Got to keep on dancing!

Got to Keep on Dancing!

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When I was younger, maybe teenage years, I used to say that if I ever wrote an autobiography it would be entitled, ‘I Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet!’ (Yes that’s the title of a DISCO classic!) At the time all I ever wanted to do was teach dance. I went to uni to study dance but loved my part time job so much that it became my full time job and then my 14 year career.

I ran pubs and nightclubs up until my second little boy was born and then a lot of things changed and I decided life is too short and I returned to my original dancing dream and qualified as a Dance Fitness instructor and now teach my own 80s themed dance class along with some other fitness brands. Throughout my career in bars, I continued to dance but only as a hobby. I went to ballet classes every week and tried out various other classes and of course danced on my bar!

I describe my life story as ‘Bar to Barre!’

Unfortunately my journey from bar to barre wasn’t a simple hop, chassé, pas de bourée dancing into my dreams. It was more like a series of constant audition rejections before deciding to write my own show and be the star of it.

My life and business motto became ‘Got to Keep on Dancing.’ (Also taken from a 70s song!)

At times I often felt like I was constantly trying to just get on with life and dance on a table and have fun… but somebody kept whipping the table cloth from beneath me making me say, ‘It’s fine, I’m fine!” I’d get back up. Then it felt like somebody was whipping the table cloth away, unscrewing the legs, smearing butter everywhere and I still had to say it’s fine… I’m still dancing you can’t knock me down!

My life was pretty simple until my first little boy was born, shortly after I was seriously ill with a life threatening c-section infection. I recovered and went back to my dance classes. Then I had a 10 week miscarriage… kept dancing… got pregnant again and just as my ballet school were preparing for a show so sadly I had to drop out. I would’ve been due days before the show so it wasn’t possible!

Then at my 20 week scan… there was no heartbeat. I was actually 21 weeks pregnant and I had to give birth, they wouldn’t allow surgery as it was too risky with my history. One of the first things I thought about when it was over was…. I want to be in the show! I can keep on dancing.

Finally something went in my favour and somebody dropped out so I was back in and I danced a scene coincidentally called, ‘In Mourning’ just a few days before my due date (the show was Sleeping Beauty and we were the funeral scene.)

A year later my bar, the love of my life, was closed with very little notice. The lease expired and the company decided not to renew so that was it. 12 years of a job I loved was over. I always worked in 70s/ 80s themed bars, I’m a true retro Queen and always felt accepted when I was there. I bet some of my best friends there, had some wonderful colleagues, even met my hubby there! It was a place of happiness and acceptance and it was over.

A few months later I got married and got pregnant again with my little rainbow boy. By this time I’d got another job in a pub company it was a different genre of bars and I met some wonderful people there too but sadly some rather vindictive people too and to cut a long story short, I decided to leave and follow my dreams. So in 2017 when my little boy was 6 months old and my oldest was almost 3, I left my career.

By 2018, I’d qualified to teach and set up teaching in the community. I set up my own brand of dance class too called VIDEO its basically if my old bar were a dance class it would be VIDEO!
So I’d been tested at various points through my life and kept dancing through all of it but the worst test was yet to come. In January 2019, aged just 2, my little rainbow baby boy was diagnosed with leukaemia.

And since then, we’ve just had to keep on dancing! I had a short break from my classes but went back to teaching in April and planning more classes as the time goes on. I genuinely believe that dancing is THE single best thing for a person’s mental health and physical health. It ticks all the boxes. I can honestly say that when I’m in my classes I can be me and with all the stress of in and out of hospital, standing up to people that just won’t listen and all of the other stresses triggered by the diagnosis – dancing has kept me happy.

I’m quite an unusual dance teacher because I always say to my dancers,

“I don’t want to teach you to dance, I want to teach you to keep on dancing!”

And my life has taught me that it means two things;

Keep being you. No matter what life throws at you, you are still you. Keep on doing something that you love. If you lose you then what’s the point? It’s easy to go through a rough patch and just give things up one by one but I think that makes the situation worse.
You’ve got to keep going. No matter what! When you are in a metaphorical routine you see it through until the curtain closes. If something goes wrong you can’t just walk off stage. Flashback to my performance when I was 15l! My ballet shoe ribbons came undone and I kept going. The principal was in the wings silently shouting (yes that’s a thing for dance teachers in the wings) “Kick it off! Kick it off!” I just kept going. Then for even more LOLs our prop nearly fell off stage. I kept on dancing, kept on dancing!

