Office v Teaching

There are a few things that we take for granted working in an office environment. If you fancy a cup of tea, you can just go and get one, need a quick loo break – no need to tell anyone you just go, quick chat with work colleagues – no problem, hours lunch break – to be expected (most of the time). Even if you feel frustrated, a bit under the weather, or just need some fresh air, you can take 5 more or less anytime you need to.

Being a teacher however, is a completely different story! There is absolutely no way you can just leave a room of students, especially if they are children! This week really brought this home to me, as I have been feeling slightly under the weather all week. At work, I could go and get fresh air, pop to Boots if I needed to, keep getting plenty of hot drinks, but when it came to teaching my classes – my students and participants don’t want to know about that – they want to see a fit, healthy and motivated teacher/instructor to spur them on!

It’s taken a lot out of me this week, I’ve had to really push on through at times, but it brought it home to me just how different this career will be to my current one. I hate to let people down, and I absolutely HATE taking sick days – I’ve only had 2 in almost 4 years at my current place of work, but in teaching, especially as a freelancer, if I am sick, I won’t get paid – simple as that! I also don’t like to let people down, if I say I’m going to do something – I do it, so letting a school down, or a whole class of students down is just not going to happen!

I’m going to be taking extra care of myself, eating healthily, getting plenty of sleep, drinking plenty of water and trying to find some time during the week for absolute relaxation.

If you have any health tips then send them my way!

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It’s all go!

Well, it certainly is all a bit manic at the moment, but I figure if I work my little butt off whilst I’m still young (ahem) then I can reap the benefits in a few years time. That’s the plan anyway…..

Right now, I wouldn’t even know what to say if I’m asked what I do, as currently the following all apply:

Head of Client Services for a Digital Marketing Company

Student (loving the discounts!!)

Fitness Instructor

Zumba Instructor

Ballet Teacher

Business Owner

It’s quite ridiculous but I am enjoying it all, and I have been super strict to not take any work on weekends – otherwise I’m pretty sure I’ll crash and burn.

And so, here is a day in the life of me on a Monday, following on from a previous post:

7.00 am     Alarm goes off and it’s the mad race to get ready for the day ahead and leave on time (still never happens and so begins the jog to the train whilst loaded up with my huge sports bag)

9.00 am     The day job begins, meeting after meeting then hard graft to get everything I need to do completed by 3.30pm.

3.30pm      Leave the office, dash to the tube, then wait for the bus and head to my Advanced 1 class at the Royal Academy of Dance headquarters.

4.30 – 6pm  I love this class, it’s quite a small group and I feel like I’m really improving, so this is pretty much an hour and a half of heaven!

6pm          Change from the bunhead outfit to my funky Zumba instructor outfit, and head back to Beckenham via the bus and the overground train.

8pm        Arrive at the fabulous JJ’s Dance Studio in Beckenham and teach an hour of a high energy Zumba class. (Seriously this studio is amazing, disco lights and everything!)

9.10pm   The amazing partner of mine Jim picks me up, and I’m a buzzing sweaty mess!

9.30pm   Late supper, hot bath, glass of red wine and try to chill out before heading to bed!

And that ladies and gentlemen, is only Monday!!!

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Update on My Projects

Earlier in the year I wrote a list of what I was working on/planning to work on so thought I’d give an update seen as though we are a quarter of the way through the year already (yikes!)

  • Starting the 2 year Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies at the Royal Academy of Dance  started and completed the first module. Awaiting results but have a slight break now before the next one starts in May.
  • Studying for my Exercise to Music Course – exam in April – done and dusted and passed! Woo hoo!
  • Training twice a week at the Royal Academy of Dance with the aim of taking both Advanced Foundation and Advanced 1 in the next year – Booked in for my Advanced Foundation this summer – anyone else over 30 out there taking it?!
  • Taking classes at Pineapple – been a bit slack on this one but planning on doing more from May onwards
  • Setting up my own Performing Arts company – it’s in progress but going slowly….
  • Starting a Show Choir – done and started in Bromley, possibly bringing it to Central London.
  • Taking on more teaching – Starting to assisst at a RAD ballet school in Chiswick from May when I go down to 4 days a week at work. Hoorah!

