Trinity Hamilton is a study in mind/body contrasts; The physicality, precision and drive required of ballet and professional dance versus the adaptability, flexibility and cerebral mindset of a healthcare provider. She began dancing in daycare, convincing her compadres that she was taking ballet. Trinity pretended to be in the corps de ballet, looking both ways down an imaginary row of tutus to be sure everyone was in line. Formal training began at age 3 and by age 6 she was in the studio three to four times a week.
Trinity reminisces, “My parents Marie and Mike and grandma Margaret always supported me financially and emotionally in my dance, but they always left the door open for me to quit.” Her stated goal at age 12 was to be a professional dancer at 21. She made it with four months to spare.
In June of 1996, Trinity was invited to practice with dancers at the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago. Less than a week later, she was asked to join the company and left for Seoul to dance in “Billboards” the Joffrey’s energy-charged rock ballet set to Prince‘s music. She traveled the world for eight years, performing first as a member of the company and later as a principal dancer. Her meteoric climb to the pinnacle of ballet heights reached an abrupt end in 2004 with a stunning medical diagnosis of Type 1 Narcolepsy also known as “narcolepsy with cataplexy”.
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder characterized by overwhelming daytime drowsiness and sudden attacks of sleep. Cataplexy is a sudden and uncontrollable loss of muscle tone, muscle weakness or paralysis that comes on during the day, often triggered by strong emotion, such as excitement or laughter.
In Trinity’s own words, “The development of cataplexy led to a loss of self-confidence and overmedicating in hopes my knees wouldn’t buckle at the top of my career, leading me headfirst into a battle with depression and losing the very identity I had worked my whole life to achieve. I made other excuses as to why I was leaving the Joffrey because I was in denial of what was really going on. Narcolepsy with cataplexy scared me into believing I was broken and permanently disconnected from my body.” “Living with this disorder is a huge part of my life. From the full-body artistic expression of dance to forcing myself to shut down my emotions to avoid cataplexy is something I am still working on and recovering from today.”
In 2005, Trinity relocated to be with her parents in St. Petersburg, Florida and began treatment for her neurological condition with a top sleep disorder specialist, Dr. Neil Feldman. While receiving proper care for her disorder, she spent the next four years heading up the ballet department at the Dance Theatre of Tampa as choreographer and ballet Instructor.
She joined the Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group in late 2009 and performed in the character roles of “La Belle” and “La Femme” in “Mystere” the company’s longest-running show at the Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The physical demands were taxing; the troupe performed year-round; 10 shows a week, Saturday through Wednesday.
Offstage, Trinity made time to earn her BA in Liberal Arts through LEAP an internationally recognized Bachelor’s degree program created by St. Mary’s College specifically designed for current and former professional dancers.
Professional dance while ethereal is also a grueling mind/body practice with frequent injuries, coupled with a constant battle to maintain proper weight, appearance and self-esteem. As she reflects “I am still so blessed to have had that time and look back on it fondly even though I do not miss it. With decades of wear and tear on my body and my back doctor strongly recommending retirement, I knew my professional dance career was coming to an end. I left with much love and happiness for my experience.”
She moved to the mountains to take Vinyasa teacher certification training at the Samadhi center for yoga in Denver. Two instructors who had studied under Matthew Sanford offered a workshop on adaptive yoga, and she was hooked. She attended the Mind Body Solutions Workshops I & II in the fall of 2017 and completed the advanced studies course at MBS in the spring of this year.
While Trinity considers the Chicagoland area to be her home, she returned to Florida last year to be near her mother after the loss of her father. The curtain has begun rising on the second act of Trinity’s life role as an adaptive yoga instructor and certified nursing assistant (CNA). She offers in-home practice for people living with trauma, disability, and chronic illness to awaken the mind/body relationship. She dreams of creating a community space where instructors, artists,and therapists can collaborate to offer hope and positive change; a one-stop-shop for anyone living with physical or psychological challenges to receive coordinated adaptive yoga, art and music therapy, acupuncture, and counseling.