French celebrity trainer and professional dancer Nancy Marie-Claire understands that the human body is a complex machine, and it is her job to assist in challenging, strengthening, toning, and preparing each individual physically in order to maximize their success in the entertainment industry– and in life.
A native of the Caribbean, Marie-Claire entered the artistic world as a dancer, where she learned, intrinsically, the patterns of the human body in space and in motion.
She explains, “This allows me to approach my training sessions with originality and playful side ensuring that each session is always different, varied and diversified.”
But her training doesn’t end there. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in athletic training, she is a certified Level 3 pilates instructor, and an internationally trained dancer, having studied under Dominique Lisette in Japan, England, Sweden, and the United States. There is no doubt that Marie-Claire possesses willpower, determination, organization and structure the likes of which most people can only dream of.
While Marie-Claire’s impressive resume undoubtedly helps her land countless celebrity training jobs, it is her compassion, adaptability, and charisma that set her apart from the rest, ensuring a long list of referrals and returning clients. Marie-Claire is most recently celebrated for her outstanding work on the film Proxima, which is expected to be released later this year.
Marie-Claire’s integral contribution to the film coaching star Eva Green (Penny Dreadful, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children) can be seen through Green’s physical stamina on set. In the film, Green portrays an astronaut who is preparing to leave on an excursion to the moon, with the film following her character as she evolves, trains, and prepares for the arduous journey.
“I had to learn about astronaut training methods, which turned out to be very interesting and so rewarding,” Marie-Claire says.
Once she grasped completely what this training should look like, Marie-Claire made the important decision to couple Green’s physical training with a nutritional program as well.
“Because Eva’s goals for this film included weight loss with upper-body mass gain especially on the arms and shoulders we worked primarily on endurance, speed, and force, allied with a carefully planned nutritional program,” explains Marie-Claire.
Marie-Claire worked with Green for three months leading up to the beginning of the shoot.
“In working with Eva, I challenged her with bodybuilding techniques, pilates, and electrostimulation, which has become one of our favorite practices, despite the effort and concentration that it requires.”
Electrostimulation is the application of electric current to stimulate bone or muscle tissue for therapeutic purposes, such as facilitation of muscle activation and muscle strengthening, and is a technique Green found incredibly helpful.
Actress Eva Green explains, “With Nancy’s electro-muscular-stimulation training, she was able to help me gain added strength in a shorter time frame and, above all, meet the needs of the director who insisted we follow a training program as strict as that of the astronauts.”
With her cross-training in electrostimulation, Marie-Claire is able to set up actors for success in a much different way than the average trainer.
Academy Award nominee Matt Dillon (Crash, There’s Something About Mary) also benefited greatly from Marie-Claire’s training and nutritional expertise during the filming of Proxima.
“My main focus with Matt involved staging different movements and exercises,” says Marie-Claire. “For example, there was a particularly fun and challenging scene involving a treadmill. Matt had to get on the treadmill and run for a significant amount of time while shooting. I helped train him to focus on his stamina and posture, so that the performance would be believable and genuine.”
While it is important to get the physical aspect of the job done safely and correctly, it is also critical to be understanding and patient as the trainee works to achieve their goals. Marie-Claire shines in this category as well, and celebrities are not shy in singing her praise.
“What’s great about Nancy is her natural empathy, her generosity and her ability to push you out of your comfort zone, getting you to trust her and yourself, completely,” says Eva Green. “Nancy is a person who listens to you, advises, takes the time to know your schedule, to adapt, gives you the best of herself and consequently makes you want to dig down and give the very best of yourself.”
Another trainer perhaps less focused on the individualized aspects of the job could inadvertently discourage an actor, which could lead to poor performance, or even giving up and failing entirely.
It is often said that an actor’s body is the most important tool in their toolbox, and Nancy Marie-Claire’s unrivaled skill, dedication, creative, safe, and effective techniques are instrumental in the maintaining and betterment of this tool.
Eva Green sums it up the best, “As an actor, I need to keep my body in tip top condition, ready to meet the demands of any role, and now that I’ve found Nancy, I know that I can call on her any time, for any project and she will help in my preparation, and accompany me throughout the film, and that is priceless!”