I’ve known Linet for over a decade. We worked at several companies together and have been friends in and out of the workplace for all that time.
What drew me to her? Her sparkling, bubbly personality and that smile that’s always on her face. She’s a genuine, down-to-earth, successful lady at work, who chasséd her way into her first dance class in her late 20s.
Linet grew up in a small town called Heidelberg, just south of Joburg, South Africa, the youngest of two girls. She later moved to Pretoria to study and loved it so much that she never left. She met her other love, her husband, at work, and now they have a gorgeous three-year old son with a head full of curls.
Linet works in e-learning by day, but she totally believes in lifelong learning, too. How do I know this?
Well, she describes herself as ‘one of those kids who just had to do everything: revue (a combination of singing with choreographed dance, often with a theme), choir, piano lessons, cadettes – as long as it wasn’t anything sporty!’
And I can totally believe that Linet had to try everything because she’s always up to something, like joining a dance studio and trying out everything there…
I’m excited to hear more about how you chose your style of dancing and how it’s evolved
After singing in a choir for a few years, I decided that I also wanted to start dancing, which is something I’d always wanted to do. Having no dance background at all, I thought the easiest dance form is probably Hip Hop, since you don’t really need much technique.
I joined an amazing studio but after dancing Hip Hop for about two years, everyone in my class left the studio. Not being feasible to have a class for one dancer, the studio suggested I try Modern.
I was a bit unsure since this is classical Modern that involves a lot of technique and barre work. But I decided to give it a go and at the same time started Body Conditioning classes – this is similar to pilates, but the focus is on core strength, technique and flexibility for dancers.
Even though I enjoyed Hip Hop, I found my perfect dance style in Modern. I wouldn’t say I’m a great dancer, but that’s not what it’s about, right?
My sister, sharing my love for dancing, also joined but stopped temporarily because her two toddlers are keeping her too busy.
I know you’ve taken it a step further than just attending weekly dance classes. Tell us a bit about that
The studio asked me to join their Dance Ministry. This involves various dance styles such as Ballet, Hip Hop, Modern and Spanish. We focus on evangelism and typically perform at places like drug rehabilitation centers. I’ve been part of this group for the past four years.
The studio also produces a show once a year in which all the students participate, from the smallest ballet girls to the senior dancers. This is great fun and a very professional production at a proper theater, with beautiful costumes and professional hair and make-up.
How do the dance levels work?
The studio offers a variety of dance styles, each with their specific curricula and levels. My dance friend of many years and I had to stop at Intermediate Foundation level, since this is the highest you can go. It took around 6 years for us to advance to this level.
Now that there’s no more Modern left for us to do, we’ve started with ballet classes. We danced our first Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) exam last year, and even though we started on the junior levels, I enjoy it tremendously!
Who knows, maybe I can dance on pointes within a year or so! (Pointes are hard-tipped ballet shoes that support a ballet dancer’s weight as they stand on their toes.)
Do you have any interesting facts about dancing for us?
There are a few weirdly interesting things about dancing in general. Your dance stance, for instance, is completely unnatural since your weight needs to be on your toes. So, you have to lean forward slightly all the time and maintain that posture while dancing.
Then there are many other things to keep in mind like shoulders down, legs straight, toes flat on the ground, chin up – all the while smiling and making dancing look easy!
Oh, and always remember to wet the soles of your ballet shoes otherwise you will slip and fall, like I did the other day when I arrived late for class and forgot to dip my toes in the water bucket.
What challenges have you faced dancing in your 30s?
When we decided to start a family, I didn’t know how the pregnancy and having a baby in the house would affect my dancing.
I was fortunate enough to have a great pregnancy and continued dancing until I was six months pregnant. I returned to dancing about two months after giving birth. I’m fortunate to have a great husband who loves spending quality time with our son while mommy is dancing!
My dancing and especially the body conditioning not only benefited me during my pregnancy and birth, but also helped me to get back into dancing quickly. I was even doing some pregnancy aerobics the night before I went into labor (overdue and huge at that point).
Do you have any tips for readers who would like to start dancing?
Just go for it. I was 29 when I started and it’s 10 years later, and I’m enjoying it more than ever! It’s also not true that there’s an age limit.
There are so many different dance forms to choose from. When you get too old to do rolls on the floor (Modern), you can surely start with Ballroom or Spanish, for example.
What little drop of lifelong learning advice do you have for us today?
Do something for yourself that makes you happy, whether this is a hobby, a regular spa treatment or going out with your friends.
No matter how much you love your family, it’s important that you also invest time and effort in yourself. This will make you a balanced and happy individual/friend/wife/mommy.
And please, don’t feel guilty about allowing yourself some me-time.
Linet, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful story with us. You always surprise me!
You are an inspiration to me and I’m sure to all who meet you. You give us inspiration to try new things, to explore, to stay young at heart.
You also remind us how important it is to take care of ourselves: our bodies, our health, our interests, our families, and our faith. These are the vibrant strands that weave wonderfully through our life and make the journey an absolute adventure. You are a total adventurer.
Hold onto that wonderful spirit as you dance your way through life. Take others onto that dance floor with you. Dance till the sun rises.
Because why would you walk when you can dance?
Put on that tiara and shine!