We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Mann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Starting my own business happened without too much thought. As an independent Pilates instructor and performer, who works out of a variety of locations, who is fully self employed, and wants to make sure that I have as much liability coverage as possible, it simply made sense.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have two halves: the fitness/wellness half and the performer/producer/creative half. By day, I teach Pilates and general fitness. I specialize in dancers, golfers, and clients with chronic pain. I have a dance-specialized Pilates certification from Body Arts and Sciences International. I am Titleist Performance Institute certified as a golf fitness professional (level 2). And I am a certified NeuroKinetic Therapy practitioner, working with clients with chronic pain, finding dysfunctional movement patterns in the body and helping to neurologically re-pattern these dysfunctions to reduce pain, increase range of motion, and aid in rehabilitation. By night, I am a dancer, aerialist, and producer and director in the world of cabaret and circus arts. I have always been a dancer, since a young age. I graduated from Chapman University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance Performance. After graduating, I discovered the world of aerial arts. I began my aerial training with Jagged Contemporary Pole Dance Company, which I directed from 2009-2013. After parting ways from Jagged, I transitioned into aerial hoop and hammock, and have dabbled in aerial silks and trapeze. In addition to my discovery of aerial arts, I also stumbled into the world of cabaret and burlesque. As of 2013, I have performed with The Toledo Show, Los Angeles’ longest running cabaret show. From there, my network of nightlife performers and venues has expanded and I quickly realized my ability to produce, direct, and assist other artists in bringing their creative vision to life. I currently am Toledo Diamond’s assistant (of the Toledo Show), was the production assistant for Luxe Obscura in Hollywood, and co-direct Madcap Creative (a performance company which fuses traditional performance arts, such as dance and circus, with kink and fetish performance). It has been extremely challenging navigating the two worlds of my life and finding a balance that made sense. After graduating from college, Pilates was intended to be a day-time job that would allow me the flexibility to pursue a career in the commercial dance industry (television and movies, music videos and touring shows, etc). Initially, however, it was anything but. I often found myself having to skip auditions because of my Pilates clients. I knew I needed to build up my clientele and build a solid relationship with them before I could fully pursue my dance career. In hindsight, it ended up working out. I quickly realized that the commercial industry was not for me. I struggled with the realization until Jagged Contemporary Pole Dance company found me, I soon discovered my love for aerial arts and my interest in fusing the aerial and circus world with more traditional dance forms. Despite the struggle, I can say, without a doubt, that everything worked out. My Pilates business is successful and I have a wonderful group of clients who support my artistic endeavors, because of the patience I had in building my clientele and my relationship with them, and who understand that my artist life is part of me. As for the nightlife part of my life, it is currently on hold because of the pandemic. However, I am in the process of producing a virtual dance festival (the Silicon Valley Dance Festival) and am learning new skills to keep art accessible and available to art-lovers and dance-supporters. I am also in the process of problem solving how to bring live performances back in a safe, yet effective, way. Stay tuned for more details. I learned that having a plan and sticking to it works. I knew that life as an artist is unpredictable. Pilates has been my backbone, allowing me to be creative and follow my artistic dreams without the stress of knowing when my next paycheck would come. It hasn’t been easy. At times it was frustrating to not be able to skip out on work and attend (what I thought) was the big audition that would bring me closer to fulfilling my commercial dance career. However, life as an artist is hard. I am proud of myself for having built a career in fitness/wellness to fall back on when times are tough, especially with the current pandemic. I feel fortunate to be able to say that I truly enjoy what I do. Yes, there are always hard times. However, by day, I enjoy working with clients to help them move with ease, grow stronger, and ultimately live happier lives. By night, I love being onstage, stage managing shows, standing in the audience and watching my creation (or a production on which I assisted) come to life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If a friend came to visit, I would definitely take them to see The Toledo Show. Although I may be biased because of my working relationship with the show, The Toledo Show is – without a doubt – one of the most entertaining things anyone will ever experience. There is nothing like The Toledo Show anywhere else in Los Angeles, or anywhere else I have been. Toledo’s spoken word and vocal artistry, complete with a live band and femme fatale cabaret performers is unlike anything anyone has ever seen. There is no way to explain exactly what The Toledo Show is. You simply have to experience it. If possible, I would take them to the Magic Castle. I love magic. Of all the touristy things to do in Los Angeles, the Magic Castle is one of the harder venues to get into or be able to experience. Getting dressed up for a classy night of magic is always a good time. For food, we would obviously have to make a stop at In-N-Out. We would also have to grab some Mexican food. Some of my favorite spots are Don Cuco’s in Toluca Lake and Guisado’s in Burbank. As for hanging out, I love Santa Monica or Venice for a beach day. Abbot Kinney and Larchmont are some of my favorite areas to hang out, wander around, and shop around.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Major shoutout to my parents who have supported me in my desire to be an artist and encouraged me to follow my dreams. Although they questioned my decisions at times, they have fully stood by me and supported me wherever my path took me. Shoutout to my boyfriend who always helps me problem solve and continues to be a voice of reason in my times of panic, and for being a base of support through my moments of doubt. Thank you to all of my coworkers and friends who work with me, inspire me, and continue to push me towards my goals.
Bruno O’Hara and Love Grace Imagery