Body Language Expert Amy Cuddy Describes Her Childhood Roots

By Lisa Scheid
Reading Eagle, Pa.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Amy Cuddy is well known for her bestselling book “Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenge.” Her research explores how body language can change how we see ourselves. She’s famous for showing how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on chances for success.

Reading Eagle, Pa.

She’s a best-selling author. Her 2012 TED Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are,” has reached tens of millions of people.

She’s spoken all over the world, on scores of television shows and to professional groups. She’s published her research in prestigious journals.

Yet, Amy Cuddy is still the small-town girl who fell in love with ballet at Linda Petsu’s School of Dance in Wolmelsdorf.

Back then, she was known as Amy Casselberry, and she was still living the childhood in Robesonia that would reverberate through her groundbreaking work as social psychologist and Harvard Business School professor.

“I’m interested in the idea of communicating through movement, and dance is the ultimate form of body language,” Cuddy said in a telephone interview in late June. “How we express ideas through movement, through posture. … It’s no coincidence that I study body language.”

Cuddy readily admits she started dancing because she wanted to wear a tutu. Soon, though, she found herself taking every class she could.

Even at 5, she was the kind of person who went all-in.

Five or six years later, she headed to Berks Ballet Theatre, where she experienced a rigor her gifted body and mind had not encountered.

“The first day of I took classes, I was crying by the end,” Cuddy said. “I had so much to learn.”

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