In our regular series, interesting people remember their first crappy jobs
Hi Keeley! Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Keeley Dann and I am executive assistant for Emma Sinclair at EnterpriseAlumni.
What was your #MyFirstMcJob?
I’ve had loads! I worked in caff in a leisure centre, made sandwiches in a burger van, pierced ears at Claire’s Accessories, worked in telemarketing, and was a sales assistant in House of Fraser and a dental nurse. I worked all these jobs while training to be a dancer, which led me to a decade-long career as a professional dancer, dancing for artists such as Rihanna on shows like The X Factor.
How did you end up dancing with Rihanna?
My agent thought I fitted the bill, so called and said: “Are you available these dates?” I didn’t even have to audition. I ended up dancing with Rihanna four times: twice on The X Factor, once at a gig in Ukraine for a 50,000 strong audience, and at finally at the Brit Awards.
Did anything funny happen?
If anyone remembers the X Factor cake fight when Rihanna performed Only Girl In The World, that was me! We could only pretend rehearse it, and so we only first saw the cakes and icing we had to throw at each other on live TV. I remember nearly skidding on the floor because there was so much cake all over our fingers, hands and the floor.
Have you danced with anybody else?
I did the Royal Variety for Alicia Keys, Chaka Khan, Lulu and Anastasia. I’ve danced on The Voice, danced with Take That and Robin Thicke on X Factor, and Kylie Minogue for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I also danced at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony, toured with the band Steps, and was a dancing peacock in the movie remake of Aladdin with Will Smith.
What skills did you learn as a dancer that you still use today?
As a dancer, you might only be on a job for a day, a week, or on tour for a few months. You’re always with working with different people. It teaches you to be social and gives you the confidence to be to be put in any situation. I means you have to be organised, self-disciplined, and take care of yourself, because your body is your work.
When did you last dance in the EnterpriseAlumni office?
I’ve never danced in the office! Yet…
Why is alumni so important?
There’s something special about having been on all these jobs with different people, so it’s lovely to keep those connections and see what people are doing now, because they were a big part of your life. It can be difficult to transition when you stop being a dancer, so it’s nice to feel like you are part of the community you grew up with.
What would happen if Rihanna booked you to dance with her now?
I would probably fall apart after about 15 minutes!
If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice, what would you say?
Just enjoy being in the moment. As a dancer, you’re really ambitious; there’s a lot fretting about what your next job is going to be. Looking back, I think: God, I had such an incredible career, but sometimes I didn’t appreciate it. So I would say to myself: just be in that moment, be thankful, and soak everything up, because it only lasts for a little while.