About Simone

How I got into Rolfing…

When I was 3 1/2 years old, my mom started to be somewhat concerned about my huge feet. She stopped dressing me in skirts and sent me to ballet class instead. If I was to look like Goofy, I might at least learn to move gracefully. I fell in love with dancing shortly after. (My feet stopped growing, too, thank God.) However, I continued to take classes in whatever form of dance was available – ballet, tap, jazz, ethnic. I was convinced I would become a ballerina.

My knees thought otherwise, though. After some surgical interventions and a tearful termination of a ballet-career that had not even started yet, I tried to resign myself to a life without dance. Not so good. A few years later, my willingness to accept the original “If it hurts, don’t move.” – policy of my orthopedists was gone (theirs probably, too) and I decided to simply ignore the doctors’ prognoses and start dancing again. As a concession, I switched to ballroom dance, which I thought would be easier on the knees.

It wasn’t really, but at last I had found “my” form of dance. No matter what my body was saying, I would not give that one up. Instead, I developed a keen interest in learning how to reconcile correct dance-technique with the biomechanical limits of my body. Of course, this quickly developed into a search for ways to change my body’s limits. Receiving Rolfing bodywork turned out to be an amazingly effective way to push the envelope.

So, when my dance-partner decided to quit after we made the Austrian National Team, the Rolfing training presented itself as a promising alternative. I was still trying to figure out how to let a body be open enough for movement impulses to travel freely and without pain. Moreover, Rolfing SI had the invaluable advantage of not requiring a partner.

Thus, I started to study anatomy, got all my credentials together and enrolled at the Rolf Institute. I was certified as a Rolfer in 1998, opened a practice in Austria and started to go back for continuing education workshops focusing on movement.

Finding a dance partner proved more difficult, but when the opportunity arose, my husband and I moved to New York. I greatly enjoyed the city and I was happy to dance Latin American ballroom professionally there. Mainly, though, I worked as a Rolfer. As things go in NYC, most of my clients were deeply involved in fitness or the performing arts – quite a change from Austria, where my average client would be a 65 year old lady with some health problems. Working with dancers, actors and singers in NY, I particularly enjoyed adapting the work to their special movement sensibilities on the one hand, as well as supporting quests for self-development on the other.

Through my contacts in ballroom dance, I was invited to Hong Kong for a couple of weeks in 2003 to offer Rolfing there. Even though that was only a relatively short trip, it was chock-full of work and I learned a lot about how culture circumscribes the body. Having done Rolfing Structural Integration on three continents now, in three notably different cultures, I am amazed at how strongly our bodies adapt to cultural contexts – while nonetheless the basic core of problems (backaches, postural limits, stress) stays the same.

2004 proved to be a very exciting year. I had a baby daughter named Anneken in January. The first few months, admittedly, I spent getting used to motherhood and being fascinated by the amount of energy such a tiny being emanates. But as much as I loved NYC, after half a year of working hard to get the baby to sleep amidst constant noise, I was ready to move. In a very timely fashion, my husband got a position at Brown University and we now live in (much) quieter surroundings.

Ever since Anneken (sort of) sleeps through the night, I have been learning a lot: about how, as humans, we create emotional scripts, how movement (as well as behavioral) patterns develop and can be guided and supported if we only take into account biological rhythms, and how important it is to adapt our technological environment to the needs of a living body. Watching this little person grow and develop has been joyful work so far and I am thankful to have her. After an extended maternity leave tending to Anneken’s needs, I was excited to fold what I have been learning through her back into my bodywork practice.

Three years later, my second daughter Skye was born. From the very beginning, she made unambiguously clear that she is her own person. She is interpreting the developmental process of a growing human quite differently from my firstborn, and so teaching me how the same basic pattern can take on very different expressions. At this point, I am homeschooling them both, and pursuing my Rolfing practice mostly during weekends and evenings.