Dance & Train

What do you do for a living?
I'm a dance teacher and a personal trainer
How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?
I have danced since I was about 7, when my dance teacher did a presentation at my school and started running classes.  I decided to do my first teaching exam while I was at Uni (studying a degree in English).  From there I used dance teaching to help pay the bills while I studied.  My teacher acted as a mentor for me, I don't remember being given other advice.
After uni I became interested in running, and this led to studying to become a fitness instructor and then a PT.  Advice on setting up in business or getting work was part of college- we had to do a work placement, put CVs together etc.
What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?
This has been a little diverse!   When I left school I felt obliged to study something academic, and so did a degree in English at Stirling Uni, which I really enjoyed but wasn't sure where it would take me.
To fund myself while I was there I taught dance classes and also worked in pubs, which allowed me to meet many people.  This also taught me a lot of skills, so it was very worth while! 
One of the individuals I met was a manager with Edinburgh Leisure, and through him I started teaching dance for them. 
Having left Uni I was looking for other work and some direction, and this is when I started running and decided to start fitness training.  Before starting college I also worked for Edinburgh Leisure in a holiday programme, which allowed me a greater insight into the company and to make some good contacts.
At College I learnt the skills that I need for the job I now do, but while I was there they were looking for dance teachers, so I went straight from being a student to an employee- I take that as a compliment to how I worked as a student, as there was no interveiw or application process.
During all this time I was still teaching dance classes for Edinburgh Leisure and also for my teacher.  Having qualified I then went on the start up my own classes, and then to work with Personal Training clients using venues that I had also taught dance classes in. 
Funding was cut for the roject that I was part of at college, so I was made redundant, and then continued to do the work I was already doing elsewhere, but looked for more to add.  I am now in a position of having sucessful classes form my teacher,and at Edinburgh Leisure, as well as running several PT sessions a week, some of my clients have been with me since I first qualified in 2008.
I know that you never know it all- so I regularly attend dance classes and up my skills by doing more professional exams.  I also do CPD at least once a year for PT work- the last two years this has involved courses with Premier Training in London, as well as regular reading.  Of course it's important to keep up my own fitness too, so I run and train regularly, as well as various other sports. 
Talk me through a day in your life... what sorts of things would it involve?
I consider myself fortunate in that no two days of my week are anything like each other- and I'm always working with different people, in different places.  However, an average day might contain an hour of training- weights/ running combination of some sorts, a Pt session, a few dance classes (children from age 3 to 18) and an hour or two of admin- replying to emails, paying bills, filing receipts etc.  Plus about an hour of driving between venues.  I am lucky that I am normally able to have lunch at home- although this often means it's while I'm in front of the PC... like just now!
Was it your planned career when you were 18?
Not remotely!   I always fancied doing something with dancing but I didn't think it was practicle, so I had no idea what would happen!
What did your mum and dad want you to do?
They never seemed to mind, as long as I was working hard and not twiddling my thumbs.
What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
It's hard work and you need to work strange hours and sometimes not for much money- if  you're okay with that then go for it!  Make sure you go somewhere good to train.  I'm lucky in having built up a good network of contacts- whenever I think I might struggle for work something else turns up!  I also have made many friends in the industry and we all help each other out, which is really important.
What other directions could you go in /work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?
Within dance I still get some performance jobs too, so I could persue that more, I could also look into teaching in schools again.  I have chosen to teach for someone else, rather than myself, but the option is there to open my own school too. 
Rather than working freelance as a PT I could work in gyms and clubs, or go into corporate work, I could also start training other PTs, which  is something I might go into in the future.
If there is anything you have not covered about your area of expertise, please feel free to add here.
I imagine there are hundreds of things that I should have mentioned, but I think I've covered the main points that are relevent to me, and if I think of anything else I'll be in touch!  the main point is that I've gone quite a long route to find what I want to do, but now I'm here it feels absolutely right- I am always learning I'm never bored and I love what I do.  It took me til I was about 25 to work out what it was though.