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Giving Back: A Conversation with Anna Kaiser

An accomplished dancer who first took the stage at the tender age of seven, New York-based celebrity fitness trainer and exercise expert Anna Kaiser has a cult following that could rival any of today’s famed fitness professionals. But she is not just known for her signature fitness studio, AKT In Motion, or for sculpting the powerful, beautiful bodies of Kelly Ripa, Sarah Jessica Parker and Shakira. Anna toured internationally with the cast of Fame!, served as a principal dancer in Disney’s feature film Enchanted, performed in the 50th Anniversary of Broadway’s West Side Story, and lit up the stage at Carnegie Hall for Showboat.

Anna’s impressive resume makes her the perfect choice for innovative dress line, Project Gravitas’, January Gravitas Woman. The campaign, designed to celebrate inspiring women and the charities most important to them, is donating 10% of all sales of the Project Gravitas Amelia dress to our GoGirlGo! Program on Anna’s behalf. Our GoGirlGo! program works to improve the health of sedentary girls and keep them involved in physical activity. Learn more about Gravitas Women and shop the dress here.

We sat down with Anna for her take on keeping exercise fun, her best memories as a dancer and why the Women’s Sports Foundation and our work is important to her.

Women’s Sports Foundation: You began dancing at the early age of seven. Can you attribute some of your success in business as an adult to the lessons you learned dancing as a young girl?

Anna Kaiser: Absolutely. I would not be here today if I hadn't developed a passion for dance at a young age. As an incredibly shy girl, dance was the medium by which I expressed myself and developed my persona. It allowed me the confidence to pursue my dreams and become the professional that I am today.

WSF: Share with us a favorite memory or performance from your days as a dancer.

AK: On my 21st birthday I had the privilege of performing the role of the female soloist in Donald McKayle's "Rainbow Round My Shoulder," as well as Paul Taylor's classic work "Esplanade." I literally got chills as I walked on to the stage and faced the audience shrouded in darkness. It was a pivotal moment in my career, and there was no turning back. I had become the dancer I had always dreamed of being.

WSF: The classes at your studio, AKT In Motion, are naturally motivating and inherently fun – two things critical for girls to enjoy physical activity. What advice do you have for parents to help get and keep their daughters motivated and excited about health and fitness?

AK: It is ESSENTIAL that young girls enjoy physical activity or they will develop a long standing aversion toward it. That's why sports and dance are such amazing options. They allow every girl to be pushed physically, yet love the social and performance aspects of both. The "fun" factor is even more important to kids than it is to adults. After all, what adult do you know who WANTS to workout if it isn't FUN??

WSF: You’ve chosen the Women’s Sports Foundation’s GoGirlGo! program as the beneficiary of your campaign with the dress line Project Gravitas. What aspect of our work spoke the loudest to you?

AK: I am such a firm believer in the connection between physical activity and overall confidence and body image. Especially for girls as they become young women. There are so many social pressures that we have to face as maturing women, and feeling confident in our bodies through physical activity is the most powerful gift we can give. Life-changing actually. It will affect the way women view themselves for the rest of their lives.

WSF: We are so grateful for your generosity with the Project Gravitas campaign and your belief in the mission of GoGirlGo! Why is it important for women to be philanthropic and give back?

AK: As I progress through my life, and look back on those pivotal moments, I realize how lucky I was in so many ways. I want to help to give that "best chance" to someone who may not have the support in their own life. Empowering others to succeed in life makes us appreciate and respect the world around us, and the difference we can all make together.