So many of the children who I come across tell me they want to be a ballerina when they grow up but sadly the reality is that only a very select few will make it as a performer. I won't ever dash dreams but I will remind kids that if they truly want to work with in the arts there is always a job they could do.
So, this is the first in a series is to help give children, and their grownups, some ideas on what they could do to be involved in their beloved art. I'm speaking to various people in varying jobs and they've kindly agreed to answer some questions for me.
I'd like you to meet the very lovely Jo (link at the bottom)
What is your job?
I run a Dance wear shop in Totton. I also make costumes for dancers for festivals and shows.
What is your dance background?
From the age of 2 years old I attended ballet classes and at 5 also took classes in Tap and modern. During this time I performed in many shows and pantomimes. At 15 I developed a disease in my knees and so unfortunately had to stop dancing. After moving to Weymouth I became Business Manager of WOW youth musical theatre, which I loved. My daughter also took classes from the age of two, was a Royal Ballet associate till the age of 14 and then became involved in musical theatre. She trained at Liane Theatre Arts and has performed in many uk/international tours and West End shows around the world and is currently in Bat out of Hell at the Dominion theatre.
Did you want to be a dancer when you grew up?
Fortunately I didn’t want to perform as a career, my other love was art so I followed that path studying art and textile design.
What training did you need to do to get your job?
I trained in a shop in Weymouth where I originally worked. Also went to Pointe shoe fitting courses with various companies to ensure we can obtain the perfect fit for every dancer. I also attend a sewing course each week which helps with designing and making costumes.
We'd love to know what are the best and worst parts of your job?
The best things about my job are being surrounded by lovely dancers of all ages from the tiny 2 or 3 year olds to our oldest ballroom dancer who is 93 years old! It’s so lovely to watch the tiniest dancers grow up and to watch them enjoy their hobby or to develop their hobby into a career. Stars has been open for 13 years and we have followed several girls and boys go on to college and then break into the industry or becoming Dance teachers themselves. Luckily we don’t have any worst parts to our job!
Would you recommend your job to aspiring dancers?
For someone wanting to perform obviously this isn’t the job for them. However if they don’t want to perform, but love to be involved with dancers and performers and enjoy working with the general public then this would be great.
And finally - Who is your dance inspiration?
My inspiration comes from the dancers we meet every day in the shop, striving hard to improve their technique and achieve great exam results, their excitement of performing in shows and pantomimes. There is nothing more inspiration than going to see the students we have helped in the shop perform.
If you'd like to see Jo in action here is a link to her store :)