How I choreographed my way into a new career

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“Aren’t you the girl from the news?” If I had a penny for how many times I’ve heard that, let’s just say, I’d be writing this on a beach, somewhere in the south of France!  It’s been six years since I left the entertainment gig at what was then CHNews. People still remember me, others can’t figure out where it is they know me from. When the dots are finally connected, the follow up is always “why did you leave?”. To be honest, there is no real reason, no big revelation or entertaining story – I was just tired. I wanted a change.

You know how every once in a while you wake up and think of calling in sick? That was me, every Monday. That was when I knew it was time for a change. While I was contemplating my next career move, I ended up going to a Zumba class with a friend and it was there that I found my next career. I fell in love with music, the different dance styles and, most importantly, the way dancing made me feel. I had always loved to dance and was pretty good at it. So much so, I had picked up the odd job choreographing routines for cheerleaders, theatres productions and talent shows.  But that was ages ago. Turns out there is no age limit on being a Zumba instructor. All I needed to do was take a training course, and within three weeks, I landed my first job teaching Zumba. I never realized how much fun it would be to get up and dance every day, all day.

I also didn’t realize the impact these classes could have on people. Just like the news, I am entertaining, educating and informing people. In turn, they are reaping the physiological and emotional benefits of what I’m sowing. I have helped a bridal brigade of four young ladies lose a combined 310 pounds in less than a year. Two women, each going through their own very bitter divorce, started a business together after having met in one of my classes.  I have mentored three women who are now my colleagues, teaching alongside me at GoodLife Fitness. I have affected change in people and my surroundings, that is tangible and measurable and it feels incredible.

My Zumba classes blossomed into other opportunities that include teaching hip hop to kids, which ultimately led me here — to the pages of Illuminessence. The editor-in-chief is the mother of one of my hip hop students. It’s funny because I always had a feeling that my media career wasn’t over, I just didn’t know how or when I would manage to slip back in, quickly and quietly, just as I had left. I think this time around, I’m ready to make some real noise! It’s going to be fun reconnecting with many of the inspirational women (and men) that I haven’t spoken to in a few years. I can’t wait to, once again, feel the rhythm of the city, and along with the Illuminessence team, discover its hidden gems, new treasures and future leaders. It’s safe to say, the future looks bright.'

Wendy currently works as a freelance writer/videographer and fitness instructor.

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