So actually, not bad progress! I’m quite impressed with myself! I’ve got a couple of new things on the horizon, including auditioning for more things whilst I still can!

I seriously can’t imagine not having interests, passions and dreams to work towards. It makes the day job serve a purpose and also makes it more enjoyable as a result!

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Braving the audtion….

Wow. What a weekend. I may not be able to move very much today but it was all worth it.

Earlier in the week I had received a call from ROH2 about an audition that I had sent my cv off for (and pretty much forgotten about). They were looking for a small, pale skinned petite dancer so I thought what the heck, let’s give it a go, I can play a 15 year old can’t I?….. So I went to my ballet class as usual as I thought that would be a good idea before the audition, a warm up to get me in the mood. Looking back that probably wasn’t the best idea…

After my 2 hour class I made my way to Covent Garden. I was incredibly laid back on my way to the audition, thinking it’ll be good experience but I’ll be out pretty quickly. Let’s remember I haven’t really done any auditioning like this for about 8 years and I’d only got the call a couple of days ago so didn’t think much of it. I was really touch and go about going in the first place, the sun was shining and I knew I was going to be indoors all day Sunday so Saturday afternoon was my only chance to soak up some rays.

I didn’t have time to grab any lunch on the way but again, presumed it would be over pretty quickly so thought I’ll just grab some food after. I signed in at the stage door to the Royal Opera House (most exciting) and was sent to sit with the other auditionees. This is when I thought oh dear lord. What are you doing woman???? The girls were all easily over 10 years younger than me, and looked fresh out of full time dance school. I either run out of the door now or take a deep breath and go for it.

I went for it – and so glad I did! We met Arthur Pita and his assistant for the day Yann, and what an experience. It was an absolute honour to meet Arthur, and I was in awe of the way Yann moved, it was so inspiring and enthralling to watch. I could have just watched them both all day.

We started with a ballet barre and out of my beady little eye I could see the standard was pretty impressive. I thought just enjoy it and think of it as a free workshop.

There was a mix of drama, ballet and contemporary, and although I wasn’t the strongest dancer I impressed myself with the acting, I was pretty good as an angry moody teenage girl! Then came the phrase….which I thought I sucked at. I’ve never been at one with the floor. I’m not friends with it so it isn’t easy to throw myself on it time and time again. I certainly felt my age at that point!

After 2 amazing hours, it was time for a break whilst they decided who to take through to the next stage. I had to wait but had taken my hair down, put my t-shirt back on and was ready to soak up some of the remaining sunshine. I was quite pleased I’d had the balls to go through with it, and got an incredible 2 hour workshop out of it!

We got called into the corridor where the producer had the horrible task of giving the good and bad news. She said she was going to call out the names of those who were going through, and I almost choked when she read my name out first. Surely she’d made a mistake?!

I can’t describe how I felt, I was almost shaking with shock!

We were taken to another studio, and on the way shared a lift with Alina Cojocaru  – could this day get any better??!!

After another hour of absolute heaven with Arthur and Yann, I left the Royal Opera House feeling truly exhilarated and so proud of myself. It’s been a long time since I did anything like this and have always doubted myself and my ability to make it – am I good enough? Am I too small? Am I too old?! No matter what the outcome of this, I have gained more confidence and will keep on going – it might not be too late after all!

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A day in my life…

I always find it interesting to read about what people actually do in their day, especially in the world of Twitter where we only see a snapshot of so many people’s lives, but very rarely get to see what goes on behind the screen.

So here goes with a brief run through of how my day went on Monday.

6.30am – Way too early, the alarm goes off and like a moody teenager I struggle and grump around for a couple of minutes before operation ‘get ready quickly’ happens. I need to get to work at least an hour early in order to cram an extra hour’s work in for my Exercise to Music course which needs to be posted today.

At 7.09am  precisly I start the daily jog to the train station. Never, ever have I ever managed to just take a nice leisurely stroll down to the station, it’s always a mad panic dash often involving a silly totter style run if I’m in heels.

8.00am I’m sat at my desk. I also get a few strange looks by the other early birds, either thinking there must be something wrong or I’m being uber keen. Alas no, it’s purely all for my own personal benefit. I manage to do everything I need to by the time work starts (give or take 20 mins…..) and the working day begins.

