my story

Crystal Ann ChinHave you ever stopped to think about who you were without your job, kids, partner, hobbies — everything that defined you to the outside world?
Take it all away and who are you?

At the height of my career as a professional dancer, I had to confront this myself.

I grew up feeling inadequate and unworthy of love.

I was always trying to be better, wanted, and liked, which trapped me into always doing things to please others. I became the person someone else wanted me to be — to get the job, the boyfriend, the attention.

In the process, I lost my identity. After years of allowing myself to be walked over, taken advantage of, and stereotyped, I finally received a wake up call.

My body created a crisis – debilitating stomach problems and anxiety that forced me to make some major changes.

“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.”
–Thich Nhat Hanh

There were three very important things in my life that helped me during this transition:

  • Accepting help from a support system of mentors, family and friends.
  • Becoming more mindful in my breathing and movement.
  • Learning how to eat well for my body type. I discovered what foods I was allergic
 to and became conscious of the connection between what I was putting into my 
body and how I felt and performed in daily life. Everything is connected.

These are the things I explore every day in my writing.

If you are on a journey to finding your true path in life, I won’t pretend to have all the answers, but I will share with you what I have learned along the way.

Please sign up for my newsletter to connect with me on filling your life with the right people, adding more mindful movement to it, and for exploring how food provides a deep connection to who you are.

in the spotlight

“Dance allows you to find yourself and lose yourself at the same time.”
-Peter Townsend

Like most kids growing up in the 80’s, I started dancing as a six year old to Janet Jackson and Madonna songs in the comfort of my own home. I took my first ballet and jazz classes at eight years old and continued dancing and cheerleading throughout high school and college.

I got my Bachelor degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis in photography and drawing at The University of Southern California. After I graduated from USC, I went straight into the world of competitive Ballroom dancing.

I have competed nationwide in International Latin Ballroom as both an amateur and a professional. I continue to teach Ballroom dance and Pilates to people of all ages throughout the Los Angeles area. I am currently represented by Bloc Talent Agency and have worked in the commercial dance world for over eight years. I have worked with many reputable choreographers in the dance industry. Some of the commercials I have done are for Nikon, Kenzo, Bailey’s Irish Cream, Samsung, Palmolive, MTV, Wells Fargo, Shoe Carnival, Latinva and Skinny Cow Ice Cream. I have had the privilege of working with celebrities including Ashton Kutcher, Katy Perry, JLo, Hugh Laurie, Natasha Bedingfield, Kris Jenner, Julianne Hough and other Dancing with the Stars pros.

stage fright

I spent years fearing that who I truly was would not be good enough, so if I did what other people expected of me and failed, then it wouldn’t be my fault- it would be theirs.

It wasn’t until I was faced with severe stomach problems and anxiety that I was forced to stop and think about what I was allowing to happen.

The universe was giving me signs that something was not right.

Have you ever gotten a cold after a stressful work week or a stomachache after hearing bad news?

Emotional distress manifests itself in the physical body.

It took a lot of quiet time for me to really listen to not only my body, but my heart, and hear what it was saying.

With some serious introspection, meditation, and help from mentors, I slowly developed the courage to do what felt right in my gut and remain true to myself in the process.

I was determined to find fulfillment without external sources of validation and happiness.

I had to leave dance, the very thing that defined me in the world, to become who I really wanted to be– someone that was fulfilled from within, unashamed of the shape of her body, the color of her skin, and able to stand up for what she believed in, even if that meant disappointing people along the way.

“Any path is only a path, and there is no affront to oneself or to others, in dropping it if that is what your heart tells you.”
-Carlos Castaneda

finale

bio04Throughout the year I decided to stop dancing, I booked a few commercial jobs to make ends meet, but much like a relationship gone sour, I was so bitter about my experience in the dance world that I couldn’t even bring myself to take a dance class.

It wasn’t until I finally took matters into my own hands that I was able to start dancing again– saying no to certain people and jobs, doing what felt right to my body, knowing when to stop and most importantly, remaining authentic.

“What other body could pull an entire ocean from shore to shore? The moon is faithful to its nature and its power is never diminished.”
-Den Ming-Dao

Do you ever get that off feeling in your gut when meeting someone everyone else likes but you, or doing something you weren’t quite sure you wanted to do?

I often did, but ignored it so I wouldn’t stand out.

When something feels wrong about a person or situation, I’ve learned to trust my instincts and make decisions to maintain my well-being.

I can sleep at night knowing that I have exercised my right to remain true to myself.

Dance your true colors…Stop doing what’s expected and start listening to your heart!

I currently live in Los Angeles with my two poodle mix pups and my boyfriend, Cobi Mike, a singer -songwriter who is on a parallel artistic journey of presenting his most authentic self to the world. When not writing, teaching, or dancing, I’m learning all the beautiful life lessons my dogs teach me just by their existence- forgiveness, how to be present, and how to be unapologetically myself.