Laurie Meinholz '08

Major: Theatre/Dance
Minor: Psychology

Dr. Laurie Meinholz recently graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, IA.  Dr. Laurie is opening up a chiropractic office in Decorah, IA.  Nordic Chiropractic is located on the East end of Water Street and the projected opening date is December 2, 2013. You can find her website here.

Upon entering the Theatre/Dance program, and specifically the MF curriculum, what were your initial reactions/feelings/thoughts? Upon leaving?

Upon entering the Theatre/Dance program, and specifically the Movement Fundamentals (MF) curriculum, what were your initial reactions/feelings/thoughts? Upon leaving?

My initial reaction upon entering the Theatre/Dance program .... I started by taking Contact Improvisation with Jane and I came in after having surgery on my hand. I loved being able to move around all day and not have to sit in a desk. And I appreciated how everything could be modified around the giant cast I had on my hand and I loved learning how to listen to my body, when I was too tired or when my hand need to rest.

Upon leaving, it was like leaving my family. I knew I had a safe space to be in at Luther, and yet I didn’t know what I was doing as I graduated and that was a stressful. I wanted to leave but was also worried about trying to find another similar family outside of Luther. The knowledge I gained was vast and yet indescribable. I knew what I learned from the MF curriculum would always serve me in my life. I knew about my body. I knew about other people’s bodies. I knew the anatomy. I learned about physics without knowing I was learning physics. The two major things that stick with me are: to believe in myself and to trust in the process.

What is your current career/life path?

I am currently in school in Davenport, IA to become a doctor of chiropractic. I will graduate in the year 2013 and plan to practice in Wisconsin or Iowa.

How does the MF curriculum inform this career/ do you use MF in your day-to-day life?

The MF curriculum and my career path:

On the most basic level, it gave me a jump-start in my anatomy classes. Already knowing a lot of the anatomy of the pelvis, knowing where the greater and lesser trochanter was helpful. Also knowing and understanding how the body moves will always stick with me. One way that knowledge helped this past week in class on the peripheral nervous system. On our exam we had many questions about the actions of muscles. I definitely know what the insertion/origin/action of the psoas major is, along with the lateral rotators of the thigh and some others. Using the knowledge I gained in the department in conjunction with the material from class I was able to figure out the actions of a few more. So those are a few ways it has helped me in my classes.

One thing I hope to bring into my practice from the MF curriculum is the imagery. As a chiropractor I will have patients who have been misusing their bodies for as short as a few hours, up to years and decades. Most likely I can adjust the patient, I can ease their pain, but if their subluxations are stemming from poor posture (for example) until the poor posture is corrected the patient will not see as large of improvements as they would if they were moving about their day with better posture and more easeful movement. I hope to give imagery to my patients to think about through the day instead of just saying that they need to “stand up straighter” but to instead tell them to think about rooting through your feet and a string pulling your head up. Energy going down and into the earth and then back up through your body and out the top of your head. I believe that this will be a more effective way to get my patients to a full recovery faster. I have also been reading and re-reading the book used in my MF I class, Taking Root to Fly to trigger my memory and keep the images fresh in my mind and body.

Wanting to use imagery in my practice while knowing a lot more about anatomy and physiology now, I do believe it would be valuable someday to retake the MF curriculum (or parts) with my current knowledge in order to view the curriculum through the lens of chiropractic.

In a paragraph, how would you describe the core philosophy of the MF curriculum at Luther?

To give students the space to explore and learn about the body through theater and dance. Using what may seem like newer or more experimental learning techniques to challenge students to reach their full potential; while providing a foundation to use the MF curriculum either in performance or through other careers and relationships in their life.

What part of the curriculum was most valuable to you?

Well, I’d have to pick a few. Productions—just being a part of the productions. There are shows that I auditioned for and did not get selected for the cast and those are the auditions I still think about. Not because I’m upset I didn’t get the part but because of what that audition meant to me. For example, I have been nervous about singing in front of people since my middle school choir director told me to mouth the words at the concert instead of singing. BUT, I auditioned for Hair. I was scared out of my mind but I told myself when I became a major that I had to audition for everything. And I did and I sounded horrible (I really am not a good singer) but I did it and no one told me to mouth the words. In the auditions and in the productions I learned how to do things that I would not have participated in. Some of these were things that I was scared to do and that I had put into the category that I would never do. I learned how to memorize lines really well and pick up choreography better. I learned to work really well with a group of people and how to do it when you are physically exhausted from putting performing.

Specific classes that I found valuable were Contact Improvisation and dance history. CI seems like a whirlwind. But in that class I learned that the body has the capacity to heal. This is the core principal of chiropractic and I am unsure if chiropractic would have as strong of an appeal to me if I had not learned and experienced this in CI.

I feel like dance history was valuable for me because it gives me the ability to have stronger conversations about dance by knowing the history. I know the key players, where we came from and what they did to form the current dance world. I feel as though I can participate in a conversation with a ballet/modern/tap/contemporary/etc. dancer.

Just one more quick thing to share:

I obviously love the theatre/dance department, and I feel that if it was run by faculty who were not diverse, not based in improvisation and spontaneity, who did not trust in the curriculum and did not trust the other faculty members, the program would not be successful.

I hope that answers your questions. It has been a busy week at school for me and I am very tired so if any of this is incoherent please let me know and I will clarify. I knew that if I did not do this tonight though it would not get done.