This Friday, we are thrilled to introduce to you the beautiful Lindsay Leuschner as this week’s #FEMMEFEATUREFRIDAY! Lindsay grew up in Toronto, Canada where she began her dance training at the age of three. She’s always been a humble, kind, and inspiring soul who has stayed 100% true to who she is. We love that Lindsay embraces what it means to be a human being who has flaws, insecurities and fears just like everyone else, and she doesn’t try to live up to anyone else’s ideas of who or what she should be. This fearless girl believes that nothing is as important as authenticity. She reminds us to forget about the idea of perfection and focus more on being the most honest, genuine and raw person we can be.

Growing up, Lindsay trained at Elite Danceworx under the direction of Dawn Rappitt and dancing with YGTG director Mel Mah! She experienced much professional success after that and danced on So You Think You Can Dance Canada, Good Morning America, TIFF’s Tiny Dancer Film, and in an Emmy Award winning documentary with cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond called God The Father. She’s had the opportunity to perform at the Minskoff Theatre with Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS with Al Blackstone, PanAm Games 2011 Closing Ceremony with Luther Brown, Eryn Waltman’s contemporary Conteur Dance Company, and with Carly Rae Jepsen at the Juno Awards choreographed by Nick Demoura and Kevin Maher. Lindsay is now a cast member in Travis Wall’s contemporary company Shaping Sound, which just recently came off their tour called After the Curtain. She also currently works at NUVO Dance Convention as a faculty member.

Lindsay is a true gem! She’ll be the first to give you a hug if you need one and she always sees the good in others. She has a magnetic personality and a beautiful soul that genuinely cares for all beings around her. No one can deny the warm energy you feel when you’re around this girl, as she constantly radiates good vibes wherever she goes. Lindsay has always been a woman of strength who encourages all the women around her to be whatever they want to be. Her best piece of advice is to admit and acknowledge all of our flaws because doing that is the best way to grow into the greatest versions of ourselves. Thank you Lindsay for helping us understand why it is so essential for us women to own who we are. Never stop shining bright!

Written by Alessia Rotino

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

Artwork by Chloe Bruderer (@chloeheartsart)

What do you think is the most important gift women give to the world?

A friend of mine said this better than I ever could. “Women bring balance to the world. Balance between sensitivity and assertiveness. Balance between being logical and emotional. The ability to lead AND nurture.” There is so much debate and noise at the moment about feminism and a woman’s place in the world and some of it is quite aggressive on both sides. When I read this, I felt like all of that noise and buzz disappeared and I just got it. The most important gift we have is the ability to be whatever we want, and by doing that we’re expanding the definition of what a woman can be.

Tell us about a challenging time in your life? What did you do to overcome it? What did you learn about yourself in the process?

When I was in public school I developed anxiety and was having severe panic attacks. I am still struggling with it to this day, but I have learned that it is a part of who I am. Over the years, introducing yoga and meditation into my life, support from my family and my freedom within my creativity as a dancer, has taught me how to cope with it and even have a sense of humor about it. Most of all I think I’ve learned how strange it is to be thought of as someone whose always thriving and happy and on top of things when often I don’t feel those things at all! I’m going to throw in a book recommendation; it’s called The Places That Scare You by Pema Chödrön. This book is my bible at the moment, and anyone that ever feels afraid or anxious should read this one!

Why do you think it’s important for women to be vulnerable? Why do you think it’s important for men to be vulnerable? How does being vulnerable help us grow as a society?

I think this is really important, today more than ever. We live in a time when so many of us are creating idealized versions of ourselves on social media, and it’s getting harder to admit when we don’t measure up to these artificial standards. However, every single person on this planet has insecurities and fears, and so few of us want to admit to it! When we try to be strong and don’t want to admit feelings of weakness or failure, we become closed off, unhappy, fearful and angry. Instead, if we allow ourselves to admit to and express our vulnerability – our failings as well as our strengths – we are more honest with ourselves and with each other. We are more honest about who we are. I would much rather be around men and women who show their authentic selves rather than trying to project some idealized picture of perfection. I think men especially suffer from this, feeling as though they can’t show weakness. Yet for me, there is nothing more inspiring than a man, or a woman, openly admitting their flaws and trying to work on them. That’s how we learn and grow! You’re not going to improve unless you admit that you have to improve. So, if we as a society are not in touch with our vulnerabilities, we are never going to grow.

 Who inspires you the most and why?

My parents. My mother is the strongest woman I know. She is resilient. She has taught me not to sweat the small stuff, and not to over-think anything. She has been there for me through it all. The joy she exudes and gets out of life, even in the simplest things, inspires me every single day. Then there’s my Dad. I cry every time I talk about him. He always knows what to say, and it feels like he can say it in three words. He has the gentlest soul, with so much wisdom and love to give. He has taught me everything I know, and I aspire to be half the person he is.

What’s your definition of a YGTGirl?

A YGTGirl is a girl who knows who she wants to be and where she wants to get to, and whose not going to let anyone else’s idea of who she “should” be hold her back.