Laura Donnelly and Imogen Ragone are the creators of Caregivers Central and are both experienced teachers and practitioners of the Alexander Technique.
Laura Donnelly is a teacher, coach, choreographer, dancer, and writer. Her work, Dancing with Ease – Body-Brain Balance, is based on the Alexander Technique and focuses on ease and balance in life and art.
Laura’s experience with caregiving for family members began when she was a child. She lived in close proximity to her mother’s extended family and there were always members of older generations who needed assistance (grocery shopping, changing light bulbs, heavy cleaning, etc.). When Laura’s mother became the primary caregiver for her grandfather, Laura witnessed the added stress her mother experienced. Laura’s grandfather was blind and the family (Laura’s aunts and uncles) kept him in his home as long as possible. In the late 90s, Laura’s husband’s mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. While her husband was the primary caregiver, Laura assisted with short trips, general companionship, and supporting her husband. Then, in 2015, her mother experienced an exacerbation of her COPD symptoms and chose to go into hospice care. Laura and her brother cared for their mother in her home for 6 months before she passed away.
Laura began studying the Alexander Technique in the late 1980s to improve her dance performance and quickly realized that the process would fundamentally change how she lived. She began studying seriously and encouraged her mother to study the Technique also. They spent many hours applying the principles of the Technique to the study and teaching of ballet. Then, when her mother went into hospice, they found practicing the Alexander Technique allowed them to be present, kind, and both sad and grateful for a long life with many wonderful shared experiences.
Laura has an MFA in Theatre Arts/Dance from the University of Arizona. She toured throughout the U.S. and Europe as a professional dancer performing ballet, modern and historical dance. She has taught dance in universities, public schools, and private studios and her choreography has been performed in the U.S. and Europe. She has taught Alexander Technique privately and at universities since 1992. She now lives in Kansas and teaches Body-Brain Balancebased on the principles of the Alexander Technique in-person and online to people from all walks of life.
Imogen Ragone created the BodyIntelligence program to help women transform stress and tension into ease, confidence and inner calm using the Alexander Technique.
She originally came to the Alexander Technique as the solution to chronic neck pain and tension. While initially she was only interested in relief from the pain and tension that had taken over her life, she soon discovered other benefits way beyond anything she had imagined, including a sense of ease and flow in herself and the way she moved, more energy, increased confidence in herself, and a renewed joy in life itself.
Imogen now has over 12 years experience teaching this transformational approach to others.
One of the most important features of Imogen’s approach is a strong focus on self-care, providing a practical way for you to take care of your greatest asset – YOU. BodyIntelligence is a way to put yourself at the top of your priority list in a way that is the opposite of selfish – in a way, that benefits everyone and all you do.
Many of us, and especially women, find ourselves in caregiving roles and put ourselves at the bottom of our priority list. To be able to look after others well – our children, our parents, our spouse, anyone – we must look after ourselves well, too. This is a matter close to Imogen’s heart, as she deals with her ever-changing role with her own parents for whom she has been caring long-distance for over three years. Earlier this year that role changed dramatically following the death of her father and moving her mother, who has Alzheimer’s, into a nursing home.
The tools of the Alexander Technique have been invaluable to Imogen as she goes through this journey, and to her clients in similar situations. This work will help you in the practical physical situations you find yourself in (e.g. learning to move someone else without undue strain on yourself), and the emotional ones, so you learn to be with yourself in a more compassionate and constructive way as you manage many stressful situations.
Imogen lives with her husband, son and two cats in Wilmington, Delaware. Her mother lives in Sheffield, England, where Imogen grew up.