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People Who Have Influenced My Career

People Who Have Influenced My Career

In this weeks blog, Dan Tolley discusses who has influenced him in his career as a dancer and teacher. From the passion his Mum had to dance to a teacher at school who had energy and inspiration.

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As Kobe Bryant once said “The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they can be great in whatever they want to do.” I try to instil this sentiment in real life and when teaching, as inspiration can strike anyone at any moment. If you talk with my mum, she will tell you that I have chosen a life of dance due to her early love of Morris dancing. The more truthful reason is that I probably would not have furthered my dancing past the age of 14 had it not been for my high school dance teacher, Amanda (Mrs T). She saw something in me that even I didn’t and with one small act of entering me and two friends into a local dance showcase, my life was changed and I was given a direction.

The dance itself was short and created during lesson time based around a “Men in Black” theme, which was a super cool film at the time (we even got to use wooden poles as props, which made the dance feel almost like a martial art!). I can still remember the buzz I felt at the end of the piece, hearing the audience applaud and looking at my friends. I had found my calling and I was hooked. I wanted to get involved with every aspect of dancing, from performing to participating in residentials and leading extra-curricular clubs to hopefully inspire the next generation of dancers.

Had Amanda not entered us into the show, I may not have been inspired to choose Dance as a GCSE or even a lifestyle choice. One avenue I’m forever grateful to have explored was working with an abled/non-abled integrated dance company called IndepenDance based in my home town. Sandra and Hazel and the whole team behind the company had such passionate and uncompromising visions of what could be achieved that my years dancing with them filled me with inspiration that I’ll never forget.

To this day I’m grateful for everything that my dance teacher has done to get me to the point I’m at. It was clear how passionate she was about dancing and all through my career I’ve had a firm goal to try and imitate the passion and inspirational qualities that originally inspired me. Of course there were others who have helped influence me in huge ways on my way, to whom I’m again so very grateful, be it other teachers – Lucy (Miss A) with her bountiful energy and drive, Fred for being the perfect gentleman and having the best inspirational stories or my university lecturers for being so knowledgeable. Everyone has someone that inspired them in some way and all we can hope is that our actions and time inspires others in positive ways. And who knows, maybe this short piece of writing will inspire you to book a lesson with us today!

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