Contagiously confident and unapologetically herself are two phrases we use to define our studio trainer and apple of our eye, Amy Eagle. Studio members know her as the queen of the R’n’B vibes that she brings to the mat, and you can basically feel her sassy, sexy charm oozing through her Instagram feed where you will find her sultry dance routines. The last thing you would ever expect is Amy’s conservative upbringing in a strict, Mormon household. Since parting ways with religion, our Amy has experienced the powers of movement for self expression – particularly sultry, heels dancing. Self-expression doesn’t come easy, and it’s not a one size fits all route to get there. We do truly believe reading a story like Amy’s will restore your faith in backing yourself through those uncomfortable waves that come with self-love.
It’s hard to believe someone so warm, open and confident came from such a strict faith, where I’m sure there were several binding rules that played a large part in your upbringing. Can you share a little insight on that?
I grew up in a Mormon religion and one of the rules that really stood out to me were the modesty rules. These rules apply to the way a female chose to dress herself, as it is the way she is perceived by the world. If there was too much skin on show, it was sexualised as a ‘temptation’ to boys and completely unacceptable. Which was always bizarre to me, as this is a responsibility taken on by women, never the men. There are so many of these kinds of rules, but the ones that really stuck were; no bare shoulders, no hem above the knee, nothing too low to expose the chest, and so on. I remember so clearly the day I asked my parents “what’s so sexy about a shoulder?” I couldn’t understand how I could manage to wear a one-piece to the beach yet wasn’t allowed wear a singlet top on a warm summer’s day. I guess you could say this is where the deeper questions started to surface.
I imagine leaving such a strict religion would take months if not years of mental preparation. What age were you when you began to realise religion was no longer a good fit for you?
I feel like throughout my whole life even from a very young age I was always questioning if religion was a good fit for me or not. But I really started thinking about it more seriously around years 11 and 12. It was soon after this that my siblings and I moved from small private school to a jam-packed public school, where my eyes were opened up to different cultures and social norms… in fact I remember quite vividly when I was pulled aside by a bunch of girls on my first day and told every swear word under the sun. There wasn’t a lot of time between the discovery of swear words and my first tongue kiss.
How did you first find your love for empowering yourself and others through movement?
I have always had an interest in moving my body, however when I was younger the topic of dance always seemed to be impossible to warm my family up to. Growing up, Dad would walk me into every dance class, and he would walk me straight back out to the car if the costumes were too revealing or the music too provocative – I’m looking at you Christina Aguilera - “Genie in a Bottle”. I craved so badly to explore the world of dancing in my childhood, but soon realised it wasn’t a possibility under the rules of the church – so I gave up. It wasn’t until about three years ago when I started to take myself to dance class… and when I say ‘take myself’ I mean downing three glasses of wine and dragging my friends along with me. Until I gained enough confidence to go it alone.
I discovered “That’s My Jam Dance” via The Urban List – they took total beginners, experienced adults and advanced dancers all in one class. I loved it. The instructor, Kyla, broke down the barriers of dance for me and provided a safe space that allowed me to open up to dancing and the self-love it taught me. In an industry so catty, I felt so comfortable – like it was meant to be. Don’t get me wrong I was scared in the beginning, and still have my moments today. I’m talking panic attacks and looming self-doubt. It wasn’t until I downed enough wine to attend 1 class per week for 8 weeks without my friends around that I felt confident enough to try the genre of my dreams, Heels.
Sultry side, exotic, floor play, lingerie specific
You’re encouraged to wear whatever feels comfortable for you.
You create such a safe space for women of all dance levels to open-up and express themselves positively – how do you help people push past the mental barriers that come with performing?
It can be so easy to get caught up in our own heads, I can literally see the moment it happens to my girls in class. We all want to nail the moves and make sure we can perform the full routine by the end of class – but I like to remind the girls that they are not here to be professional dancers. They are here to have fun. So, I tell them to smile through it – laugh if you mess it up, continue on and celebrate when you get it right. People, especially women, can often place unnecessary expectations on themselves and my classes will always be a place to challenge this habit and just fully let go. My classes will always be a safe space for you to fully express yourself and to try new things.
For those that cannot attend your classes, how do you advise women to start practicing self expression?
There are so many ways I enjoy practicing self-love and expression, dance is really just the loudest that I preach because it has such a culture built around it. I understand not everyone will find connection this way, and dancing isn’t exactly easily accessible at all hours of the day. Positive affirmations are such a useful tool here. Stand in front of the mirror and name the things you love about yourself. At first you probably won’t believe what you’re telling yourself, it might sound like a bunch of bullshit but the more you say the more you start believing it. That’s when it starts to turn from words to reality.
I also like the encourage my girls to have the difficult conversations, whether it’s with yourself, a close friend or therapist – it’s important we turn inward to challenge the critical thoughts we have, and to challenge the belief systems we already have in place and start to understand where they came from – is this something we still believe in or have we just been brought up around this idea?
Self-pleasuring is a huge practice of self-love. It builds confidence in the body which then funnels into other aspects your daily life. You’d probably find it hard to believe that someone who posed completely nude in a photoshoot last year, only just discovered masturbation three years ago. Self-pleasure looks different for me every week, it’s still very much a journey and I am excited to learn more about my body and what it needs. I don’t have it all figured out, but what I do know is your pleasure is your power and I’m here for the journey.
Where do you find inspiration for your routines?
People - all of my past and current dance teachers – I am always learning. My biggest inspo is Aliya Janell (LA based dancer).
What makes you feel the most sexy?
Music. One song that gets me in the mood is “Would You Mind” – Janet Jackson
My partner – been together 10.5 years
Self-care routine – skincare, shaving legs and washing hair.
3 things you cannot live without?
- Lip balm