It’s not 9 to 5. I do most of my teaching after school hours and into the evening. I teach every weekday after school, starting at about 3pm with the pre-schoolers. Although I also teach two mornings a week with pre-schoolers.
I usually finish at about 6.30 in the evening. Teaching is very intense and dancing can be hard on the body so I don’t like to work later.
I take students from two years old upwards. It’s the very basics for the little ones – we do things like dancing with props, skipping, learning how to point toes. But there’s a big focus on things like teaching them to listen and sit still. Ballet involves a lot of discipline like that.
Some times of year are busier than others – like the end of January when I’m getting new enrolments and sorting out timetables. Then October is exam time – I do the British Ballet Organisation syllabus so we have an examiner come from overseas.
In December we put on a show that includes all the students and so there’s a lot of work goes into that. I start getting ready for that about now really. I used to make the costumes as well, but now that I have 150 students I’m starting to buy them instead – it just takes too much time otherwise.
In the mornings I do all the other stuff – like invoices, accounts and taxes. Taxes are a bit stressful . Paperwork is my least favourite thing – as a dancer I’m used to moving around and doing things, I find it hard to sit still. But I am getting more organised at it.
I try to switch off at weekends but it’s a very blurred line. I often find myself answering emails and things like that. And when it comes to show times and exam times I might do extra classes at the weekends.
My mum helps me a lot. I couldn’t do it without her really. She used to ferry me around to ballet classes when I was a child and now here I am teaching ballet. And my husband helps out with website stuff. It’s nice to have people to bounce ideas off when you work alone.
I love what I do. As a ballet teacher you’re so many things – a dancer, a choreographer, a role model. It’s busy but very rewarding.