Hawaii, it’s the land of aloha, of tropical breezes and pineapples, and of warm sandy beaches. It’s also the place Jessica Jo Hill, physical therapist in Valley’s Rehabilitation Department, called home before settling in for Washington’s mainland climate. Though she moved to Washington at age 18, Hawaii still lives on in Jessica through dance. When she isn’t busy treating patients for movement restricting disorders, Jessica spreads a little aloha spirit through some moves of her own with hula and ballet dancing.
Jessica began dancing when her mother signed her up for hula lessons when she was five. It has filled her life with fun, exercise, and inspiration ever since. In high school, Jessica discovered her love for another dancing genre, ballet. The two dance styles became her motivation for studying movement and becoming a physical therapist.
The reason she enjoys dancing is not a complex one. “I just think dancing is fun, it was something fun to do on the island and a way to get some exercise,” Jessica explains. Though she most definitely endured some cold, glum winters attending Washington State University, Jessica didn’t let the weather dull her spirit, spreading sunshine throughout the WAZZU campus as an active member of the Hawaii Club where she helped choreograph performances.
Currently Jessica practices once per week with her hālau (hula school), Hālau Hula Pulamahiaikalikolehua in Kent, and continues to study ballet at Kent’s British Dance Academy. She performs with her hula hālau at venues throughout Washington state, including the Renton Polynesian Festival held at Uwajimaya in August, an event Valley Medical Center supports each year.
Jessica will no doubt continue to study movement through dance for many years to come, as well as provide care to dancers as a physical therapist. She is especially interested in helping other dancers strengthen their bodies or recover from injuries that are keeping them from performing at their full potential. She understands both a dancer’s body type and areas of strength needed, as well as the dancer’s determination to return to something that brings them immense joy.
For more info about physical therapy through Valley’s Rehabilitation Services, visit valleymed.org/rehab or call 425.251.5165.