Spotlight on scholarship winner, Erica

Community, confidence, connection and providing greater representation for her peers. This is a list of what motivates Erica Obando – and are just a few of the reasons we’re so impressed by our 2022 Teacher Training Scholarship winner. Hailing from California, with a passion for challenging herself through movement, we just know you’ll be as inspired as we are after hearing Erica’s story. So, without further ado…

Oh hey, Erica. We’re so glad you’re here. Tell us a little about yourself…

I was born and raised in Northern California. A volleyball scholarship brought me to San Francisco for college and I’ve been in the Bay Area ever since. I’ve been in education for about 19 years and met my partner working together at a school. We have a son and a daughter who keep us laughing and on our toes!

Nice one. We love Cali. (The wine! The beaches! The Katy Perry song! Turns up California Girls). And what is it that first attracted you to Barre Body?

I was searching for a barre program that I could do at my own pace, but also provide support and community when I needed it. Barre Body felt comprehensive, yet flexible so I could continue to work full time and be fully present for my family. I wanted a program that would give me the knowledge to teach people safely and give me a solid foundation – not something I could breeze through in one weekend or without guidance from actual humans.

Well, you’ve come to the right place – we’ll take comprehensive learning over crash courses any day! Let’s talk about the scholarship… what made you want to apply?

This scholarship is a means for me to help people, particularly women and especially women of colour, who need community and a healthy outlet. The world is an intense place right now and without positive ways to channel our fears and frustrations or a community of supportive folx, life can get the best of us. I want to aid in people’s healing and wellness journeys. It looks different for each of us, but I feel like movement, with love not judgement, is one piece to the puzzle.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. On a personal level, what does movement mean to you?

Movement has always been a place where I’ve found confidence. I am confident when I feel strong in my body and mind and that comes from movement for me. Movement has also given me community in every stage of my life. Some of my oldest friends are women I played sports with as a young girl. I met my best friend playing volleyball together in college. Movement has always connected me to people I probably wouldn’t know without that common ground. As one of few Black students in my hometown with very little representation, playing sports gave me confidence and a sense of resilience. As an adult, movement – now in the form of boutique fitness classes – continues to bring me a sense of community. I have created some really strong bonds with amazingly supportive women who I’ve met through my wellness connections.

That’s so great to hear. Community is everything to us. So, what in particular, are you most excited to get out of the training?

I’m excited to deepen my knowledge and practice so I can show up for future clients as my favourite version of myself. There is a special energy that comes from a confident woman that is palpable. It’s oftentimes contagious. I think that confidence often comes from being challenged and coming out the other side stronger. I expect this program to challenge and push me in ways I’ve never been challenged or pushed.

What impact do you hope that your story has on your community?

I think the face of barre looks a very specific way all over the world. Unfortunately, I think the face of “healthy” looks the same way. It’s slowly shifting, but not fast enough in my eyes. So I hope I can impact the diversity of the industry in a small way and inspire others who also don’t fit the mould, but who love barre or other types of movement or just wellness in general, to be part of the much needed representation the fitness industry needs.

Thanks, Erica. You’re an inspiration to us all. We’ll be watching all the amazing things you do from afar!

Is Barre your jam? Have you always aspired to be an expert teacher? Are you facing obstacles – financial pressures, mental blocks, time restraints – and need extra support? We’ve got you. 

Our 2022 Teacher Training Scholarship applications are open and give you the choice of Barre, Pilates Mat or Reformer Pilates training. We review applicants quarterly, so you can apply right now, next month, or whenever your heart desires. (So what are you waiting for? Go, go, go!)