Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gals We Admire: Timea Rae Wharton

Photo credit: Kamshuka Photography

Growing up, Timea Rae Wharton says "dance was always at the back of my mind as a profession, but I was an academic, and wasn’t convinced I could make a career of it." Find out how this MBA grad wound up pursuing her life's calling to teach movement, choreograph, and perform.

Name: Timea Rae Wharton
Profession: Movement Educator, Dance Artist, Fitness Entrepreneur (Turning Point Fitness)
Twitter handle: @TPFitTimea

Describe your typical work day, from start to finish
Because I will be physical for several hours each day, I always begin with a glass of hot water, vitamins and later a solid breakfast of whole grain cereal, nuts and fruit.  I then attend an early morning meditation group session. Each weekday, later in the morning, I provide an hour-long private training exercise session at a client’s home.

When I first arrive at Turning Point Fitness, I do about 30 minutes of intensive exercise for myself, including cardio and strength training. Then I take care of administrative work, return emails and calls, and program new dance and exercise programs. During that time at the computer, I eat a small early lunch.

Just after noon, I teach my first group class, a Pilates/Strength Training/Yoga blend for active people on their lunch breaks. Afterward, I provide two back-to-back private training sessions, which involve either a workout, teaching dance technique, or putting together a choreography for someone.

Between 3:00 and 4:30PM, three times per week, I am now volunteering as a math tutor. On the other two days, I use that time to rehearse my choreography for an up-coming performance. Then I eat a small second/late lunch.

Beginning at 5:30PM, I teach the two evening classes, one involving a fusion of Dance, Yoga and Pilates, and the other a longer Pilates/Strength Training/Yoga blend class.

Monday through Wednesday, my work day ends at 8:00PM. On Thursdays and Fridays, I finish my own rehearsals after the last Turning Point class at about 7:30 PM. I end with a small dinner.

When you were a kid, what did you want to grow up to be?
I first wanted to be Wonder Woman, then a doctor, then a lawyer. I had started dancing at the age of four, so dance always lived in the back of my mind as a profession, but I was an academic, and wasn’t convinced I could make a career of it.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
There are two aspects of my job that fill me with the most joy:
1) Seeing strong, positive results from the body conditioning programs I’ve crafted, especially when clients no longer need physiotherapy or improve their stage performance skills after taking my classes.

2) Choreographing dance movement based on a story or theme.

What do you find to be the biggest challenge in your profession?
Maintaining a steady income is a great challenge in my view. Not only in the arts, but heavy competition in the fitness market and the poor economy have meant that since early 2009, too many people are offering dance and fitness classes to supplement their income, whether or not they are suited to and knowledgeable enough to be teaching. This is at the same time that people drop out of their fitness programs to save money. On top of that, it is difficult to convince people that with higher stress levels, health is the last area of their budget they should cut.

Do you believe you had a "calling" for your profession?
I believe that I’m meant to teach movement, choreograph and perform, absolutely, without a doubt. I also have my MBA and worked corporate for four years, but had to return to the studio for better use of my skills, to help more people, and for the satisfaction of my spirit.

What are the three most important pieces of career advice you would give to other Canadian Career Gals?
Follow your passion. If you don’t know what your passion is, find a job to pay your bills that at least fulfills you moderately, and take classes after work in areas that have always interested you in order to help you find that passion. If you fear you can’t make a living at your passion, still pursue it in your spare time for fun, even if it’s once per week or month. You will be happier and more fulfilled.

Don’t follow anyone else’s path. No one else has the combination of your spirit, upbringing, personality and dreams. Admiring someone else and being inspired by them is a great motivator, but from there, you must carve your own path.

Balance is another key to happiness, and there is always time for your health, family and friends. There is nothing more important than your physical, mental and spiritual health, and your choice of fitness activity, diet, partner, career, and friends all influence your health tremendously. Be mindful of the impact of those choices.


Post a Comment