Dancing through the practice
BY JESSICA THOMAS PHOTOS BY ROBERT STURMAN
It was a moment borne of dreams when Carrie Janell Hamner was hired at the
age of 21 to be one of the Rockettes who make their home in New York City’s
Radio City Music Hall. The precision dance group is an American entertainment
institution. Carrie was hired on the spot (a rarity in show business) to join the
group and she performed as one of the high-kicking dancers there for seven years.
Before she danced beneath Broadway's lights, the San Antonio, Texas, native
attended Oklahoma City University for two years, and then became a cruise ship
entertainer, a common step for professional dancers beginning their career. One of
Hamner’s fellow dancers on the ship introduced her to Yoga, which she remembers as being difficult; especially when holding downward-facing dog pose, which
required the upper body strength she did not possess as a dancer.
When Hamner sustained a minor back injury during an aerial performance on
the ship, she visited to the doctor and was shocked to learn that she had polycystic
kidney disease (PKD), a genetic degenerative disease.
“I was accidentally diagnosed,” says Hamner. “It was a huge awakening to feel
unstoppable at 21 and then be told that you have a disease for which there is no
treatment and no cure.”
It was a turning point for Hamner, who became more conscious of her body’s
health and balance. She began integrating Ayurveda into her Yoga practice in
2007 after being certified as a Yoga teacher at Sonic Yoga in New York City and
in 2010 she completed an advanced Yoga and Ayurveda course with Mas Vidal at
Dancing Shiva near The Grove in Los Angeles. >>