Interview by Career Planet
Meet Safire (Sandra Sommerville): Circus and Fire Entertainer.
CP: Career Planet
SS: Sandra Sommerville
CP: What is your title?
SS: Safire – Circus and Fire Entertainer. I am a performer and provide entertainment in the art of hoop dancing, poi spinning, staff spinning, fire eating and fire dancing. In addition to performing at events, I also work in schools doing a motivational presentation called Inspire Through Fire. It covers topics of self-esteem, finding your passion and dealing with bullies. I also teach hoop dancing to others though workshops, my own studio classes and online through HoopCity.ca. HoopCity.ca is an online hoop community I created that is similar to Facebook, but it is all about hooping. We currently have over 1,100 members within the community and are growing fast!
My website is: www.safiredance.ning.com
CP: Where do you work?
SS: Safire Dance – At home, in dance studios, in schools, at festivals and many more different places.
CP: What do you LOVE most about your job?
SS: The freedom I get from being self-employed. I can work at my own pace and am able to have more control over my daily life.
CP: Have you had any other jobs?
SS: I have worked a wide range of jobs throughout my life. Ranging from fast food cashier, to heavy hauler truck driver, to school teacher. All of these jobs have given me skills in different areas that help me in my current position.
CP: When you were at school, what type of career did you think you would follow?
SS: I was in College and University from 2001 – 2007 and completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Education in hopes of becoming a High School Art Teacher. After graduation I decided to put teaching aside and focusing on being a performer. Teaching has come back into my life though as I am teaching studio classes on hoop dancing as well as teaching online classes to over 150 students from all over the world.
CP: Which qualification/s are needed for this career?
SS: There are several teacher certification programs for hoop dancing but given that I have a teaching degree I have chosen not to get certified specifically for hoop dancing.
CP: How long did you study for, and do you still do any training?
SS: When I first began hoop dancing I practiced for 3-6 hours a day for 6 months. Now I tend to hoop on average at least an hour a day.
CP: Have you ever done any volunteer work to gain experience?
SS: Nothing major no, just offering to help out here and there when extra hands are needed.
CP: What made you decide to choose the job that you are doing now?
SS: I wanted to do something that I cared about. Hooping was all I could think about when I graduated and it felt right to follow that passion.
CP: Please tell us about a typical day at work
SS: Answering e-mails, video taping tutorials for my online classes, editing videos, returning calls to clients, working on my website, making hula hoops for students/customers, etc.
CP: What are the main tools that you use daily ?
SS: Computer, video camera, video editing software, my iPhone, hula hoops
CP: Does your job involve managing other people?
SS: Not really.
CP: Do you work office hours or flexi-time?
SS: Neither… I kind of work all-time. I like what I’m doing and often work too hard. This is common for entrepreneurs, particularly in the first few years of business.
CP: Do you work in a relaxed or a formal environment?
SS: Totally relaxed!!
CP: What is the dress code for your job?
SS: Funky and fun fashions! I recently tossed all my boring teacher dress pants and have since been wearing comfy yoga pants that are easy to hoop and dance in.
CP: What are the prospects for career growth?
SS: In the future I would like to begin selling clothing, hoops and other accessories through my website. Previously I had a shop but it was very time consuming. In the future I sell items that I like rather then trying to make everything by myself by hand.
CP: Does your job include travelling?
SS: Yes. If I am booked for a performance I have to travel to the event. Also, attending hoop dancing workshops is an important part of my development.
CP: Describe the kind of person that you think most suits this type of work
SS: Someone who has a tremendous amount of energy.
CP: Do you have any tips for people thinking about this career?
SS: Be strong and don’t give up. If you want to be a performer, look yourself in the mirror, call yourself a performer and then believe it!!
CP: What other options/possibilities are there for career growth in this field?
SS: I have several options and different areas I could focus on. One would be to enhance HoopCity.ca to include other styles of object manipulation dance. I could begin teaching poi or staff spinning lessons. Opening up an online store, providing teacher training for others who want to start hoop dancing classes, host workshops and other related events. Opening up a larger entertainment and events coordination company could be done as I begin meeting more and more entertainers in the industry. Moving overseas and teaching tourists how to fire dance. The possibilities go on and on.
CP: What are some of the main companies/organizations that provide employment in your field?
SS: Entertainment Agencies, Festivals and Event Coordinators.
CP: Are there opportunities for entrepreneurs in this field?
CP: Do you have hobbies?
SS: My hobby IS my job. ; )