Things That Happen When You Quit Your Day Job

Apr 16, 2015 by

04.16.2015 - Things That Happen When You Quit Your Day Job

          Monday night was what my pole partner, the friend with whom I spend 99 percent of pole classes sharing a pole (the one at the front right of the studio is ours), refers to as a triple threat: three classes back to back. I had aerial followed by my first pole choreo followed by stretch. I love nights like that. No matter how tired I am when coming to the studio from work, I leave feeling energized. After three classes in a row, I’m wired. It’s that I-just-#killedit buzz.

          “There’s no pole tonight, is there?” my pole partner asked when I mentioned that I had two more classes after aerial.

          “I’m taking choreo,” I explained.

          “Maria, you’re going to like Francesca,” one of my former, essential-level pole instructors chimed in from the other side of the room. “She’s really upbeat.”

          “Ooh! I like upbeat!” I replied.

          Francesca Galea, the guest instructor of my choreo class, was not only upbeat, but inspiring. Based on the way she moved her body, I assumed her dance background extended from childhood.

          “My only rule,” Francesca began her class, “besides point your toes, is don’t waste music. I don’t care if it’s just –” she tossed her hips from side to side with one hand in her hair. “If I give you eight counts to freestyle, do your thing.”

          “She’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen!” my pole partner commented after watching the class.

          She’s passionate. Her movements aside, Francesca’s appeal flows from her obvious love of what she does. She takes pride in it, and encourages others to do the same.

          “Each class is progress,” she said to everyone at the end of choreo. “Don’t be hard on yourselves. We are so blessed to be able to do the things we do in here with our bodies. Everything else can stay outside. This studio is like our haven.”

          I liked that comparison. When I’m at the studio, every other aspect of my life – good or bad – doesn’t exist. I’m too focused on what I’m doing to think about anything else. Every time I walk in and smell the familiar air that is so distinctly Brass Belles, my mind feels clear.

          “I started dancing two years ago because I had something in me that I wanted to share with people,” Francesca continued. “If you have something in you that you want to share, share it,” she urged.

          I could hear unison shock in the initial silence that followed her words. The first response anyone could muster: “Have you really only been dancing for two years?”

          My thoughts exactly.

          I needed to know more of this girl’s story, so I stayed back after stretch to chat with her. Here’s what I learned: Francesca studied travel and tourism in school before taking her seat at a cubicle, like many of us do post-education. As I have countless times, she compared sitting at a desk to her soul being sucked out. Tired of the feeling, one day at work, she researched dance programs. She was 24 without a background in dance, but she had always had an interest. Through her Google search, she found that George Brown was holding auditions for a program that encompassed all performance arts, including dance. Under the impression that the dance audition was hip-hop based, she went.

          “I could dance hip hop,” she said with a breezy shrug of her shoulder to mimic her 24-year-old self. “But when I got there, it was all jazz. I had no idea what I was doing. I tried following the girls in front of me, but I couldn’t get the choreography.”

          I laughed, personally well acquainted with the struggles of following choreography. I’m pretty sure my DNA is missing the gene for coordination.

          “So at one point,” she continued, “I was just like, screw this, and started doing my own thing.”

          I could feel my eyes widen in pride. Friends, you already know I’m pro people leaving jobs they hate, especially to pursue dreams. If there’s anything I applaud more than that, it’s not giving a shit what people think in the process. By going to a dance audition with no dance training and defying audition protocol, Francesca proved herself both ambitious and bold.

          She was quickly pulled aside by one of the audition scorers.

          “You have no idea what you’re doing, do you?” he asked.

          “Nope!” she answered.

          “You’re in,” he said.


          “You’re in,” he repeated. “You have something none of these other people have.”

          Francesca danced for a year at George Brown, and attended every dance audition she could find. After completing the yearlong program, she was invited to Calgary by Decidedly Jazz Danceworks to continue studying through their pre-professional program. After refusing the offer repeatedly, she finally said yes on the advice of her grandmother. Francesca spent a year in Calgary, during which – in addition to studying dance – she taught kids’ dance classes and summer camps at Decidedly Jazz Danceworks and instructed pole and dance at Fierce Girl Fitness. She returned home in February, and Monday night was her first time teaching at my studio.

          “I’m just starting my dance career,” Francesca, now 26, told me. “Most dancers my age are ending theirs.”

Happiness Tip: If you have something in you that you want to share, share it.

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