Early Dancing Life
I started dancing at the age of 13 in the art of classical ballet. By the age of 14
I went onto full time training at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School before continuing my full time training at Dance World 301 where I completed my diploma as a Master at Classical Ballet. Dance styles covered in my early full time training were Classical, National, Contemporary, Jazz and Flamenco as well as a range of subjects based on dance physiology and anatomy.
Early Teaching Career
I eventually had to find a way to earn a living from dance as resources became limited. At the age of 18 I started looking for ways to start a teaching career and that is when I came across ballroom dancing. I saw a job advertised to become a ballroom dance instructor and I applied for the job. As I am a third generation dancer I asked my mum, who used to be a ballroom dance instructor, to teach me a few moves. I was successful with my interview and started learning and teaching all styles of social dancing Modern Ballroom, Latin, Street Latin, New Vogue and wedding couple routines at a social dancing studio.
At the age of 23 I encountered Dancesport. Back in that time the rules were quite different to today. I was only permitted to compete as a professional as I earned an income through teaching social dancing. My coaches were not willing to train me to enter professional dancesport competitions as they felt I had started ballroom dancing too late. It was recommended that I wait while they tried to push the rules to change so amateur competitors could also teach. I felt disillusioned that I wasn’t’ given a chance, so I taught a little freelance whilst focusing on my new career in finance for a number of years. This allowed me to save up enough money to pursue my dreams which would consist of me moving overseas to London, the Mecca of Ballroom dancing where I resided in for 7 years.
My time in London
London is where I did the things that I couldn’t do in Australia. I obtained my formal teaching qualifications as a Fellow in Latin American and Modern Ballroom with the ISTD which is kind of like getting a degree through Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge for dancers.
I learned from highly internationally recognised coaches who further enhanced my knowledge of dance and helped me achieve results that a lot of people said were impossible.
One of the biggest personal achievements was competing professionally in Modern Ballroom representing England partnering my wife who also started as my student. We became Closed British Finalists in Professional Ballroom.
This was said to be impossible by many people and was met with much resistance as not only had we started late, but we also had to hold down professional careers working different shifts, She worked day shift, I worked afternoon shift. (We had to wake up at 5:30 am to manage practicing before business hours). A lot of professional couples had been competing since Juvenile age and had the luxury of a dance studio to practice in all day. Our results were achieved within a few years, although it took a lot of hard work, frustration and the overcoming of many obstacles, it was a magical time full of adventure and gave us life long memories.
In my teaching career I have had many students win competitions in the UK and Australia in Medallist, Recreational and Pro-Am competitions and have been proud of the fact that the majority of these students I have taught from scratch as beginners and helped them achieve fantastic results in a short amount of time.
What motivates me to teach?
My greatest joy is not the places that students get in competitions, it is watching people improve and gain in confidence. It is such a pleasure hearing students say that the most exciting part of the week is coming in for their dance lessons.
The smile on people’s faces as they start to believe in themselves, enjoy the movement and see themselves as a thing of beauty is something that I will never tire of and this is the reason I know that I will teach for as long as I physically can.
Dancing isn’t just in the blood it is a learned skill that anyone can be good at it with a bit of persistence and patience. With focus in the right areas everyone has the ability to master their body and unleash their creative abilities no matter their age, shape or size.
There is something in dancing for everyone, it increases Confidence, Strength, Fitness, Balance, Coordination, Memory, Creativity, Social Skills, Communication, Awareness of others and Patience.
These skills I teach in any dance style Ballroom, Latin, Street Latin, New Vogue, Argentine Tango and Ballet to name a few. Step patterns are just the tip of the iceberg in dancing I will take you on an enjoyable journey where you will learn all these skills in a fun environment and feeling self-conscious will become a thing of the past.