John Leader has just joined us at Gymbox as a new Ragga Dancehall instructor. "Dancing makes me feel completely free, there's something about getting completely lost in movement that I just can't describe. It's a release!"
Hi John! What has been the highlight of your week so far?
Without a doubt the fact that mince pies are now being sold in stores! I have a serious addiction!
You've just joined us to teach Ragga Dancehall, how's that going?
It's amazing! I'm teaching at both Old Street and Farringdon, and the energy they bring makes it a joy to teach each week!
What's your favourite aspect of teaching at Gymbox?
I've trained at Gymbox for a while now in between being on tour and have always loved the energy and feel of the clubs. It's great now that I can be a part of that on the studio side now also.
How do our members differ from other places you have taught at?
It has to be the energy and commitment. People come to sweat and work hard at Gymbox – when I finish class I can safely say there are no dry patches on my vest, or on theirs!
When did you first get into dancing and how did it happen?
At the late age of 16. I finished my GCSEs and was pretty lost as to what I wanted to do in life. I remember seeing a dance class happening in my school and thought how cool it looked, but was to scared to try it! I plucked up some courage and went to class. I didn't get the routine at all at first, and I felt like I had two left feet, but I told myself I would stick at it... By my third class I was picking up the routines and it all started clicking. I'm really happy I stuck it out.
Does dancing make you happy?
I don't think you can ever really answer this question without sounding insanely cheesy! But here goes... Dancing makes me feel completely free, there's something about getting completely lost in movement that I just can't describe. It's a release!
Some people feel intimidated by dance classes, how can they get over it?
I think everyone does at first, so I'd firstly say that's a completely normal way to feel! But face that fear and try it. I'm a strong believer that in my classes I'm not looking for, or expecting everyone, to get every step of the choreography. I get so much more joy from seeing people completely let go and just dance! "Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion."
You're originally from Birmingham. What enticed you to London?
I am yes! Well, when I started dancing at 16 I also started acting. After going to college I auditioned to drama school and got into East 15, so it was time to move away from home. I do miss my family and friends though.
You also act, having performed in commercials and at the theatre. Which do you prefer?
I really enjoy both acting for camera and theatre work, but think I really enjoy how live the theatre is, it's a joy when things go wrong and you have to find a way out of it!
What has been the most enjoyable acting experience you've had to date?
I was a part of the War Horse UK and South Africa tour and whilst in South Africa for 12 weeks we had a performance that was to a full theatre of 2000 children from townships across South Africa who had never seen a piece of theatre like this. The energy that they gave us on stage was indescribable. It was amazing to meet them, and I will never experience anything like it ever again. I get goosebumps every time I think about it!
And what does 2016 hold for John Leader?
I remember reading this quote as a teenager and have always lived by it: "Follow your passion and success will follow you". So who knows but I'm excited to find out!