Over the years I’ve been to a bunch of different studios. The first is based in Marlands, where I attended all through my school years.
After matric I left home and moved to Hillbrow. There was a ballroom/Latin studio above the original Milky Lane, looking to train up dance teachers. (understand one thing – I never want to teach – I prefer dancing myself rather than trying to teach others their left foot from their right). But it was in the right industry so I tried it out – however they weren’t offering a livable wage. I knew what my monthly expenses were, even though they were meager at that stage – I couldn’t live on what they were offering. So that was a 2 week journey that lead nowhere – even though I quickly learned the basics of ballroom and Latin.
Then I joined RazzleJazzle as a student, for a year before they moved/closed. This was also in Hillbrow, where I was living at the time (late 1980’s). I really enjoyed those classes. I still remember some of the dances – Get Outta My Dreams by Lionel Richie, The Race by Yello to name but two.
After RazzleJazzle closed/moved I was on the lookout for a new studio. A friend pointed me towards one in Doornfontein – so I went to check it out. Turns out they not only did ballroom and latin, but they had a cabaret side too!!! Before I knew it I was in in the dance troupe (even though I still held an office job at a bank).
I did four cabaret shows with this crowd. One at Sardi’s, One in Middleburg, and 2 at the Thunderdome (which I really enjoyed). But then it got to the point where my day job was interfering with my dancing, and Alan (the owner) was pushing me to quit my job, as he had an overseas show for the entire troupe. I was torn – for some reason I was not comfortable doing this – which made no logical sense whatsoever. This was my dream – WHY did I not want to go ahead with this??
The night before I needed to give him my answer I couldn’t sleep – I was tossing and turning trying to figure out how to tell him. Eventually I figured it out – if he was going to insist on an answer that day, I would give him the answer he didn’t want. As illogical as this sounds, it worked for me and I was able to sleep. The following day arrived and I had my meeting with Alan. To say he was livid, is putting it mildly! He threw a complete hissy fit! (yeah, like that would REALLY make me wanna work with him). I got kicked out of the studio there and then, and told never to come back.
A few months later and at yet another studio, trying to get work as a dancer (yes, I still had my bank job), I mentioned all this to another dancer – and she claimed to know Alan, and his studio and the other girls in his troupe. She said that he’d taken the other girls overseas (the far east somewhere), and that he’d returned to South Africa with their passports in his possession!
As you can imagine, this freaked me out entirely!!! This industry had pitfalls and potholes I had no clue about – so I decided to stick with my office job, and gave up my dream of being a dancer.
But some dreams refuse to die….