Charlotte is a dancer and personal trainer living in London. She has been dancing professionally for 7 years, working in musical theatre, corporate entertainment and choreography. As well as pursuing her professional dance career, She teaches barre classes at Barrecore and offers Personal Training across Central and West London.
Tell us about what you’re working on at the moment career wise.
I am just about to embark on a trip to Wales for a show called “My Land’s Shore” which has been in the making for over 16 years. I will be choreographing the show and assistant directing. I have also just started teaching some brand new classes at an awesome studio in Notting Hill called “Equilibrium”. The classes are based around the TRX, a form of suspension training.
How do you balance practicing for shows with personal training, teaching classes and finding time for yourself as well?
Balancing the two careers has been a challenging one over the years. It takes a lot of planning and some serious juggling, but I am lucky to work with very supportive people. I use a book called ‘The Happiness Planner’ to keep a track on tasks but also to make sure I am still making time to do the things I love. It keeps me accountable and it is something I can fill out every evening to self asses. Part of being a dancer is also keeping yourself fit and looking good, so I am lucky that my Personal Training career lends itself to that too. I spend time training myself and mastering my strength and flexibility on a daily basis.
Tell us about your journey to becoming a professional dancer.
I actually began dancing very late for a dancer, at just 15/16 years old. I attended a few lunch-time clubs at school and found myself loving the beauty of movement and the freedom that came with it. I signed up for a National Diploma in Dance back in the Midlands where I am from, but as I wasn’t already trained, it wasn’t the right choice for me. I decided to enrol at a dance school and take as many lessons as I could. I was in class with all of the young children who had been dancing longer than me (even though I was at least 10 years older) but I had this strange determination to get ahead and to not stop. Eventually, I was accepted in London Studio Centre, my dream choice of Stage School. I packed my bags and in 2009, moved down to London. It was easily the best choice I have ever made in my life.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
When I was in Germany doing Phantom of the Opera 2, I remember being lowered from the ceiling on a huge platform in an extravagant circus outfit and seeing all of the audience members faces as we sang our opening number directly to them. It was incredible! As for a fitness highlight, it was lovely to be featured on “Women’s Health’s” list of most inspiring PT’s and to be given the opportunity to continue to work with Sweaty Betty as an ambassador.
What advice do you have for people who want to give dancing a go?
I would advise any young dancers to really take the time to understand and look after your body, ask questions, read books, be inquisitive about your body. When you know your body from the inside out, you are more likely to be in tune and able to withstand any physical and mental challenges auditions/ shows can put you under. I think being a PT and knowing what I know now, I am stronger more flexible than I have ever been, despite almost hitting the 30’s!
Tell us about your diet, does it vary from season to season depending on when you’re training for a show?
Generally I eat similar for when I am training for shows but the quantity of food when training will probably be a little more. Usually in training/ rehearsals, I would be required to move a lot more and need a lot more energy than a normal day, so I try to choose foods that have a good slow release of energy and foods that are high in satiety. Also, you tend to find that rehearsals run over or plans always change, so I always keep a bag of almonds, a banana and water with me, just in case!
How do you deal with muscle soreness when you’re training for so many hours per week?
At the beginning of my Personal Training career I did a fantastic course in Anatomy Trains and Fascial release which changed my whole approach on recovery and soreness! When I was dancing for 8-10 hours a day at college, I thought only stretching, hot baths and prayers would save me! I then discovered fascia and how it influences movement patterns and muscular tension and began working on some tailored rolling sequences which relieve my body of tension and help to get me moving freely. This involves using soft balls to release tension in the fascia by moving around the body, not only to the problem area, but around the fascial lines in our body which affect other (less obvious areas). I combine this with spraying some magnesium oil on any particularly sore areas. And when all else fails, I have THE best massage therapist called Roberto. He is a crazy Italian man who makes me want to cry when I am being treated, but the following days, I feel like a new woman!
What’s your favourite way to relax and recover on rest days?
I love walking around the beautiful parks of London and reading. There is something so lovely about being around nature and being away from the laptop.I have also recently found Yin Yoga to be super relaxing for me after a long day. I am usually cautious about adding too many additional physical hours onto my schedule, but Yin Yoga feels more like an energising recovery.
What are your goals for 2018?
There is quite a list! The main ones are to judge myself less, to travel more and to spend more time with my friends. I have also been working on my handstands recently, so perhaps a 30 second handstand? Maybe a little over estimated there. Let’s make it 15 seconds!