Being a global company with over 600 employees, thebigword is proud of our talented members of staff and the interesting, amazing things they achieve outside of the workplace. At thebigword we actively encourage our employees to take on new adventures, hobbies and explore their talents. This month we sat down with Carolyn, our Client Program Director to discuss her passion for dancing.

Dancing before walking

Dancing has always been my passion ever since I was young – I’ve danced since I could walk! I started classes at the age of three.

Growing up I tried many different dance styles from ballet and tap, to disco and street dance. Ballroom and Latin dancing were the ones that struck a chord and became my favourites by far. Until the age of 18, I attended a local dance school where I took medal tests and competed in regional and national Ballroom and Latin dance competitions. This took a lot of time, money and dedication, attending group lessons, private lessons, practice sessions and travelling to competitions.

My passion continued when I started University. One of the first things I did in Fresher’s week was join the DanceSport Society. One of the highlights was being taught by Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova from Strictly Come Dancing!

After University, I worked oversees in the travel industry for a couple of years and dancing took a backseat (unless you can count the weekly ‘Rep show’ we had to perform in). When I came back to the UK, I landed myself job in London with thebigword. This meant moving away from my home in the North of England and setting up a new life! During my first week in London, I saw an advertisement in a local paper for a part time dance teacher in the area where I was living. Despite the stresses of starting a new job and settling into a new city, I attended a trial session and secured the job.

I started out teaching adults for 3 hours one night a week. Two years later, I was running three classes a week for up to 30 adults at a time. I also studied for my Latin Associate qualification from the International Dance Teachers Association and became a qualified Latin Dance teacher.

The workplace and exercise: What is the link?

We work in a fast paced and sometimes challenging environment. Dancing helps me to relax and forget about the stresses of the day. When you are dancing, you have to focus on the steps and your partner, you don’t have time to think about work! When you come back into work the next day, you are refreshed and ready to tackle the day’s challenges.

Dancing also boosts my mood. Sometimes it’s easy to take workplace worries home with you. Moving to music and interacting with students helps to forget about these, as exercise releases feel good endorphins and makes it easier to tackle challenging tasks in the office.

Dancing has also taught me patience and perseverance. Helping others to learn is rewarding and you begin to understand the importance of persistence. The feeling when a student finally masters a new step or a dance, however, is fantastic!

Having a hobby outside of the workplace creates balance. It doesn’t have a negative impact on my work, you have to work smarter to fit everything in. The work-life balance is important to ensure that we don’t burn out!

Dancing into the future

I stopped teaching at the start of 2018 when I moved from London to Leeds. I miss it and it was one of the hardest things to leave behind when I moved.

The past year has flown by with four house moves, getting engaged, starting to plan a wedding and finding out I am pregnant with my first baby! As soon as she is here and I get some fitness back, I definitely plan to set up some classes in Leeds.

I can’t wait to start teaching again and hope to see you in one of my classes before the year is out!

Carolyn Storey, Client Program Director