Alissa Steyl

Teacher Feature – Alissa Steyl

Question 1: When did you start dancing?

Answer: As a child, I did some Irish dancing and eagerly joined any school productions I could. I only started Latin & Ballroom after high school because, like many others, I never knew I could do those styles without a partner.

Question 2: When did you start teaching?

Answer: I started in 2007, it was my gap year job. As an 18-year-old, finding work with no experience or qualifications was difficult. When I saw an advert to become a dance instructor, it was ideal: learn how to dance, and earn an income. Since then, my gap year job has become my passion and a full-time job.

Question 3: What classes do you teach?

Answer: I teach Latin & Ballroom, Sokkie, Wedding Routines, West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop & Charleston. 

Question 4: What can you expect from my dance classes?

Answer: To create a welcoming space for everyone and for beginners not to be intimidated. In my private sessions, I will always adjust to what students need for the day. In my group sessions to have a good balance of fun as well as hard work. Although I am a visual learner and will resort to those techniques by instinct, I will always try to find different ways to make the learning process as easy as possible.

Question 5: How was Five6seven8 started?

Answer: After 4 years of teaching, Kraig and I decided to become independent instructors and hired floor space to start Five6seven8. This all began in 2011 in the Old Brightwater Commons. After 2 years, our schedule became so full that we had to consider expanding. The space in Fontainebleau opened up when Yoga on Republic moved to its new location. That was our home for 6 and a half years. We then reached a point where we needed another studio floor, and that lead to our next expansion and our move to Ferndale on Republic. The aim was to create a studio where instructors were treated correctly.

Question 6: Why do you love to teach dance?

Answer: It is amazing how this profession found me. Growing up I had aspirations of being a Vet or an Actress. But when I got to matric and needed to make this big decision, I honestly did not know what avenue to pursue. So I resorted to taking a gap year and looking for a job, which led me to dancing. Even after the gap year, I was no closer to knowing what I wanted to do. I went on to study Audio Visual at UJ with the opportunity to work in the entertainment industry. But, not having the heart for it, it did not stick. The following year I went on to study Graphic Design at Damelin, but that was only an Advanced Certificate. So, in order to have a degree I studied Marketing Management at the same time at UNISA. During this time I continued my dance teaching as a part-time job. As soon as I finished my studies I was once again presented with the question: “What will I be doing full-time?”. To answer this question, I realised how much I love teaching and dancing, and the opportunity to combine these two loves has changed my life. Whenever I have the opportunity to show someone how to dance, the biggest satisfaction is seeing how the person changes and grows. A standard question that people always ask: “Don’t you get bored teaching the same basic step over and over again?”. Every time you teach a step you are teaching someone new. The way they understand the information and how you need to bring it across to them is a new experience every time. 

Question 7: Why do you love to dance?

There are so many reasons, but to list a few: you forget all your troubles in the world when you dance –  you are so busy focusing on what you are doing that the stress just disappears during that time. It is so liberating! I also love the opportunity to express myself through dance. I love music and you will always find me singing along to everything. I always tell people that Latin & Ballroom is great because in those styles we have so many different dances and they cater to all of my different personalities – I get to be a princess but also bubbly, fiery and sexy.

Believe it or not, after 12 years of teaching, I only stepped onto the competition floor for my own dancing last year in 2019. The opportunity has allowed me to not only improve my own dancing but to improve myself as an instructor. I will live by these words: “You are never too old or experienced to keep learning!”

Question 8: Tell us something about yourself

Answer: I am known as The Cat Lady, and rightly so, as I have 5 cats. I also have no issue being boisterous and crazy!