When You Think You Know Where You Are Going and Things Change…

When You Think You Know Where You Are Going and Things Change…

I don’t know about you but when I was a little girl (like most little girls) I planned out exactly what I wanted my life to be like. I would always dance around the house screaming, “My name will be in lights one day and I will dance and choreograph for all the big stars! Then, I will get married, be VERY successful, and have a family.” Isn’t that what every girl dreams about: her career, man of her dreams, white picket fence, and family?! Come on…you know that I am almost 100% right?!

Sometimes “your plan” doesn’t always turn out to be what you thought it would be or it does. Take me for example, I never thought that I would be a Dance and Fitness Expert and you know what??? I couldn’t be happier that I am and that I am beyond blessed how far I have come and where I am going.

I started dancing at age 3 and to this day (we won’t talk about my age now) I am still dancing! When I moved to Los Angeles 10 years ago, my plan was to be a back up dancer for Artists like Beyonce, Madonna, Missy Elliot, Britney Spears, etc. Then I wanted to be on TV shows like Glee and Old Navy Commercials and Films. My list was endless. I just wanted my talent to be recognized and would have no problem with fame! ☺ Being the motivated and unstoppable girl that I am, I hustled, I networked, I auditioned, I trained, etc. I did whatever I needed to do to get closer to my childhood plan. My determination, passion, training, and work ethic got me a lot. I soon found myself working with Celebrities like LeAnn Rimes, Rihanna, Christina Milian, etc. It was incredible however I still wanted more! I remember telling my sister that I booked this amazing show and her response was, “Why are you not more excited? This is outstanding news!” I responded, “I am happy however I want more!” She then said, “Oh gosh, I can’t wait to see what your reaction will be like when NYC Broadway calls you.” I then said, “Well Broadway would be an opportunity of a lifetime, however yes, I will want more after that too!” ☺ That is just my work ethic. It is called: Ilyse plans to climb her ladder to the moon and back again.

So as years went on living in LA, I started finding myself at auditions for fitness DVDs and fitness shows. I started booking a lot of work in the fitness industry working as back up talent. I was also teaching dance at the time and noticed that a lot of the dance fitness classes were missing something: ME! My career started shifting more into the Health and Fitness Industry and I loved it! I was blessed to meet and work with some amazing people who are now my best friends and mentors. Talk about climbing the ladder…these individuals are top of the top and I got to work with them.

At this point, I realized that my childhood plan was shifting a bit however my gut said, “GO WITH IT!” This was just another step up on my ladder. That was exactly what I did and WOW…I couldn’t be happier! I do what I love and love what I do EVERY single day of the week.

Life can do funny things to us sometimes and usually when you surround yourself with the right energy it always works out in a great way! Always trust your gut and stay positive. Keep your ears, eyes, and mind WIDE OPEN as you never know what you will hear, who you will see/meet, and what you can create. I say, “It is endless what “we” all can do and achieve!” Go for it all and #YoullThankMELater! It is ok if your childhood plan doesn’t work out the way you planned…remember that everything happens for a reason!

Now it is your turn…would you like to share your childhood plan? Did it turn out how you thought it would? Please feel free to comment below and share with your friends.



A Childhood Fantasy Comes to Life….Almost!

A Childhood Fantasy Comes to Life….Almost!

When I was a kid I loved looking at cereal boxes to check out the toys inside or pretend that I was the athlete featured on the front of the box: !  I use to say to myself, “it would be so cool to be on a cereal box…ha ha yea right…fantasy!”

Many years later I may not yet be on a cereal box, but I’m proud and excited to be featured with a worldwide brand that helps people with their health and wellness: Weight Watchers!

After a long audition process I was hired to fully create and lead Weight Watcher’s “The Ultimate Dance Party” 3 DVD program, their first ever dance workout series and first workout series for 2014. It still feels like I am in a dream that I was a part of such a major production with this incredible company.  They fully trusted me with designing the entire program, picking the music, creating the choreography and developing the entire program from A-Z.  Now of course it wasn’t just me.  Kaitlin McCabe, Coordinator, Products & E-Commerce from Weight Watchers was fantastic throughout the entire process and I always enjoy working with Andrea Ambandos and Dragonfly Productions; she and her team are total pros.

The process was different from anything else I’ve ever done.  Not working with my backup talent from the beginning, I created 220 minutes of choreography and then sent it to them by computer; they had two weeks to learn it and get to know me via their computers.  Would they love what I created?  Would they love me?  Could they do it the way I envisioned? Would they be ready for rehearsal before the final shoot?  Would I?  All these thoughts went through my head.

Rehearsals ran smoothly and then the BIG shoot day arrived and while it was a long and exhausting day, everything clicked and at the end of the day my smile couldn’t have been wider!  Working with such a talented group of people was absolutely incredible and we just kicked butt!

While I was in New York for my Thanksgiving break, I had the opportunity to visit the Weight Watchers corporate office and meet with Kaitlin, who introduced me to many others on the Weight Watchers team.  It was a fantastic day and I’m so looking forward to their members taking advantage of what we all put together.

I am so proud of this program and baby of mine that was born.  If you are not a Weight Watchers member, it will go to retail soon; however you CAN walk into a Weight Watchers meeting room and buy it; click on this link and find a meeting room near where you live: http://www.weightwatchers.com/plan/mtg/index.aspx.   

I am just saying…you might not want to wait one minute.  See for yourself and let me know what you think:


It is time to DANCE with me in your home living room today!






Hi from chilly but sunny Denver!

Most of you know already that for the past 10 months I’ve been traveling to Denver on weekends to visit my boyfriend Hilton – at least when he’s not coming to visit me in LA.  On this particular trip I arrived a bit earlier as my best friend Lisa and her husband Michael also came to visit.  Before their arrival, I decided to check out some fitness happenings in the Denver scene…

I love trying out the hottest dance and fitness programs as it helps me continue to grow as an instructor, choreographer and person.  Plus, I LOVE being a student, and shared this guilty pleasure with all of you a couple of blogs ago.

Today I had the opportunity to take class at the NEW willPower FIT Studio located in downtown Denver, co-owned and created by Stacey Lei Krauss.  The Studio is located in a very up and coming area that is minutes away from Coors Field.  It is cool, edgy and fresh…totally love it!  Prior to taking the willPower & Grace class I did some research and discovered the class is done barefoot, everyone wears black and it focuses on cardio, flexibility and functional strength.

When I entered the studio, it brought back memories of me as a young dancer dressed in her pink tights and black leotard for ballet class.  This dress code that taught us the proper discipline and etiquette we needed at the ballet barres.  Standing in front of the mirror in the willPower & Grace class in my blacks matching the other students set the mood of the class and immediately gave me that “Team” feel that we were all in this workout together.

The instructor, Niya, was just a breath of fresh air.  She led us in the workout with so much positivity and motivation that the class felt we could anything we wanted.  Sound familiar?  :)  She reminded me of some of the things that I say when I teach; the music was great and the workout powerful.

Wearing no sneakers allowed me to feel the floor and pay attention to how my feet were leaving the floor and returning to it.  Stacey says it’s all about “Trust Your Feet,” and I totally see why.  We must build strong feet to build a stronger body.  As a dancer, this is SOOO true and important.

My experience today was incredible, and I highly recommend you finding a willPower & Grace class near you.  The willPower Method has been around since 2000, so there are well-trained and qualified instructors all over the country to take you through the fun time that I had today.

Thanks Niya and Stacey!  You both ROCK and I will for sure come back to jump around again soon (which will make Hilton very happy)!!