How Vic created an exercise habit and discovered her true passion
In her early 40s, Vic was pretty happy with life. She had a wonderful family and a voice over business that she loved and ran with her husband. But there was one thing she wasn’t so happy about, and that was her body. She felt as if it was falling apart. She was working so hard to make her business work and be a great mum, that she had neglected her physical fitness. And while she loved her family and her job, she felt that something was missing, namely, having a passion that fulfilled her creative bent.
Vic had tried all sorts of things to get in shape, from boxing to the gym. But nothing stuck. She was beginning to believe she’d never find a way to exercise that worked. Then a friend suggested she try dancing. Vic had danced when she was younger, but at age 21 she’d returned to ballet class only to be turned away by the teacher for being ‘too big’.
Luckily for Vic, she came across Move Through Life. She was worried about getting back into the ballet gear, and thought that everyone else in the class would be fabulous and she’d interrupt their class by ‘plodding in’. But it only took one class for her to realise it didn’t matter what she wore (trackie dacks were fine) and that she’d be welcomed warmly into the community of other adult dancers.
So Vic had found a way to exercise that she can stick too. More than that though, she discovered that it was something she felt passionate about and she has absolutely bloomed. It helped her lose weight, yes, but it also unlocked her creativity because it had an element of contemplation and mindfulness about it. And that lead her to realising her real passion in life, which is writing. So now she has two things that she’s passionate about, and she feels so much stronger and healthier. And she’s also realised that playing it safe for fear of making a fool of herself is no longer a problem. She knows the reward is worth so much more than the fear.
Does Vic's story sound anything like yours?
Keep reading for her full story to learn more about here, and to discover if Move Through Life could help you too.
Like so many women, Vic Morgan was so busy working and being a mum that she had neglected her physical health. She and her husband, Adam, had quit their full time jobs to run their own business, a voice over production business called Voice Overs On The Net (VOOTN). They run the business from home, and they do e-learning programs, television and radio for corporate clients like Repco, Lipton Teas and World Vision.
Making the leap from full time work to their own business was an especially big decision for them because they had young children, so they needed to make the business work.
“We both worked so hard that we lost track of our physical health. I kept trying and grabbing at things like the gym, boxing, stuff like that. But I could never really stick to it because it didn’t make me feel good afterwards. It made me feel sore and uncoordinated.” Vic revealed. “Then one of my actors said to me ‘you should dance’. I thought that was ridiculous. But she said “once a dancer, always a dancer”.
Ballerina body not required
Vic could have been dancing all through her 20s and 30s if it had not been for the preoccupation with body size that pervades the ballet world.
“I went back to dance once in my 20s after four years away from dance. The ballet teacher told me I was too fat, and needed to lose weight, and wouldn’t be able to come back to another class until I’d done that.”
Vic says people are surprised when she tells them she does adult ballet.
“They look at my physique and are surprised, because I’m not the body shape of a dancer. And also the fact that adults can continue with ballet surprises them. Move Through Life is great because the teachers’ knowledge with older bodies makes us older girls feel more confident. If the local ballet school said ‘we’re now offering ballet classes for 35 plus’ I wouldn’t feel confident because they’ve spent all their career working with people who have tiny little bodies. I worried a lot initially about my knees and ankles. But you work through class with awareness that our ankles and knees need to do things differently. Other ballet schools don’t know this.”
Luckily, at Move Through Life, we encourage people of all shapes, sizes and ages to dance, because dance shouldn’t be the domain of people of just one body type!
One passion lead to another
As well as concerns about her physical health, Vic wanted to have something in her life that she felt passionate about, besides work and the kids. She not only discovered a passion for ballet, but that led to her finding something else as well.
“Adam has been able to continue with his passions of acting and football and now I have ballet. I can do it at home sometimes and it’s freed up my brain a little bit too, because it’s quite a contemplative process being in a ballet class. Being in the moment. Mindfulness. You can’t think of anything else except for what you are doing. Doesn’t matter what is going on in your life, you have to concentrate on what you are doing. It relaxes your brain somehow so it’s wonderful. Through that I’ve discovered my true passion which is screen writing.”
It seems the creative bent runs deep in Vic, and it has been a big part of her relationship with her husband as well.
“I’ve always felt deep inside that I was an actor. Turns out I’m not. But I tried, and in that process I met Adam. He was the voice of Farmers Union Iced Coffee at the time. I fell hook line and sinker as soon as he opened his mouth. I’ve always had a fascination with sounds – the beach, music, people’s voices. Show me any ad on TV and I can tell you who the voice actor is and what shows they’re in.”
“Adam and I met at an amateur play, and he was a professional actor. My background is corporate marketing and finance. So we met, I fell in love with him, he eventually realised that he should fall in love with me too” she said in her usual self-effacing manner.
Vic and Adam are now married, and between them they have three children, Alex, Elsa, and Laura in order of age. Then Vic corrected herself.
“We’ve got four children but James passed away at 25 in 2007. His birthday is next week. It’s important because we do have four children. He would think it was hilarious that I dance” she noted tearfully.
