Ballet Teacher + Founder / Self Savvi
At 3 years of age Alisha learned how to dance and it quickly became her passion. Years later this passion turned into a career, and eventually lead to performing with ballet and contemporary dance companies all over the globe.
Let’s just stop for a minute and really dive into this… Alisha danced, as her full-time job. Sounds unreal right?
Throughout her illustrious career as a dancer she struggled with low self-esteem and poor body image and developed anxiety because she didn’t know how to manage stress, and deal with her emotions, so one day, after experiencing an emotional breaking point, Alisha stopped dancing professionally.
These days Alisha owns Self Savvi a website that provides young women with the tools to help build their confidence. She teaches girls why it is important to increase your self-worth and why hanging with the right babes will help build your confidence.
I am obsessed with this #careerstory, not only because of the dept Alisha dives too, and her perfect life advice, but because she is now focused on helping others live a better life and that… above all, is what I’m about as well.
Without further ado, please meet Alisha…
reated Self Savvi, a website that provides young women with the tools to help build their confidence. She teaches us why it is important to increase your self-worth and why the superwoman pose will help build your confidence!
Hi Alisha, thank you for giving up your time to be with us today. Start from the very beginning. Where did you grow up and how did your experience shaped the person you are, and the career that you are in today?<
I grew up on the Central Coast (NSW) and had a love for dancing from a very young age. My parents were very supportive and would take me to dancing 3-4 times a week. My dance friends became like family and are still some of my most treasured friends. I feel so grateful for having had a such a supportive family and dance community growing up.
Where did you go to High School and how was that experience for you?
I went to a selective academic High School in Gosford which was interesting for me as I didn’t consider myself an “academic” student. The school didn’t offer dance so I would make my own dance groups and cheer squads and we would practice at lunchtime in a classroom. I sometimes struggled to manage school work with my dancing commitments, but overall, I enjoyed the social side of school and ended up doing ok academically as well!
I had a few challenges at High School with peer groups and there were some days where I would be crying in the toilets and other days where I just had so much fun with my friends. There were definitely lots of ups and downs, and as much as I feel this is quite common, I would have loved some more support navigating these issues.
Your story really resonates with me Alisha, and I feel a lot of other girls. Did your high school play an important role in helping you choose your further education and future career?
Absolutely not! I remember reading through the whole University Courses Guidebook and finding NOTHING that interested me and no-one that could give further guidance other than going to Uni. I would have loved more information and education around options after Year 12. Maybe it was a good thing in my situation though as it made me realise that all I wanted to do was dance and I needed to pursue it as a career!
Did you complete any internships or work experience placements in high school? Tell us about that experience.
I did a week of work experience at a full-time dance school when I was in Year 10. I was considering leaving school after year 10 to go to full-time dance training, so this was like a little tester. I found the week to be very demanding, both physically and mentally and felt that I wasn’t ready to leave school (and my friends!) just yet.
I really recommend doing work experience for any career you are interested in before jumping straight into a course!
Couldn’t agree more, we also recommend work experience, to any girl that is confused. Did uou go to College, University, Tafe or another equivalent? Take us through the courses that you studied and why you chose them?
When I finished year 12 I was a little hesitant to study dance full time because I knew how intense it would be (thanks, work experience!) It was the only thing I was really passionate about though, so I gave it a shot and ended up LOVING IT! I completed a Dance Teacher Certification whilst I was training to be a professional dancer as well.
I also did some further study after I retired from my dance career. I did a Diploma of Dance Movement Therapy which was very different… but very AWESOME! I started a Diploma of Early Childhood Education which I never completed. I wish I had done a week of work experience BEFORE I decided to pay A LOT of money on a course that I just didn’t end up liking! I recently completed a Youth Mentor Certification and to be totally honest, I don’t think it will be the last course I do! I LOVE learning and adding new tools to my toolbox!
Tell us about your career journey so far. Who you have worked for, and explain any highlights.
At the age of 33 I am already onto my third career! My first one was for about 10 years as a professional ballet and contemporary dancer. I lived in Germany for 7 of these years, performing and travelling all over Europe. I then came home to dance with the Sydney Dance Company and my favourite highlight was the 6-week international tour to America, Russia, China and South America.
After that, I kind of just fell into teaching ballet. It was a natural progression and I was already qualified. I enjoy teaching but I soon realised that I was very passionate about helping young women increase their self-confidence and manage their stress – that is why I founded Self Savvi in January 2017.
How did you get into the job that you are in now?
I started Self Savvi from scratch. I designed the website and started facilitating workshops at local dance schools. I am also building selfsavvi.com as an online resource hub with all the tools young women need to become the best version of themselves! So I pretty much CREATED the job that I have now and I love it!
What is the hardest part of your current job?
Definitely the fact that I am working alone!
What does a day a typical business day look like for you at Self Savvi ?
Usually, I will work on my business from home in the morning doing things like writing emails and blog posts, and scheduling social media posts. Some days I will run a workshop with teenage girls focusing on building self-confidence, managing stress, goal setting, and motivation (favourite part of my day!). Most evenings I will teach a few hours of ballet.
Who has been your hero, or greatest inspiration growing up and why?
When I was younger I never really had a hero. I was a day-dreamer and lived on my own planet. I kind of just drifted through life, dancing to the beat of my own drum! Now, as an adult, there are many people who inspire me including Turia Pitt, Melissa Ambrosini, Libby Babet, Lola Berry (I have a looooooong list).
What advice would you give girls who are interested in your career?
If you have a great idea and want to start your own business, I say GO FOR IT!
Get lots of advice from people who have done what you want to do, study aspects of business that you will need (ie.marketing), do lots of research before you start and most importantly – the more work you do on YOURSELF as a person, the better your business will become!
List your most valuable resources that you turn to constantly for inspiration in your profession?
- Favourite Websites: www.selfsavvi.com (of course!)
- Name an Instagram Account that you can’t go a day without checking: @selfsavvi
- Favourite Podcast: The Melissa Ambrosini Show
- Favourite Netflix Series: Tony Robbins Documentary “I am not your guru”
- Favourite all-time book/s: The Power of Now, anything by Louise Hay
- People: Amanda Roostey (Shine from Within), Lorna Jane Clarkson.
- Others: Poppy Renegade, Body Image Movement (Taryn Brumfitt)