In honour of our new girl-power-inspired collection, Pretty/Strong, we met up with Fabletics Brand Ambassador and professional dancer Daisy as well as the Director of the Sol Dans Company, Melody, to learn more about the delicate-yet-bold art of dance. The company runs regular classes at the famous Pineapple Dance Studios, and we had a blast participating in one of their sessions. In today’s interview, Daisy and Melody tell us how dance changed their lives by growing their self-confidence, and how easy it is to get started. Enter their world below:
Music: Solar Plexus Chakra (note E) by Macroform
You can find more workout-related videos on our YouTube channel!
What are the benefits of dance?
D: Dance teaches you discipline and the notion of hard work. Even when I was working in a restaurant and I was making money to survive and go to classes, the ability to approach people (social skills) and have confidence in myself all came from dance. If I didn’t dance, I wouldn’t have had the courage to develop those skills and get to where I am today.
Are there any negatives?
D: There’s the competitiveness, especially when you’re at college (the years between 18 and 21). That’s when it gets really tough. You’re a 19-year-old being told that you need to look like this, act like this, etc. It can be quite crushing. It’s not only until recently – I graduated two years ago – that I realised that the whole point of dancing is being yourself. During my whole time at college, I was trying to be how others told me I should be, and I’m finally starting to take back control. It’s all about expressing yourself.
M: I think it also has to do with the outfit. Obviously, dance is visual. So, when you put on an outfit, you adopt a different persona. Even when they come to class, people will care about what they wear because they think: ‘I’m going to be in character’. You can dress yourself for a class and become something different.
So, in some sense, you leave yourself behind?
D: For example, the routine we did today involved a lot of improvisation. The theme was loss. It was such a great session, where we were able to do what we wanted. No one tells you what to do. It’s the same with clothes. if you don’t feel comfortable, you’re always aware of your every move and can’t dance freely. You need to lose yourself a bit – let go.
Did you start your career with more traditional types of dance, such as ballet?
D: Yes. So, I followed a classical training regime: ballet, tap, modern jazz. I did that all the way through college. However, I found that I gained more strength outside technique classes, from doing something I enjoyed. We’re quite acrobatic in our style, and yoga has helped me with this so much, more so than technique classes.
M: Yes, we actually do a yoga-based warm-up in our classes.
D: We like to mix it up. We actually have quite a few yogis in the company.
What do you take from your career as dancers?
M: It’s all about doing what you love and being passionate. You wake up in the morning and you realise that you’re living your dream. It’s great.
D: During each class, you just free your mind. You leave your worries behind. You don’t even think about how much money you’re earning or that your boyfriend hasn’t texted you back. You’re just doing it for yourself, and that’s the best feeling.
Do you need a dancing background to attend classes within the company?
D: The great thing about Pineapple Studios is that you don’t have to be a professional dancer to attend the classes. You can make a career for yourself in something completely different, such as event management, and still dance on the side. Dance is a great escape, even if it’s not a career for everyone. No one attends the classes to judge others. They’re just there to do what you’re doing – to escape.
So, let’s say someone is looking to dance purely as a hobby or to try it for the first time, but they felt uncomfortable or intimidated in the first few classes they attended. What advice would you give them?
D: There are many different dance styles. You can check Pineapple’s site for all the different styles, levels and teachers available. So, this is always something to take into account. If you’re not very confident, then find an absolute beginners class. It’s encouraging to be surrounded by people of the same level. It’s also good to try different styles and see which ones suit you best. Different teachers also bring different experiences. The more you dance, the more your confidence will grow. So, get moving!
M: It can also be related to the playlist. You might like a class specifically because of the music that’s being played. It will make you want to move. Teachers update their playlists on a regular basis, so never shy away from letting them know what you enjoy!
D: You should also always follow your teachers on social media, as they usually advertise the routines they will be doing or the music they will be playing. It will also help you feel prepared.
What you do in your company seems to embrace Fabletics’ notion of living your passion…
M: Definitely. I think that’s part of the tagline of our company’s bio as well. It’s about sharing our passion for dance with others.
It must be an amazing environment to be in. We mean, in terms of being surrounded by people with all the same passion.
D: As you get away from college, it’s much nicer. As you grow up, you settle into yourself a bit more. When you’re dancing for yourself and not trapped within a more discipline-oriented school environment, you really start to live your passion. You need a dance family, which is why Sol Dans is such a big part of my life.
At Fabletics, one of the things we strive for is to help women boost their confidence. Have you done anything related to this recently?
M: We actually did a video on female self-confidence, sponsored by the Art Council. It was about body image and issues. It involved people dancing in front of a mirror in their underwear. We wanted to show people how dance can help liberate them from the pressures of the modern world.
A big thank you to the Sol Dans Company and Pineapple Studios for letting us explore the world of contemporary dance. We feel a bit sore, but can’t stop shaking our hips!
Are you looking to take up dance? Quick, here are our top 3 dance workouts:
Zumba: The birth of Zumba was actually quite spontaneous. In the 90s, choreographer Alberto Perez had forgotten the music for his aerobics class, and instead, played a Latin American Salsa mix. It was a huge success, and continues to be the number one choice in almost every city around the world!
Bokwa: Inspired by South African dance, Bokwa blends step aerobics and hip-hop for an upgrade on your traditional cardio session. You could burn 1,000 calories per class!
Pole Dancing: Yes, it’s a bit intimidating at first. However, it’s a great, intense full-body strength training exercise, which will tone your arms, core and back. A pair of tight leggings and a sexy sports bra make for the perfect combo for this workout!
Which dance workout will you try next? Time to get moving!