Vic is one of those women that feels things deeply, and has so much love for those around her. It’s evident in how she spoke about James, and how much support she offers to Move Through Life. And especially in the light that shines in her eyes when she dances.
Blooming into her true self
Now in her mid-forties, Vic seems to be finally blooming and creating a life that is in tune with her true self. Building the voice over business, starting ballet, and discovering her passion for writing are all part of that, and all connected.
“I’ve always done writing in the business. I write scripts for clients, and I’m a copy writer by trade. The more I danced over the last two years, the more creative I felt my writing was. And then the SA Film Corporation sent out an email asking for non-screenwriters to pitch a project to a production company, and I got that email. I had a funny story that I thought might work and it got picked up and optioned by a production company in Melbourne, which blew me away. And so now that is what I do. But that industry takes a long time to get things happening, so there is nothing that I can tell you on TV to have a look at because it’s not there yet.”
Vic has a knack for noticing and remembering funny stories, and she had me in stitches during our interview.
“The first pitch I did that was optioned by Princess Pictures in Melbourne was based on a true story about a friend of mine. He and best fiend at high school tried to sell parsley disguised as marijuana to a year 12 prefect who was acting like a bit of an idiot. The prefect starting bragging about it and it was overheard by a teacher. Back in the 80s there was no sniff and detect situation going on, so the police had to test it. The boys were suspended for two weeks and their poor parents worried they had drug dealers on their hands. But it turned out to be parsley. So I wrote a TV series about it which will be set in Melrose in SA about a couple of kids in high school. That starts off the story.”
Vic has pitched to Foxtel and SBS and Netflix and ABC, as well as pitching a killer crocodile feature film to a film distributor.
“Apparently killer animal movies are selling really well on DVD, especially ones made in Australia.” Vic said, laughing.
She’s also written another short film, also influenced by a true story about when Vic was on a school camp and was bitten by a ‘suspected’ snake. She told me the full story, which has a hilarious punchline, but obviously we don’t want to give you a spoiler, so you’ll just have to keep track of Vic’s work to find it out.
“I wrote it and asked a producer in Adelaide what she thought of the script, and she said ‘good, let’s make it’. And I said ‘really? Are you sure?’. So we filmed it last week into the Barossa at Gomersal Wines. We filmed in the vineyards with the Birdwood bushfire at our backs in 38 degrees, and I had the rake, thumping the ground to make sure the snakes weren’t there while the actors rolled around in the vines. And hopefully something will come of it. We’re in the post production phase at the moment.
Never too old, never too late to live the dream
Some people think only young people pursue their dreams, but Vic has discovered this isn’t the case and is just hitting her stride now she’s in her mid-forties, which I hope will be an inspiration to others.
“It’s funny doing something like this at this age. Everybody I’m working with is already so experienced. So expectations of me are higher I guess, which is good for me because I have to work harder.”
“I’ve never liked routine, and I like change” Vic revealed when asked what it is that has enabled her to take the risks she has in pursuit of her dreams. “I was born in Africa. I’ve lived in New Zealand, Melbourne, Sydney, Newcastle, and Malaysia. There is something inside that makes me want to keep trying. I look at other people producing TV series and films and I think, if they can do it so can I? So I’ll give it a whirl. And I don’t care about making a fool of myself.”
Being afraid and doing it anyway
It’s this willingness to maybe look silly in front of others that has enabled Vic to return to ballet at 45 years of age, to quit the safety of her full-time job to run her own business, and to pursue her dreams of writing, directing and producing.
“I think part of it is that you have to believe that everybody is more interested in themselves than they are in you. That’s what I tell my kids too. I’ve been telling them that since they stopped wanting to kiss me good bye at school in year nine. Your friends are so much more interested in themselves and they won’t realise your mum is kissing you at the school gate. If you ask someone ‘how embarrassing was Vic in dance class yesterday?’ they wouldn’t’ remember. So, I feel sad for people who feel self-conscious. Because it seems like a waste of their energy. They can be putting it into themselves instead of into their fears.”
“People who are self-conscious miss out on that feeling of learning. I’m not saying I’m never self-conscious. The first time I did my pitch I was petrified, but I consciously told myself I have nothing to lose, and so I went for it And it blew me out of the water that they were interested. I started to build my confidence from there. I thought ‘maybe I can do it’. I didn’t start off like that but I learnt to be more confident” Vic was quick to add. “I look at my kids and their self-consciousness can preclude them from enjoying themselves, from living in the moment, and being present.”
Vic admitted that before she started classes, she did have fears.
“My biggest fear was that I couldn’t do it. That people in the class would be frustrated by my inability and that interruption on their class. Because I just imagined a room full on ballerinas and me plodding in. Instead I found fun, support, laughter, and no comparisons with each other.”
“I’d danced until I was 17. In Africa there was nothing else to do. Mum put me in dance when I was two or three. But when I started at Move Through Life, I hadn’t been in a dance class for 25 years. I felt like I still had some body memory of it. When I rang you and was really nervous, and you said my body would remember, that gelled with me and I thought ‘right, it doesn’t matter if I feel silly’. When you said just wear tracksuit pants, socks and a t-shirt I was even more relieved because I was nervous about getting into pinks because I was so big.”