Luckily Monday’s do tend to fly by, the mornings are filled with meetings – I sit on the Management team so it’s the usual, where are we, what are we on, what are we doing to do more, are we going to hit target, if not why the hell not and get off your arse and do more deals!

Lunch involves another brisk power walk to the Post Office so that I can make sure my assignments make it to their destination. For the privilege I have to pay £5.05!! It’s an outrage.

5.10pm I run out of the door (an early finish for me on Monday’s now as I managed to negotiate it with my boss – lovely guy) and sprint across London to try to make it to my ballet class on time. This involves a jog to the tube station, barging through crowds to get to the bus station, waiting and praying that the 170 actually turns up, keeping my fingers crossed that the traffic isn’t horrendous over Battersea bridge in the hope that I get there in time to throw my leotard and tights on, scrape my hair into the worlds fastest bun and make it into the studio just in time for the bar to start.

I’m knackered before I’ve even started!

Once I’ve caught my breath I start to enjoy the class, but it is so different to my Saturday one, I’m certainly not as with it after a full day in the office that’s for sure. But still, I have already seen an improvement from going twice a week, so with my additional classes maybe there is still chance I will make it?!?!

Once class finishes it’s another ridiculous journey to get home. Bus, train and walk and then I’m finally home at 9pm. Just in time to make a light supper, watch Glee and go to bed.

Phew! That’s my Monday’s for you!

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6 Models… and Me!

Let me set the scene, It’s a Thursday night. I’ve just finished work, and briskly walked from Blackfriars to Angel to avoid all public transport. I arrive flustered, sweaty and bedraggled, not looking too hot at a lovely little bar called the Elk and Wood.

I am greeted by my absolutely stunning friend, who is possibly one of the loveliest girls I know, and who organised the whole evening. Around the table are a vision of beauties, all professional models and dancers, all looking effortlessly gorgeous and cool. As I sit down I feel slightly better, although I do seem to be on a lower seat than the rest….

We start chatting about what we’ve been up to, and it dawns on me just how dull my work life must be compared to these girls. They are jetted off left right and centre, even around the world at times on fashion shoots and shows, and I sit at a desk for 8 hours. Every day.

As we stand up to leave the bar and head to the theatre, it’s like a scene out of a comedy sketch. I literally don’t even come up to their boobs. And they are wearing flats. It’s almost painful to see the way they actually have to bend down a little bit to talk to me! I am only 5’2, and they are 5’11 + so it really is a case of extremes. If I even attempted to wear the clothes they wear, I would look ridiculous, but they really could wear anything and look absolutely stunning!

We had a fabulous evening (actual review coming shortly) but it was when we were all saying our goodbyes and chatting about what we were doing the next day, that it really hit home and cemented my dedication to follow my passion in life, dance. I was heading for another day of sitting in front of a computer screen whilst they were either rehearsing for shows such as Dancing on Ice or being fitted by top designers for shows and shoots. Now I realise that isn’t the road I will ever be able to go down, (this fashion world is so heightest 😉 ) but it does inspire me to work that bit harder to fulfill my dreams.

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Back to Ballet

It’s back to ballet tomorrow, and I haven’t even touched my ballet bag since last term….It’s all change from tomorrow though, and I honestly can’t wait to get started. I’m stepping it up a gear, and attending more classes this term as I really want to try to get my RAD Advanced Foundation and Advanced 1 in this next year, I don’t care if I’m the old bird in the class – I’m still one of the smallest which is quite amusing!!

I was originally in the Intermediate class when I was 13 (although back then it was Elementary), and then again when I was 19 – and thought I was too old so gave up. If only I’d known that wasn’t too old at all!! I bit the bullet and went back at 29, donned the ever so flattering pink tights and took my exam at 30, even got a good grade!

It gave me back my confidence and now there’s no stopping me. Age and previous performing experience has actually given me a positive edge, so now I’m not as worried about being the odd one out in class. Whats also great to see is the number of older people getting back into ballet, and I follow some truly inspiring people on Twitter who are either brand new to ballet or picking it back up again like me.

My old ballet teachers would be shocked if they knew I was doing this so many years later – but I hope they would be proud!

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