To become a professional pirate is not a direct route.
I loved to dance from an early age. I would bring my DEVO records (yes DEVO…and yes records) to my elementary school sock hops (a dance for anyone born after 1989). I would be the first one on the floor shaking my groove thang to Whip it with Kathy Yoon. Upon reflection… I remember being the only one dancing at times…Not everyone has the same musical tastes. I remember watching Solid Gold dancers and dreaming about being a professional dancer.
Fast forward to the mid 80s in highschool in Port Hardy (where the Vancouver Island highway ends…in the north!). I was a drama geek and spent most of my time in the drama room. Port Hardy Secondary School was too small to have a theatre. We would put on some great, standing room only, productions in our quaint room. Reel to reel tape players for sound. Google it if you don’t know.
I loved performing in plays and all the work that went into it. My small crew of friends and I would do everything – direct, set construction, sound, lights, stage manage, perform…everything. My best friend Terry and I would spend as much time possible working on productions or hanging out. It was a great time. For pocket money my step mother, Brenda, would hire me and my theatre friends to do costume character work the mall. This is was my first taste of children’s performance….as the Easter Bunny.
The only thing missing for me was dancing. I really desired to dance and there was no opportunity for me to explore my inner Solid Gold dancer in Port Hardy. That had to wait until my first year of theatre school at Malaspina University in Nanaimo. I took some studio classes with a body builder buddy of mine who was looking to improve his movement for contests. I was weight training quite seriously as well so we were quite the pair. I vividly remember doing across the floor exercises in our socks.
I would say that most of my early training came from Blues nightclub. This was a magical time in pop music IMHO. MC Hammer, Red Head Kingpin, Bobby Brown and the whole New Jack Swing genre was starting to explode. I would go to Blues and dance all night. I didn’t drink alcohol and would rip up the podium doing the Running Man, Roger Rabbit or other moves from music videos. I loved it. I would get sooo sweaty and smokey (not a favorite part) from dancing. I didn’t care what people that dressed up thought. I was there to dance. Come to think of it… I was oblivious to being so sweaty in a place that people are more image conscious…funny.
When the year was up at Malaspina I looked at other training institutions to that I could train as a dancer. I had made friend from Alberta who said that I could make big money working on an Oil Rig in Alberta so I headed out there to work. I was a physical person and could do the work but the negative energy of the job and getting tar in my hair was not what I dreamed about. This was an early lesson for me about how important a positive work environment was for me.