“My motivation was to lose weight but I felt more confident doing it with ballet. And the fact that you use pop music makes a big difference. You used to do grand battement with Another One Bites the Dust. I loved it. I love it because it makes you feel like you can dance. We’ve danced to those songs on nightclub dance floors. It brings back the memory of dancing I guess.”
Giving you best to your body, mind and heart
Vic’s body shape has transformed, and she’s become much fitter and stronger. She notices this in class as well as in her daily life.
“I feel like my body is being held together now, whereas before it was all coming out. Just getting out of bed is so much easier. My core muscles are starting to develop. It makes such a difference. I breathe better too, and I’m conscious of my breath now. My body has changed shape. My knees are much better. For my first few months of dance I had to wear those tight knee things and I couldn’t do a relevé. Now I don’t have any problems at all.”
“And It’s been great for my heart fitness” Vic said about a heart condition she is managing called Atrial Fibrillation. “I haven’t taken any medication. My doctor said part of the problem is I need to manage it by weight loss, so dance is huge from that point of view. I need to manage my stress, and those two things are what dance is helping with. My doctor was really excited about the dance.”
Vic also talked about how dance makes her feel better emotionally.
“I used to feel like I didn’t really have anything special. If I went for a walk on the beach with the dog or whatever and it was great, but it’s not a passion. Not something that would make me feel like I’d achieved anything.”
The thing about dance that has really helped Vic to improve her health is that she does it because she enjoys it, not because she knows she needs to do more exercise.
“It’s been fantastic finding a way to exercise that I enjoy and can stick at. I really enjoy going to dance class. And it stops me in my tracks. To get to dance class and to do a full hour I have to stop doing all the crazy stuff I’m doing in my normal life and just come down and do it. So it’s mindfulness. Keeps me centred I think. Another thing I love about dance, it surprises us with body movements that are counter intuitive, which is so important as I get older. While I’m not a routine person your body does get used to it. My body wants to turn one way, and won’t go the other way. It’s really important for our brains. My brain is starting to loosen up a bit.”
“I brought my mum to Mature Dance on Friday morning at Glengowrie for the first time at the end of last year. My mum is a horse rider, used to surf, one of the only female surfers of her generation when she was young. She’s mid 70s now and absolutely loved it. She found it difficult to keep up with everybody, and the movement left and right and all of that, but she felt the sense of achievement once she understood a sequence of moves and was able to do it. She felt so excited. She’s now going to come back with me every week when she’s here. That is something mum and I can do together, talk about together, and laugh about together. Also, it’s improving her fitness and her mind as well. And keeping her young.”
A world without dance is no world at all
When asked what she thinks would have happened if she hadn’t started dance classes, Vic said “I don’t like to think about that. A world without dance is no world at all.”
As well as the physical, emotional, creative, and mental benefits of dancing, Vic mentioned one other really important part of it.
“Being part of the community is the most rewarding thing, as well as the physical changes in my body and the fact I can call myself a dancer. I love the support of turning up at dance class after a good day or a crappy day and everyone has a giggle and everyone is friendly. And the new people look at us like we’re completely bonkers and the next week they are joining in as well. It feels nice, like we are all moving toward our goals together. It’s a nice feeling. I feel proud to talk to my friends about it because I know that I believe in it, that they would benefit too. But if I was going to book club or something like that I wouldn’t be telling all my friends about the book or club or whatever. But because I’m so proud of what I’m doing I can talk about it quite freely because my friends are interested.”
Vic also loves that Move Through Life has an online community as well.
“I like the fact that we can have a bit of banter, or that you put up videos for us to do during the day as well, or at night if we are not at class. I love that. It does make me feel like I’m part of a group, and we can learn from each other and recognise each other at class.”
Like everyone else interviewed for Move Through Life stories of adult dancer, Vic encourages anyone thinking about dancing to give it a go.
“Do it. Get your best socks out. Don’t worry if you have holes in your trackie dacks. We’ll help you through the first class. It’s not hard. Even if you’ve never danced before.”
If you want to want to find a way to exercise that you love, and to unlock your creativity and passion ...
get in touch with us so we can help you find the right dance class for you and support you as you take your first class and beyond.
You can see what we have on offer on our timetable web page. You can book into a class from there by clicking the ‘Book’ button next to the class you want to attend.
If you’re not sure what class to choose, please get in touch via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Anne, our Client Relationship Officer on 0408 240 772.
We have classes in 5 locations in Clarence Park, Crafers, Glengowrie, Henley Beach, and Seacliff, and offer classes in ballet, contemporary, jazz, mature dance, and tap.
Move Through Life Dance Studio offers dance classes to adults of all ages in ballet, contemporary, jazz, tap, and mature dance. We pride ourselves on offering you a place to indulge your love of dance, whether you’re a complete beginner, had a long break from dance, or danced all your life. Our classes have a broad mix of ages, and our philosophy is that you are never too old to dance, it is never too late to start, and you can dance forever!
If you have any questions, get in touch with Anne on 0408 240 772 or email email@example.com
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