Updated: Mar 16
Jayna Manoushe Roach, was born and raised in the world bellydancing. She did all kinds of smooth moves with swords and snakes until...her back no longer allowed that action. By the young age of 38, Jayna discovered that she had 3 herniated disks and a doctor who wouldn't listen to her. Her life would take a turn that she would have never predicted. #bellydance #bellydancer #dance
"In the 60’s and 70’s, my mother was a pioneer of bellydance in Los Angeles. She co-authored an instructional book, performed in every Middle-Eastern night club there was, started an organization to promote and educate the public about the art, and produced festivals offering opportunities for dancers and musicians to showcase their skills; She was a powerhouse! Because it was all I knew, I thought everyone’s mom was a Bellydancer; It never occurred to me that it might be something unique. Though I was always surrounded by it, I had never had an interest in doing it myself, you know, following directly in your parent’s footsteps can feel so inauthentic. Instead, I was involved with jazz, ballet, and even cheerleading. I loved to dance.” Jayna expressed her lack of interest in bellydancing yet that all changed when she stumbled across, Flowers of the Desert, who were performing a routine to Kashmir, by Led Zeppelin. This routine was innovative, eye-catching, and a whole lot of fun! She knew instantly that this kind of belly dancing was her calling.
In 1999, Jayna auditioned for Flowers of the Desert, [directed by Laura Crawford] and was accepted. She began traditional and non-traditional bellydancing with the troupes while growing attention from near and far. Jayna was no stranger to seeing stages. Her father was the Chief Lighting Technician for iconic movies such as, Wayne's World and Ghost. With growing popularity and a history in the entertainment industry, Jayna was ready to take bellydancing to her next level.
"Jillina, a world-renowned bellydance performer and choreographer, ruled the LA bellydance scene. I worked with her until junior college, while working in a clothing store. In 2004, Amish in the City, held their show at one of my moms big events and I was the host of that show. I (later) met Miles Copeland, [creator/producer of Bellydance Superstars] who was the manager for the Bangles, including a plethora of incredible 80’s bands. He was holding auditions for a Bellydance company to perform at Lollapalooza, and I wanted in! I tried out three times and on the third time, I made it but... Lollapalooza was over. Miles had huge connections with, Casino De Monte-Carlo. He got us a 3 month contract to do evening shows there. My first tour was in Ireland then, Monte Carlo. On the weekends, we would make quick trips to Japan, Taiwan, Spain, and France to perform [all separate tours]. On future tours, we practically lived on a bus, similar to a transit vehicle that we called, the 'Belly Bus’. This was the beginning of my back pain.”
"I didn't focus on core work or warming up properly, super ammeter move! After about eight years of traveling with the 'Bellydance Superstars’, I spent some time in LA, doing solo work and performing with other local dance companies. I started performing with a rock band and we often had shows that were really late at night. We were on cramped, torn-up stages that were covered with mic wires! Once again, I’m on an uncomfortable travel bus but this time, I am 15 years older. I had this double sword routine that I would do which was way too athletic to be executing without consistent and proper training. I was doing the splits and somersaults and just being crazy careless with my body. Eventually, it all caught up to me. My back was totally out. I couldn't sit, stand, or sleep. I would be up all night crying. I tried everything to get the pain to subside.”
Jayna FINALLY goes to the doctor. She eventually convinces him to at least prescribe an MRI. She knew that something was wrong, you know your body better than anyone! The MRI proved that she was suffering from three herniated discs and he recommended surgery.
"I started crying. I'm 38 and needed surgery?! I'm an artist, I don't have time or money for that. I flipped out and asked if there was anything else I could do. He reluctantly sent me to physical therapy. PT was awesome and they took the time to listen to me. At first, it didn't help much but I could at least stand up. They listened to me everytime, at every appointment.”
There was no way that she could return to belly dancing, so Jayna moved to San Diego, California, to be with the love of her life, and began clerical work at a dance studio. She wanted nothing more than to dance again, especially while watching all of the other dancers. She began to google other careers explaining; "I did a dumb online quiz, you know the kind where it finds your perfect job. The results said, 'Physical Therapy Assistant'. I had never even heard of that. It was only 2 years of schooling and I’m only getting older; I didn't have time to wait. I took a test and actually made it in, I even made it on the dean's list! I was never that great at school, so this was amazing. My back was still hurting but I just continued with PT and started decompression therapy”.
"Attending school full-time while being in excruciating pain was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I convinced myself to just keep going. Now, I love my job annnd I'm not in pain. Everything has just changed so much. I am now a Physical Therapy Assistant that actually listens to other people. I am still thankful for every morning that I can get out of bed and find that my back doesn't hurt. It's so incredible to witness the same kind of journey with my patients. Though I am not dancing much right now, I would love to eventually teach classes and show others how to dance safely without hurting themselves.”
Listen Linda, I have used Jayna’s services myself. I would have never known that she has been a P.T.A for less than a year. She is knowledgeable, she listens, she cares, and she understands pain. You are never too old to make a life adjustment and Jayna is proof of that. Until Next Time… Stay Golden Team!
Jayna’s goals include: “I want to be a better P.T.A. I have only been doing it for 5 months. I'm never going to stop learning. The body always changes. People are getting more interested with healthy bodies and how the body works. I think correct movement should be taught in an educated way.”
"Get your diagnosis, MRI, x-ray, whatever as soon as possible. That will help to prevent further injury and pinpoint what's wrong. I waited too long and spent too much time and money trying to figure it out. Find a professional that will listen to you.”
"Dancers, get the right training and don't believe everything you hear on instagram. Just because they have a great hashtag doesn't mean they know what they are doing.”
"You're never too old to change your life. I was the second oldest in my class. I could have been intimidated or felt stupid but I did what was good for me. You'll get what you want if you focus on it. Don't let anyone or anything in your way. I never knew I could be so smart.”
Fun Facts with Jayna:
"I make my own jewelry, well… I used to [lol].”
"I would love to start dancing again, now that I know how to manage my pain. I do the exercises that I teach my patients which heals the body.”
Connect With Jayna Manoushe Roach!
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