Not only are fitness instructors like Paolo Salazar dealing with the global crisis but also the uncertainty of their jobs
By Nicole Ganglani | Art by Tricia Guevara | Photos courtesy of Paolo Salazar
The coronavirus pandemic has severely affected the livelihood of fitness instructors. Not only are they dealing with the crisis but also the status surrounding their jobs in the future. It’s a tough situation to be in if you think about it—having no idea where to get income in the middle of a global crisis. It makes you wonder how these fitness instructors are coping during this difficult time?
For Paolo Salazar, a 24-year-old freelance aerobic dancer at Slimmers World, it’s about following his current mantra: “sayaw laban sa COVID19.” It’s the same mantra that Salazar has been preaching to what he refers to as his gracious clients and students—the same people who have been helping him sustain his family during this crisis.
Salazar was raised in Laguna where he often watched his mother and grandmother dance. The dance instructor believes that the passion for dancing was passed on to him as a kid which he eventually made a living out of. Currently, Salazar is living with his girlfriend Riza, with whom he is also raising a toddler.
What was your full-time job before the global pandemic hit?
I’m a freelance dance fitness instructor at Slimmers World. I teach a different style/genre of dance with a combination of workout. In Slimmers World, this is often referred to as dance fusion and modern type of aerobics. I teach in five branches, specifically Pasay Road, Legaspi, Trafalgar, Megamall and Greenhills.
The enhanced community quarantine has ceased gym operations. How has this affected you?
It’s really tough since we lost our jobs and are not getting any income now. Teaching in Slimmers World was my full-time work and was my bread and butter before the quarantine started. I think gyms will be one of the last to start operations again so I had to find another way to make a living through Facebook.
How did you adjust to the effects of the global pandemic?
I’ve resorted to doing online dance classes now via Facebook Live. I made a private group called “quaranTEAM” where I request a fee from my generous clients and students per dance session. I don’t have an exact fee but my viewers right now just graciously send what they can to my bank account. But starting May, I might have my own fixed rates already. By doing live classes, I am earning enough to sustain my family’s needs.
What else do you plan to do in order to get through this tough time?
Aside from online classes, I also want to focus on enhancing my skills and knowledge by discovering new dance styles I can pick up on YouTube. By learning more dance skills, I can incorporate this into my choreography and with the different techniques I know—which I can share to my students.
What advice would you give to other fitness instructors or freelance dancers like you?
Focus on doing what you love, [which is] dancing. Ignore the negativity because there will always be people who will believe in you, acknowledge you and help you through these tough times. Do what you love to do for your clients and students and the rest will follow.
You can join and support Paolo’s dance classes through his Facebook group page.
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