Hello, I am Krystal Spirit A.K.A Karen the Pontefract and Wakefield instructor.
Unlike many of the instructors I do not have a dance background… It’s not that I never wanted to dance, my mum took me to ballroom classes when I was about 5 years old, I was so shy and I remember feeling intimidated by all the other kids who were running around and having fun that I cried and she had to take me home. As a young teenager I started disco lessons which were “ok” but when my friends asked me to join a dance group I once again bottled it, I didn’t feel comfortable or as good as they were. My first year at high school saw me cast as a munchkin in the school production of The Wizards of Oz, when it came to show night I almost missed my cue to go on stage and hid behind a mushroom throughout the show …. You can see a picture emerging here???
Confidence has always been the main issue for me. My journey to becoming an instructor started almost 6 years ago, I needed to lose a few pounds I hate the gym (again because I feel intimidated), I have never really liked exercise, one of my school reports from my P. E teacher said “Karen hates games but likes the trampoline”. I had previously been to Rosemary Conley classes but these had fizzled out and a friend told me about Zumba, I couldn’t find anyone to go with me to classes and it took weeks and weeks before I plucked up the courage to go on my own. I hid at the back of the class but found I enjoyed the dance aspect of the classes. I made friends with a couple of ladies in class and, over a period of time became friends with our instructor the lovely Linda Muir who went on to become the first Burlesque Chair Dance instructor outside of the Doncaster area. She encouraged a few of us to give it a try and reluctantly I was dragged along. My first thoughts on arriving at class were “What the hell am I doing here?” but by the end of the first class I was hooked and within a few short months found myself performing in the Christmas show wearing a basque and fishnets in front of a crowd of about 200 people. It was the most nerve racking this I have ever done but by the time the curtain closed I was buzzing and wanted to go back on and do it all again.
I continued to attend the Pontefract class on a weekly basis and took part in several more shows and other events and performed solo in a competition in the over 40’s section. Last year Pontefract won the audience vote for best class of the night and I was nominated to compete against a lady from the previous weeks class winners.
In November 2014 sadly Linda had to stop teaching and it wasn’t long before the withdrawal symptoms started. I began traveling to Selby attending Pixie PomPom’s classes (Kath), she encouraged me to take the massive leap of becoming an instructor myself. My classes started just a week after qualifying, taking over the Pontefract class and starting a brand new class in Wakefield.
It’s quite easy to see how Burlesque Chair Dance has improved my confidence from a little girl who was so scared in front of a crowd to now teaching my own classes and I am loving every minute of it.
Since September I have seen ladies arriving at class looking like rabbits in the head lights (just as I had done) and so quickly emerging into confident and sexy dancers. I cannot believe that all this has happened in such a short space of time and I cannot wait for the Annual Shows in April to bring the Pontefract class back and introduce you all to the fabulous Wakefield ladies.
One of Linda’s ladies was so excited to hear that classes were resuming in Pontefract that she messaged me, her first question wasn’t “when will classes be starting?” it was “Can we do the Annual Show?”!!!! It’s like a drug, once it gets into your veins it’s hard to give it up, and that is the key thing. If you want to succeed with your fitness regime you have to find something you enjoy, if you hate the gym it’s only a matter of time before you start finding excuses not to go. Find something you love and you will continue to do it, just as I have done.
If you still need convincing this is what some of my ladies have to say about classes.
Claire – ‘I loved the first class, everyone was so friendly and really eased my nerves as I joined on my own. I have noticed I can touch my toes however I am becoming more confident in my body image’.
Joanne – ‘I was a little apprehensive when I came on Thursday for first time, but within the first few minutes I felt comfortable…. I would definitely come on my own when my friend can’t because of the friendly group of ladies xx
Lea – ‘I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Wasn’t sure what to expect but it was a safe, friendly group of women with a sense of humour’
Mandy – ‘I was inspired by another lady in the class but you can come on your own as everyone is so friendly and we all support one another….. We always have a good time and get fit at the same time. We don’t get bored as there is a new routine every four weeks, if you want to get fit, build confidence, learn to feel sexy and enjoy a few hours doing that then you need to come and join, you don’t have to be mad but it sure helps!’
Sharon – ‘I thought it was sexy when seen it on films which it is when you’re good at it! 1st thoughts not sure if I liked it, wasn’t keen on the Etta James song but all people friendly I have recommended to friends and I attend without friends but not sure about performing on stage’
Will have to work on you regarding the show Sharon !!! you are doing a great job picking up the routines and there’s always gonna be an odd routine that you won’t like for whatever reason but we have loads more choreography to play around with and as time goes on there will be many more that you will love…. Promise!!!
Angela – ‘I’ve tried the Gym – it’s so boring and hard when you’ve no self-motivation. I’ve tried Zumba – I felt like an idiot jiggling away to daft music and not being able to keep up. I’ve tried swimming – it’s way too cold, even in summer brrrrr. I’ve tried Muay Thai Boxing – great for aggression and stress but not when you get punched in the face and your nose explodes! Then I tried Burlesque Chair Dance – the absolute most fun you can have with a chair – I’m never going back to any of the others now! Who knew exercise could be so much fun! …within four months of starting classes I was down two dress sizes from a 24 to a 20! Our whole class was gutted when our original instructor Linda had to stop classes due to a neck injury. Salvation came in the form of a class member Kath doing her instructor training, but her new classes were in Selby which was just that bit too far away! Further salvation came when Karen decided to take the plunge as well and she has breathed new life into the Pontefract class a year on. In that year without classes I have unfortunately regained the weight I’d lost, but I’m back on track now and looking forward to all the new clothes I’m going to fit into and another show in April!’
Angela you have already started to see a difference and you will be back into those sexy clothes very soon… You are a determined strong woman and I know you can do it!
So the message is ladies – don’t be shy, come give us a try? you won’t regret it!
Krystal Spirit xxxx