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The Blog

April 19, 2019

Chelsea Keefer is a soloist at Ballet West and a certified yoga teacher. She recently launched a podcast aimed to provide mental wellness support to dancers on her website. Responses below are as told to Minding the Gap founder Kathleen McGuire Gaines. 

What led you to mental wellness advocacy for dancers?

I had just joined Tulsa Ballet II when I was 18 years old. I had moved out of my parent’s house and there was all this pressure because I was in college while taking this first job and I was also working a second job to support myself and my living situation. I was really overwhelmed because in the first few months I was invited to dance with the main company and learn the Sylvie Guillem role in In the Middle Somewhat Elevated. So I’m this fresh 18-year-old who is just freaking out. I’ve got a lot of the company members upset with me and they were very blunt that they were upset. I was trying to cope and was feeling this overwhelming anxiety. And I didn’t even know what anxiety was at...

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