If anyone takes anything from my life story I want it to be ‘Got to Keep on Dancing!’

True to my word, I Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet! Neither should you.

Guest Blog by

Jo Eden-Sangwell

@DanceAcouk

Dance Aspirations


ADULT BALLET BLOGGERS

ADULT BALLET BLOGGERS

There are so many online resources for adult ballet dancers but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start. So we’re sharing a few of our favourite ballet blogs (recommended by you guys via our Instagram @adultballetcommunity) and giving you a peek at the amazing adult dancers/ teachers behind them!

adultballethub.com

Hannah is a stay-at-home mom to two little girls, and happens to be obsessed with ballet. She takes weekly classes and also loves practicing at home.

Adult Ballet Hub is a blog to inspire and encourage adult ballet students. It’s a place where people can gain a sense of solidarity within the small (but thriving!) adult ballet world. 

twirls4thoughts.com Zoe grew up dancing in a small-town RAD studio. After high school she thought she’d be done with dance, but it didn’t take her long to realise that ballet is a hage part of who she is. She now dances in college while also fulfilling her love for the art form by watching, reading, and writing about it! Twirls for Thought aims to democratise the ballet critique. Thoughtful and analytical dance commentary should not be considered esoteric, nor should it be left to the shrinking number of full time dance critics employed by magazines and newspapers around the world. Ballet is a living, breathing, inclusive art form worthy of our attention. So twirl along!

transcendnormal.com

Natasha is an adult ballet dancer and teacher, and also a Ph.D. student of health psychology. Her research focuses on the benefits of ballet for adults. Transcend Normal is a space where adult ballet dancers can learn, find resources and motivation and get inspired on their journey. With a mission to make adult ballet accessible to all!

danceniche.com

Alicia is a 30 something mum of 2 who returned to dance after a 13 year hiatus and is taking us along on her journey of rediscovering her true passion for dance.

Dance Niche covers topics and advice relating to dance from various view points of being a dancer, a dance mum and now a teacher, as well as reviewing dance productions. From hints & tips, cross training exercises to dance history, there’s something for everyone.

balancedballerinas.com

Georgia is a ballet teacher, studio owner, adult ballet lover, blogger and podcaster based in Australia.

The Balanced Ballerinas podcast and blog is for adult ballerinas, young ballerinas and parents of ballerinas to help them live a life full of grace with a little grit!

londonballetclasses.com

Gee is the founder of London Ballet Classes, in addition to her day job. She has extensive experience working in dance, having worked as an inclusive dance teacher with IcanDance and SLIDE and as a producer for DanceWest. She wants ballet to be an accessible and inclusive art form, bringing joy to adults from all walks of life. Therefore her classes emphasise musicality and artistry in addition to technical skill. London ballet classes focuses on teaching variations so all students have the opportunity to truly dance and perform, not just practice!

The Tutu Truths blog covers everything from technique tips and ballet news to inspirational content. So far the blog has explored the pros and cons of graded work for adult ballerinas, advice on staying motivated, how to become and natural turner and much more!

theaccidentalartist.me

Sarah is a former professional ballet dancer and has been teaching ballet for over 30 years. She is certified in ‘Progressing Ballet Technique’ and is always motivated to share her knowledge and experience.

The Accidental Artist blog helps enable dancers to reach their potential through helpful ballet tips, increasing skills, knowledge and gaining a greater understanding of ballet as an art form.

There are so many wonderful ballet blogs out there but we couldn’t feature them all. Please let us know your favourites in the comments below! 


Welcome to the ABC Blog!

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We’ll be sharing fun and useful blog posts about everything ADULT BALLET! The blog will feature original content from the ABC team as well as guest posts and interviews. If you’re interested in collaborating with us as a guest blogger, please get in touch!

The ABC platform is a place for dancers worldwide to connect, support one another and find useful resources and tips. The adult ballet community it is a wonderful network of supportive dancers of all levels across the world. It’s great to able to connect with other ballet lovers, and gain inspiration, insights and create meaningful friendships. The community also extends to Instagram where fellow ABC members can be found using the hashtags #adultballetgang and #adultballetcommunity

The ABC platform will feature class listings and information worldwide as well as online resources such as video tutorials, exam information and a ballet dictionary. Adult dancers can create a profile which enables you to connect with other dancers based on location, ballet style and level. The Adult Ballet Community is a truly unique, wonderful network and we are thrilled for all of you to be a part of it and join in the great things we have planned!

photo by Aaron Jean Photography