Life as a dancer – A conversation with Shelley Skinner

January 19, 2015

Introducing Shelley Skinner – Professional dancer…

Out of all the sports in the world, dance would have to take out the number one spot on my list. There is something so joyous, so magical about moving your body to music and just letting yourself be. Shelley Skinner is one of those people who live for dance. She also happens to be a professional dancer, as well as a close friend of mine. I sat down with Shelley to find out a little bit about what it is like to be a part of the exuberant industry of professional dancing.


Shelley, what inspired you to get into dancing in the first place?

I started dancing when I was 10 years old, which is actually quite late to start in the dance world. I went with my best friend at the time, she had just asked me to come along with her. We did classes in jazz, tap and musical theatre. As soon as I started it just felt so natural to me, I just loved it!

What draws you towards dancing as a full-time career?

I didn’t start to take dancing seriously until I was about 16. I attended a new dance school and they completely opened me up to the possibility of dancing professionally. I remember the day so well. My teacher had taken me up to Melbourne for our dance exams and I remember seeing all of these dancers in a full-time course. They were all so strong, so passionate and I said to myself “Yep this is it this is what I’m going to do.” That’s what drew me to this career. I feel very lucky to be able to be creative, keep my fitness up as well as working on my passion! The challenges make you so strong and you grow so much as a person. The travelling is also very appealing too!!

What styles of dance do you do?

As a commercial dancer, you have to be very versatile. One day I will be doing a jazz number, the next Latin, the next hip hop, showgirl, using props, dancing with a partner… The list goes on! You just have to be ready for anything, it definitely keeps me on my toes!

I’m sure it does! What would you say are the main fitness benefits of dance?

Dancing keeps you very fit and it comes with a lot of fitness benefits. I think the main ones would be flexibility and strength, and it keeps you very balanced as most of the time you are using your whole body.

That’s great! To finish off, can you explain some stretches that will improve strength/flexibility that people can do at home?

Stretching is so good for you! Three really simple and easy movements if done every day, will benefit you:

  • Sitting on the floor with your feet out in front of you, legs completely straight. Reach forwards towards you toes. Fold from your hips, not the middle of your back. Hold and breathe through the stretch. You should feel a nice stretch up your hamstrings.
  • Lie on your stomach with your hands placed either side of your chest and elbows bent. Straighten your arms and push your shoulders down. Open up your chest and you should feel a stretch in your lower back.
  • Lie flat on your back and bring your right leg (bent) to your chest. Bring your leg over to the left side and twist your body to the right, with your right arm extended to the right and head tilted.


For casual dance classes in Jazz, Contemporary, Broadway and more, visit The Space Melbourne

318 Chapel Street, Prahran Vic 3181



Article by Heidi Greig.

Heidi Greig is a 25-year-old Melbournian with a passion for all things health and fitness. Coming from a background in modern dance and now enjoying the benefits of Reformer Pilates, Heidi is well –aware of the importance of regular, heart rate rising activity for a balanced and happy life!

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