Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself.
My name is Rachel Choi, I’m 25 years old, and I️ am the owner of Alpha & Omega Dance Academy, a Christian dance studio in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I️ not only run the business, but also teach some of the dance classes and plan our big dance productions! I️ also love Jesus, theatre and music, and those are all huge influences for me when I dance.
How did you become interested in dancing and fitness?
I️ owe a lot of my interest in dance to my parents, who put me in my first class. Ironically, I stopped after that first year and wasn’t interested in dance for several years, until I saw my older sister on stage. Seeing all those ballerinas in their beautiful costumes and pointe shoes really inspired me to start dancing again! Also, my dad is a doctor and my mom was a nutritionist (understanding healthy foods), so they have always taught me the importance of eating healthily and being physically active.
What do you love most about being fit?
I️ feel much more energetic and confident when I️ am physically fit. Research also shows that being physically active makes you smarter, helps you sleep better and makes you more creative and happy. And since dance is a hobby of mine, it’s a very fun way to stay fit.
How much time do you spend training when you are getting ready for a performance?
All of my dancers are in their dance class(es) on a weekly basis, but some of my advanced dancers and I are in the dance studio every day! If we have an upcoming performance, we take time to stretch, warm-up, practice any difficult movements and then we rehearse our dances constantly. But we don’t just practice in the studio; we also practice at home.
What is something you wish everyone knew about dancing?
I wish everyone knew: 1. That you don’t have to already know how to dance to take a class, and 2. How fun it is! Some people tell me they don’t have rhythm or they’re not flexible enough to dance, but that’s precisely what the class is for — if we already knew how to dance, we wouldn’t have to take a class. I also try to make my classes a lot of fun by encouraging friendships among my students and by making sure that we don’t just work hard but also play/laugh hard!
Do you have any advice for kids about how to make healthy choices about fitness?
The best way to stay fit is to find a physical activity that you like doing and to be very careful with what you eat. Keep soda, candy and desserts as special treats rather than your normal diet. Then, try different physical activities to see what you like the best (but make sure you try it for a full school year or semester before deciding). Whether it’s dance or soccer or running, there’s a physical activity out there that could become your next hobby!
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