My journey to becoming a Dance Fitness Instructor is something I describe as from Bar to Barre! (Or maybe Barre to Bar and back to Barre is more accurate!)
I started dancing when I was 10, the first style I did was Jazz and this is my favourite style to do even now, more specifically Fosse or Precision Jazz (Rockettes style!) This was just before I started secondary school so when I went to secondary I joined the after school dance club and danced every Friday after school, my first school show was called, ‘Aquinas Goes to the Movies’ and we did ‘Diamonds are a Girls Best Friend’.
I stayed in dance club until year 11 and by then I was also doing ballet, tap and jazz outside of school and joined a contemporary dance project too! So I was doing five classes per week! Then in sixth form I studied Performing Arts so continued to dance and wanted to do dance at uni. I loved studying musicals at school and that is something that has stuck with me, I collect show programmes!
I got accepted to do a degree in Dance and also got a bar job on my A-Level results day. The bar was my absolute favourite bar ever (it still is!) It is an 80s bar and I have always been a retro Queen! I love nostalgia and all thing retro particularly 80s. I started both as planned and started out doing 3 nights at the bar, by the Christmas of the first academic year I was doing 5 nights a week and didn’t really fit in at uni, despite loving dance and doing quite well especially in the anonymous essays, I just loved my job more and completely fitted in.
I danced at work to, we literally danced on the bar! and had loads of different staff dances, think Red Coat style party dances but I loved it!
By the end of my first year at uni I had the chance to become a Team Leader at the bar so I decided to quit uni and two years later I was Assistant Manager at our sister bar down the road and two years after that (aged 23!) I was General Manager of another branch in another part of town.
When I made the decision to quit uni, my friend said to me, “You can always go back to uni when you are 30, you might not get this chance again!”
I stayed at my bar for almost 7 years, it was the love of my life. I continued to dance on the bar and some of our dances were spectacles full on performances! We had Thriller where we all appeared in a zombie like state dragged ourselves to the dance floor and burst into dance. Burlesque where we appeared down the stairs and into dance! We had dance competitions and all sorts!
Also during this time, at the age of 23, I went back to ballet class – just one class per week that’s all I did for years but I also started pointe for the first time! I’d quit all classes when I quit uni so I had a 4 year break from classes.
Dancing was always a part of me but my bar was like my soulmate!
In 2016, the lease expired and the company didn’t renew it so I was made redundant and honestly felt like a part of me died and even now it’s like a piece of me that can never come back. I worked in a few other pubs for a year but it wasn’t MY bar. Guess how old I was by now… 30!
Guess what I did? I went back to uni! I didn’t do Dance, I did a degree in Business so I like to think of my degree as a degree in Bars because everything I’d learnt running pubs was what I wrote about in all of my coursework. I only had to do a year to get a degree because I had previous qualifications up to level 5!
I graduated in 2017 and by this time I’d quit my 14 year bar career altogether. I was on maternity leave so I’ll explain that part more in Keep on Dancing! I was left wondering what to do when my maternity was over. I didn’t want to go back to bars if I couldn’t go back to being me.
So I decided to train to become a Dance Fitness Instructor and at the age of 32 I was qualified and ready to start teaching and that’s when Dance Aspirations 2.0 was set up in 2018.
I’ve been teaching Dance Fitness ever since… but I couldn’t leave the 80s bar life forever so I went back to being ‘just’ a bar maid, back to the bar that I originally worked in. I loved it! I was able to be me without the pressure and stress!
Just under a year later I had to quit the bar again but I kept dancing… Got to keep on Dancing! (Read that part of the story here!)