A Life in the Day: Dancing is job, my passion, my hobby and my life

Cheryl Reid, 20, Dance Teacher and Gymnastics Instructor at Dance Expression, talks about how creativity is her world from teaching to being artistic

I must wake up – it’s 8 o’clock as usual and there’s so much I need to do.  I live with my parents and my 2 younger siblings – yes I’m the eldest – in a town called Malton in the North of Yorkshire. There’s a lot of rushing around on mornings as my Dad has work and my younger sister, Kirstie, has school so they’re both out the house not long after I wander downstairs. My dad, Dave, works at the North Yorkshire Highways but he used to work in the armed forces so our family lived in Germany at one point. Kirsty, only 15, has a busy year as she has her last year of school so she is working towards passing all her GCSE’s.

The first thing I do is grab a bowl of Coco Pops like I do every single morning and let the chocolate blend into the milk. Then I sit with my mum and brother as they sip their hot drinks. My brother Jason, who is 16, is always in the house at this hour as he has just started part time college and he’s only there three days a week.  On the other hand, my mum, Andrea, works shifts at Hambleton Court, a care home in Norton, so she is usually in when I am.

There’s a knock at the door, its 9am and my granddad is here as he always is. Ever since grandma passed away granddad comes round every day for a short while – it’s nice company for him since he has to live in an empty house now. He eventually sits down once he has a cup of tea and shows his disapproval of the programme by tutting as Jeremy Kyle starts.

Once granddad has left, I get my art station set out. Painting has always been a massive hobby because of my Nana – she took me to art class every Wednesday. And even though I did not do it for GCSE’s, I have always had the creative mind of an artist.

I put it on an old, scruffy table cloth, that’s covered in paint, on the living room floor and paint avidly for a few hours. I paint with water colours for this painting; with blues and greens mainly for the background. But then I paint with black and white colours – little rounded ears form and big black eyes. I create a canvas covered in pandas. It is for my boyfriend’s little sister. She has been begging for a panda painting after seeing my previous work for weeks now. My inspiration has always come from other people and what they want; I paint what they tell me too. But I don’t just paint, I also hand decorate ballet shoes.

I decorate ballet pointed shoes dancers wear with fabric pens and glitter through a pattern I have created on a piece of paper. Now I have my own Facebook group which I post up my arts and crafts work so I can sell it. I sell the pointed shoes so it helps me on the side for all my hard work and the equipment I have used.

Lately I have a new favourite obsession. I began doing Paper Art the other week and so far I have made a few. You have to be careful as its carving patterns into one piece of paper so sometimes it’s difficult when you have a lot of detail to cut out with such a sharp blade.

Since I start work at half 4, I have a late lunch which means it’s my main meal of the day. So I gulp down some chicken salad but then I have to grab a big slice of chocolate cake. I mean I try and be healthy but when you’re a dance teacher, you don’t need the gym because you exercise every day!

 I’ve always been a dancer, always. From as far back as my childhood I was dancing at Dance Expression, where I now work. At just 14 years old I was an assistant in baby ballet class and when I reached 16 I became involved in choreography at dance shows at Norton College. The teachers at dance school always knew I wanted to be like them one day. So as soon as I turned 18, they were more than happy to train me up to become one of them. Now it just feels like I do a hobby I’m passionate about, it doesn’t even feel like I’m working most of the time.

Before work I need to change into my dance gear. It’s the only clothes I own that are designer. Pineapple studios are branded on my sports bra and top while I wear my black leggings and dance shoes.

To me, it’s a fantastic job. Half of my best friends are three-year-olds and each day of the week is completely different. One day I could be teaching four-year-olds street dance then another day I would be teaching baby, senior and adult gymnastics. I even teach drama and cheerleading, which can be a great exercise for the children. I have embraced drama ever since I was 10 years old so teaching the younger generation reminds me of my younger days.

But my favourite class is contemporary dance. It’s so emotional and flexible that you can express anything you want through your physical movement. I describe contemporary as anything that doesn’t have a routine to it so me and the pupils make it up to the music. At the moment the young students are learning a contemporary routine to Imagine Dragons and I have incorporated some British Sign Language into the routine.

I may finish work around 8 but then I have to make sure all the children have left, it’s my responsibility to look after them until their parents get there. I don’t mind because they are my students and this is my job. When the little dancer’s parents arrive, I always stand chatting to someone either about their daughter’s progress or how well their son’s learnt a routine. The parents could stand talking for hours about how proud they are if they could – bless them. But I don’t have all night, sadly enough.

I have to rush home for a shower and by the time I’m refreshed, it’s such an effort to really do much of anything. On a Wednesday night it’s a ritual to see my best friends but tonight it’s time to turn the TV on and catch up with Corrie (Coronation Street), snuggling down in my red fluffy onesie that my grandma bought me, with a cup of hot chocolate.

 I’m never in bed by 11 because it takes half an hour to put on my entire eczema creams and take my inhalers for my asthma. Once I’m comfy in bed, I lay staring at my phone looking at what’s been going on with everyone’s lives on the popular social media – Facebook. It eventually makes me tired enough to fall to sleep.

Ends (1,172 words)

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