Clare Walters is a dancer, instructor, Operations Manager and shower singer! "I used to have the upper body strength of a kitten, now I love doing pull-ups and throwing heavy kettlebells around". We meet her.
Hi Clare! What has been the most interesting thing that's happened to you this week?
Wednesday night happy hour for one of the other Studio Manager's birthday. #workhardplayharder
You teach Pound, Balates to Circus Fit and Spin, and are also Studio & Operations Manager at Gymbox Farringdon – how do you juggle the two roles?
Teaching actually keeps me sane. It's a welcome break from emails! I've been an active person all my life, so I always feel like I'm gaining some kind of normalcy when I exercise. However, I try to limit how many classes I take on over the week, so I can split my time between Gymbox Farringdon and planning my classes.
Out of all the classes you teach, do you have a favourite?
I love all my classes, and I especially love covering classes I don't teach permanently as it gives me a chance to mix things up a bit. But I have a soft spot for my Balates class at Farringdon, I have a group of members who come religiously every week, and it's been great to see how they've progressed.
What do you think sets you apart from other instructors?
I think coming from a dance background. There are certain elements of fitness that have come naturally to me – like rhythm and flexibility –but in the same way I've really struggled with other aspects, like upper body strength. I used to have the upper body strength of a kitten, but now I love doing pull-ups and throwing heavy kettlebells around. So I know what it's like to start from the beginning and to have to really push yourself.
You are a professional dancer, which of the Gymbox dance classes do you recommend/enjoy the most?
Commercial Dance. While I have trained in most styles of dance, I'm really bad at hip hop and commercial (I'm going to blame years of ballet training) so it's always fun to come out of my comfort zone and just laugh at myself. I think it's really important to learn not to take yourself too seriously.
If people are afraid to take a dance class as they think they'd be terrible at it, what would you say to encourage them?
Don't judge yourself! Just enjoy moving in time to the music and wiggling your hips.
What goes through your mind when you're dancing?
5,6,7,8. Ha-ha, in all seriousness, it depends on the choreography. Contemporary Dance can be really emotive which requires you as a dancer to give something more of yourself than just performing the steps – without sounding too deep, you have to give everything you've got, sometimes you don't even remember the performance, it can get a bit surreal.
If you had to stop dancing for any reason, how would that affect you, emotionally and physically?
That's a tough one. Dancing is such a huge part of who I am that I think it would take a serious injury for me to stop dancing altogether. Fingers crossed that never happens, but if it did, I think I'd find other ways to keep moving and be creative.
You have a Masters in contemporary dance, how has this developed your skills as an instructor and working in club management?
It's definitely helped with time management as I had to juggle academic work (including writing a 20,000 word thesis) along with being in a full time professional dance company and touring.
You set up your own company, Smudged Theatre – tell us about that
It kind of happened accidentally in the beginning. A friend offered me a performance slot in a big theatre festival in London, and I just couldn't turn down the opportunity. So Smudged Theatre was born, and we choreographed and performed our first hour long show in November. As a choreographer I'm really interested in creating pieces that have a strong narrative, and are really visual in terms of lighting and set. I take a lot of influence from Film Noir and apply it to dance. I also like blending different styles of performance like physical theatre, contemporary dance and circus.
On a night out, where would you like to go to dance and what music do you like?
I have such a varied taste in music! If you were to look through my Spotify history you'd be surprised - there's everything from The Weekend to Muse to Justin Timberlake to Mariah Carey. Nights out can end up in both Shoreditch and Heaven.
What's the tune that would make you 'dance like no one's watching'?
Pony by Ginuwine.
And tell us something that no one knows about you…
I'm a massive shower singer - though I guess maybe my flat mates know that…
Don't be shy, follow Clare on Twitter