ailments, more likely than not, become much larger injuries if left untreated. Dancers are so aware of their bodies that we notice immediately when something is wrong.”

 She’s not alone.

 Since August of 2017, Performance Rehab has had their team working to keep Kansas City Ballet Dancers rehearsing and performing. Performance Rehab is a valued Kansas City Ballet Business Council company and is The Official Physical Rehabilitation Provider to Kansas City Ballet.

Kendra Gage from Performance Rehab
Kendra Gage from Performance Rehab

The Performance Rehab Team

Lead therapist Kendra Gage grew up dancing and studied it in college. And though she never danced professionally she has a love for the art and knowledge of dance language. Her undergrad is from KU. Liz Trevino teaches Pilates and wellness and dance technique enhancement at Performance Rehab and is also a member of the faculty in Kansas City Ballet’s Studio program. Anjali Tata-Hudson is a physical therapist assistant with an extensive dance background and a masters in dance. And Kelly Meiners is a contract therapist. She has worked with KCB in the past and also is with Rockhurst’s PT department.

 “Physical Therapy for dancers is unique because most dancers must continue to be physically active while they have an injury,” says Gage. “Dancers can’t always stop the painful or aggravating activity. So, we establish an individual treatment plan and provide them instructions for dancing, even while injured.”

What Performance Rehab Provides

Here are some types of help Performance Rehab provides: advice to change their warm-up routine or instructing dancers on strategic use of ice or heat, or even giving them certain exercises to do outside of the studio. There are a lot of educational tips and manual techniques the therapists provide that can help dancers while they heal.

Performance Rehab therapists are available for triage or maintenance-type work on both new and existing ailments on rehearsal days during the dancers’ lunch hour, backstage at performances and on Mondays when the dancers are off. Gage says they will see five to six dancers on an average lunch break and they see several on Mondays and are busy backstage the whole show.

The Results

According to Mejia, “Performance rehab has been game changing for this company. The daily accessibility and knowledgeable therapists can diagnose and treat us quickly. Allowing us to dance our best.” 

“It’s really fun to see a dancer overcome an injury to put something on stage for the city to enjoy,” Gage says. “We are proud and honored to be able to help facilitate amazing ballet.”