My name is Paige Fraser and I am a professional dancer born and raised in the Bronx, New York. By the time I was in the eighth grade, I knew I wanted to become a professional dancer. I was given scholarships to attend American Ballet Theatre (ABT) and Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) summer intensives, two very prestigious ballet schools in NYC.
This wasn’t the end. Luckily my parents encouraged me to audition for the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS). Out of the hundreds of New York City dancers who applied, I got in. PPAS is a performing arts high school in the heart of NYC, and I received free training at the Ailey School. There I was introduced to several forms of dance: modern, African and jazz. I also saw dancers like myself in the main Alvin Ailey Company. It became my new dream and my race no longer deterred me from achieving my dreams. I was prepared!
It was also in high school that I was told by my doctor that I had scoliosis. I remember doctors telling me that I needed surgery because of the intensity of my curvature. I was so confused by what was happening. Why me? I asked my parents. I remember crying. I did not know what was going to happen to my dreams. My parents refused to have me go under the knife. They knew how much I wanted to be a professional dancer. I wanted to have a career. Surgery was just not an option. Throughout high school, I wore a back brace to control my curvature. It was the worst time to deal with this condition because in high school you are constantly trying to be accepted, but my friends made me feel comfortable. At the Ailey School, I had a ballet teacher who also had scoliosis. She helped me to feel like less of an outcast and gave me tips on how to gain stability and strength in my core and spine.
Twelve years after being diagnosed with scoliosis, I can proudly state that I have accomplished the career in dance of which I always dreamed. After only three years in college (Fordham University), I was asked to be a member of Ailey II, the second company of Alvin Ailey. It was indeed a dream coming true. With Ailey II, I toured the world and performed in countries like France, Finland and Greece. I am currently in my second year with Visceral Dance Chicago. I am also a founding member of this company, another opportunity I could never have imagined.
I am very fortunate to have a career in dance with scoliosis. Many people do not understand how hard it is to work with this condition. It gets very frustrating at times, but I have to constantly remind myself that I am built differently and some things will always feel different. I do a lot of Pilates exercises every morning to maintain strength in my core and pelvis. I am constantly thinking of my posture and how I work in dance classes to maintain consistency in my dancing on stage. With the help of Alex Eingorn, DC, my wonderful chiropractor, I have been able to maintain my curvature. I plan on dancing for 12 more years, surgery free, and I want everyone to know my story. I also hope to bring awareness to scoliosis throughout the world. There are a few dancers who actually kept going when they were told they have scoliosis. There are also a lot of dancers who did not keep going because they may have allowed the politics of dance to get the best of them. I chose not to quit, and I hope my story can inspire others.
Thank you, Paige Fraser
Hobbies Complement DC’s Work in Chiropractic
-Laughter yoga and martial arts find their way into DC’s clinic
Alex Eingorn, a Manhattan-based DC, earned his degree from New York Chiropractic College (NYCC). He discovered during a chiropractic course that he had scoliosis after looking at his X-rays. Eager to understand scoliosis further, he earned board certification in scoliosis recognition, classification, treatment and prevention. In private practice since 1987, his clinic, Better Health Chiropractic, offers a unique service: Laughter Yoga. Through the help of a patient, Dr. Eingorn came in touch with Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of laughter yoga, who led leader training in Dr. Eingorn’s office. The benefits of laughing were apparent for both Eingorn, who suffered from PTSD, and for his patients; it led to the Laughter Club at his practice. He studied martial arts for more than three decades and is an expert in treating and helping prevent martial arts, athletic and dance injuries.
What motivated you to become a doctor of chiropractic?
God has a sense of humor. I was a scholarship, 4.0 pre-med student and used to refer openly to chiropractors as charlatans. That didn’t change until I suffered a spinal injury; I blew a disk, which led to months and months of medication and physical therapy. It was advised that I may need surgery. Chiropractic was something a lot of my friends suggested to me. Then, reluctantly, I hobbled to Dr. Savas, who was a true chiropractic legend, as I understand now. Chiropractic saved my life, and as result, much to the dismay of my medical mentors, I asked Dr. Savas to write me a letter of recommendation to NYCC. The rest is history.
I see you have a board certification from the International Scoliosis Research Center/Parker University in Texas, and one of your patients who reached out to ACA, Paige Fraser, previously an Alvin Ailey dancer, says she sees you for scoliosis. What inspired you to get a board certification?
I discovered I had scoliosis after diagnosing myself when looking at my own X-rays during a course at NYCC. I took an avid interest in its etiology and treatment. In spite of regular chiropractic care, I continued to have regular exacerbations of pain. It wasn’t until I met Dr. R.B. Mawhiney that I started understanding the nature of this condition. Regretfully, the ISRC is no longer. It took me one year to become certified, and, as a result, I am now no longer afflicted with symptoms. Regarding Paige, it’s a different type of curvature.
What sparked your idea of incorporating Laughter Yoga [a class full of yogic breathing and laughter] in your clinic? What benefits come from it?
It was a fluky thing. Years ago, I treated a patient who was a French documentary writer who had a very tight low back. He was also really depressed: adjusting wasn’t working great. During an appointment, I told him a joke, and his muscles relaxed, and I was able to do an adjustment. Eventually, he was discharged and recovered. Six years later, I received a phone call from Paris, and it’s the French patient, who was making a documentary of the laughter guru of the world, Dr. Madan Kataria. He told me, “When you made me laugh, you saved my life.” A month later, Dr. Kataria held laughter yoga training for 30 people, including myself, which resonated with me as it provided so many benefits. I was also a first responder to the September 11 attacks and suffered from PTSD. Laughter yoga was presented by the universe exactly when it was needed for me. I taught classes up until last winter, but stopped due to time constraints.
What are your hopes for the future of the profession?
We need more proper teachers. My hope is that chiropractic becomes more widely recognized by the government and third-party payers and perhaps one day, we will get insurance equality.
What are your hobbies?
Martial arts, languages and yoga.