Hi! My name is Tracey and I’m a dance instructor at CJ@Dance Studio.
Here is a little background about me:
When I was a toddler, I drove my mother crazy because I was always dancing around the house. She finally enrolled me in Ballet with RAD (Royal Academy of Dance). That was it! I was convinced that I wanted to become a ballerina – until I discovered Modern Dancing a few years later. That was it! I was going to become a professional Modern Dancer – until I discovered Latin, Ballroom, Hip Hop...you get the picture.
I dabbled in a variety of dance styles in the years that followed, but the pressures of having a “real job” led to the shelving of my dance career.
I excelled at my corporate job, but I was never happy. In 2008 I quit my job and applied for a position as a Latin and Ballroom instructor at a social studio in Centurion.
I remember laughing when I completed my first day of training because I walked out of there knowing that this was DEFINITELY it! It still is.
I worked my way up the studio ladder until my job description and titles included:
What a ride! I loved it.
- - Advanced lady instructor
- - Advanced group class instructor
- - New and advanced instructor trainer
- - Choreographer
- - Show director
- - Competition and Exam Judge
- - Sales manager
- - Staff manager
I choreographed and directed winning shows at the African Calabash (old UNISA) Little Theatre.
I trained amazing students who competed very successfully in our social competitions. I helped wedding couples to achieve their (sometimes interesting) vision for their opening dance.
The look of amazement and pride in a student’s eyes when they finally manage to execute something is the best reward – every time!
It is at that studio that I met my dance partner (and now business partner), Hansie Koekemoer.
Competitive dancing (for me) was always in the back of my mind because I am by nature a very competitive person, but until Hansie and I partnered I hadn’t believed it to be a possibility for me anymore. I wish I could say we “just clicked”. We didn’t – it took years of blood, sweat and tears for us to build what we have now – a rock solid, unshakeable partnership, friendship and trust.
We built our dancing up to the point where we were consistent champions in every competition we danced, but we always wanted more. We were (and still are) suckers for gathering as much dance knowledge as possible! We also had a very different opinion of our students compared to most other instructors that we knew at that stage.Students aren’t students; they’re family to us.
Hansie and I decided to part ways with the studio we were working at to start our own studio, CJ@Dance, in 2017. This meant starting from scratch. New syllabus. New technique. New everything.
We now study and teach the SADTA Latin and Ballroom syllabus. Our competitive students compete (and place) in international competitions, but we still love our sokkie students and our wedding couples!
Hansie and I also still compete. After all, we can’t expect our students to do something that we aren’t willing to do ourselves!
We welcome anyone to experience the freedom and frustrations of dance with us. It really is a “you have to try it at least once” kind of deal. Always remember two things:
- 1. If you could already dance, we wouldn’t have a career.
- 2. It’s never too late to start doing something you love, just as long as you’re willing to be a beginner.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me a little better. I hope I have the privilege of getting to know you too!