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Meet Sarah Mann of The Madmann in Valley Village

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Mann.

Sarah, before we jump into specific questions about the company, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I have been dancing since the age of ten, doing a multitude of styles ranging from musical theatre to ballet to modern, however, my main focus was always hip hop. I went on to receive a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance from Chapman University. After college, I relocated to Los Angeles to focus on a commercial dance career. Since moving to LA, my primary focus shifted towards the fusion of aerial arts with dance, first with a company I co-directed: Jagged Contemporary Pole Dance Company, and now as a solo artist. I was featured on America’s Best Dance Crew (with Jag6ed Crew), FOX’s TV Show Mobbed, and in the documentary Off The Floor, which followed Jagged Contemporary Pole Dance Company.

I now have my own production company, THE MADMANN, which specializes in nightlife shows and events, combining live music, circus, cabaret, and other live performance arts. I am currently a producer and assistant for The Toledo Show – LA’s longest running cabaret show – as well as the production assistant for Luxe Obscura in Hollywood. I am the co-founder and co-director of Madcap Creative, an LA based alternative cabaret company, which combines theatrical arts such as dance and circus with kink and fetish performance. I am also a co-director of Sweven, a company specializing in live erotic performance art for private events and parties.

Aside from dance and live performance, I have a Pilates company, Madmann Fitness. I teach Pilates and Golf Fitness regularly throughout the San Fernando Valley. I received my Pilates Certification from Body Arts and Science International and am Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) Certified, allowing me to help golfers work on the fitness components of their full swing. I am also a NeuroKinetic Therapy (Level 3) practitioner, helping clients with chronic ailments and injury rehabilitation.

Whether through the movement arts or through fitness, I enjoy figuring out how things work. I love working with other creatives to bring their ideas to life. I love the inner workings of live events and performance, navigating how to fit all the pieces together and flow all of the pieces together. I love working with clients – whether it be professional movers, post-surgery clients, or the everyday human – to understand their body and work with them to get them out of pain and living an active life.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
“No” is the short answer. On the one hand, I thought that I was going to move to LA and be part of the commercial dance scene. However, I quickly realized that I wasn’t interested in the industry. I wasn’t interested in changing my look to fit what was desired. I wasn’t interested in spending the time or the money to learn new skills in order to be more desirable to the casting agents. I didn’t have the spare money or time to put into it and I realized that it wasn’t making me happy trying to make it work, so it was time to find something new.

At the same time, when I moved to LA, I had just received my Pilates certification. Initially I thought it would be a flexible job that would allow me the time to audition and dive into the commercial dance world. However, the first few years didn’t give me the flexibility I had anticipated and I wasn’t interested in working at a restaurant or bar in order to have the flexibility. I decided it was more important to keep my Pilates job and build up a clientele in order to have more reliable income. It was frustrating, especially since Pilates was never “supposed” to be a full-time job and now it was “getting in my way” of being a working dancer.

However, during these first few years in LA I discovered pole dance. This was right around the time I stopped pursuing my commercial dance career. Although this special skill was unique and something that I felt should have given me a leg up in the commercial industry, pole dance (at the time) didn’t have the athletic “wow factor” that it currently does. So, I stopped pursuing a commercial dance career and focused on my transition into the aerial world while keeping my day job as a Pilates instructor.

I started first with the company I co-directed, Jagged, a contemporary pole dance company. We made some noise in the commercial world, working to break the stereotype that pole dancing was only for strippers with our appearance on America’s Best Dance Crew, as well as a few other full-length theatrical shows, and a film documentary. Then, when I left the company, I continued on with other aerial arts performing with The Toledo Show, as well as a few other bars shows in the LA area.

The next few years were a struggle, trying to find the balance between my day job as a Pilates & fitness instructor, and my night job as a performer. My days were really long and I rarely had anything remotely close to a “regular” schedule. Half the time I was mad that I had to work as a fitness instructor to make ends meet. Half the time I was glad that I had something to fall back onto, especially when my own personal injuries would prevent me from being onstage.

The struggle to find the balance has lasted about ten years, and is still going. However, I now am at a place where I understand how I fit in with both the fitness world and the creative performance world.

I’ve realized that in order to achieve the flexibility I initially desired with Pilates, I had to become extremely specialized. I believe that I’m the only Pilates instructor in the Valley that is NeuroKinetic Therapy certified and one of two Golf Fitness practitioners. Over the last three years, while trying to understand my own injuries and ailments, I discovered NeuroKinetic Therapy from a co-worker. NKT looks at the body from a neurological point of view: when pain occurs in the body, it is a result of a muscle overworking or underworking. The underworking muscle is not firing properly, neurologically, and thus the overworking muscle is recruited to pick up the slack. Through NKT I am able to test the body to find its dysfunctional patterns and provide a movement protocol to reverse them, allowing for less pain, more range of motion, and ease of movement. With this new certification, I have been able to step back, work less, and focus on the clients who are really in need. Looking at movement from this point of view has completely changed my practice, as well as allowed me the flexibility and time to work on my creative endeavors.

As for the creative side of my life, once moving into the nightlife world, the struggle to “fit in” and the feelings of frustration that I had with the commercial world dissipated. The big struggles I faced now were injuries and lack of funding in bars/clubs. Ultimately, it’s just a tricky business.

Please tell us about the company.
The Madmann is a production company specializing in nightlife entertainment. As The Madmann, I am in the process of creating a few of my own shows involving live music, circus arts, cabaret performers, burlesque dancers, and more. In addition, I am also for hire to assist on other projects/events. Over the years of working in the nightlife scene, I have realized that my knack for organization, directing, and stage management is something to be extremely proud of. I have often started out as a performer on a job and then been promoted to rehearsal director or co-director, simply because I step up and get things done.

The other side is the fitness/wellness side: Madmann Fitness is primarily a Pilates business. However, because of the NeuroKinetic Therapy and Golf Fitness, I am much more specialized than the general population of Pilates instructors. My clients trust my ability to navigate their bodies. When they are injured or dealing with a chronic issue, we are often able to get to the root of it. In addition, many clients have come to me feeling stuck and frustrated with their inability to workout without injuring themselves and, after working with me, they now love working out because they are able to push themselves harder than they ever have before, free of injury.

Ultimately, I’m a professional mover who enjoys navigating the nitty gritty, whether it’s someone’s body or a creative show/event.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
As hard as I try to think about what I would have done differently, I honestly don’t think there’s anything that I could have done differently. The struggle of trying to navigate a day job that I wasn’t energetically fueled by, that could pay my bills, versus a night job that couldn’t pay, but that fed my soul, has been my biggest struggle. However, it was this struggle that ultimately lead me to find a way to become a specialized Pilates instructor so that I could spend less time teaching and more time being creative. Not to mention, that I absolutely love working with my Pilates clients using NeuroKinetic Therapy. The specialty has definitely rejuvenated my love for my day job. And, as for the creative side, at the end of the day, I’m glad that I tried to pursue a commercial dance career. There would have always been the “what if” if I hadn’t. I don’t like the idea of living with a “what if”. I think that’s the biggest lesson, but it’s real: you won’t know till you try.

Pricing:

  • Madmann Fitness (NKT/Pilates/Golf Fitness) pricing: $100 for 1 session, $380 for a 4-pack of sessions, $720 for an 8-pack of sessions

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Bruno O’Hara Photography (Bruno O’Hara)
Love Grace Imagery (Alycia Moreno)

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