Dance, Dance, IBD: A Sit Down with Moe Brody

Black and white photo of Moe dancing
As the co-owner of Harbour Dance Centre in Vancouver, Moe Brody is internationally recognized as a choreographer, teacher, and mentor. What makes Moe that much more fascinating is that she lives with severe Crohn’s disease while still accomplishing so much.

Here is our conversation with her about life, Crohn’s and her recently released dance video, Sh*tty Day, which she used as an artistic expression of her realities living with Crohn’s.

Q. What was your diagnosis process?

I’ve been fortunate to have had the same doctor since the year of my diagnosis. Our strong relationship and his connections allowed me to see a gastroenterologist rather quickly. Even though my diagnosis my quick, I was left with a lot of unanswered questions.

I left the hospital with a pamphlet that said “Living with Crohn’s disease.” It was filled with a lot of general instructions - no dairy, no fried foods or spicy foods. The stress was incredible, I was working full time and had to figure everything out – the only other person I knew who had Crohn’s was my dad and we had little to no relationship.

Q. What was the plan to get back to being “Moe”?

They prescribed medications and a restrictive diet but it was mostly trial and error. If a medication didn’t work, on to the next. I had a really hard time getting into any sort of routine – I often found myself having a hard time remembering what to take and when. My bowel resection was done around the time I was 40 and shortly after, I was given injection-based medication. Unfortunately, as I have gotten older, the disease has gotten worse but I think that has to do with the stress of my job.

Right now, I do my best to keep my symptoms under control with diet and supplements that help with diarrhea.

Q. Who did you rely on for support?

This was a solo mission for me, I was very alone and the fact was, I was not at all comfortable sharing my story with others..

Q. Outside of medication or diet… what else helped you?

I am a homebody, I love being able to relax at home, it helps me find peace. Between arts, crafts, binging my favourite shows, reading and walks with the pup, a lowkey life has been the key in terms of being happy.
My work is busy and loud so it has always been important to me to find serenity at home.

Q. Where did the passion for dance come from? Where did the idea come from to merge dance and Crohn’s?

Dance was always there for me… everyone needs a healthy distraction with this disease.

There was no direct connection between Crohn’s and dance other than me using it as a distraction, they were completely separate and I was able to pursue a career in it. My life with Crohn’s disease was a big inspiration for my project, Sh*tty Day.

Q. Your video Sh*tty Day– how did it come about?

At first, I honestly didn’t realize how much it could help people. Originally, I made this video with a lot of tunnel vision.

Once I saw it air, the goal was to get this video to the people who really needed to see it - those in the IBD community. It was incredible to see the video initially air, it was a lot of hard work and obviously very personal.

Q. What’s next for you?

First and foremost, I want to amplify the message of Sh*tty Day more and more. There are ideas for a sequel but I want there to be a bit of time in between them. I really like incorporating the humour into my messaging and will continue to do that.

Q. What’s one thing you want to pass onto others going through Crohn’s disease?

Deal with the hand you are dealt but deal with it the best you can. Surround yourself with the right group of people. Support groups are huge because they make you understand that you aren’t alone – they help normalize things and those little things turn into big things.

Destress your life as best you can! Find ways to chill out when you can and enjoy the life you have.

You can watch Moe's video below:

To learn more about Moe and her incredible career, you can visit her website
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  • Canada has among the highest incidence rates of Crohn's and colitis in the world.
  • 1 in 140 Canadians lives with Crohn’s or colitis.
  • Families new to Canada are developing these diseases for the first time.
  • Incidence of Crohn’s in Canadian kids under 10 has doubled since 1995.
  • People are most commonly diagnosed before age 30.

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