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Meet Marie

11th November 2020

Marie Obirigya is the latest addition to the RJC Dance team. To welcome Marie (pronounced ‘Maria’), we caught up virtually over a cup of tea to ask her a few questions.

Tell us a bit about yourself

My mum is Czech, my dad is Ghanaian, and they met in Turkey. I was born in the Czech Republic, before living in Turkey for a while, and then moved to Leeds. I’ve been a Chapeltown girl ever since!

What were you doing before you joined RJC Dance?

I was at Derby University studying psychology and law. My big aim is to become a clinical psychologist. Since leaving university, I took a role as a support worker at St Anne’s Community Services, helping adults with learning difficulties to live independently. I’m still there now – it’s a part time role. We have chats, the odd cup of tea, I help with their personal care, and when we’re not in lockdown, I join them on trips. It’s great.

What do you do for RJC Dance?

When I’m not at St Anne’s, I’m here at RJC Dance as the Organisation Assistant. It’s a bit of everything really, from administration and filing to supporting young people with their handstands! I recently qualified to be an Arts Award coordinator, so I’m looking forward to working with the young people to help them along with that qualification. You get to see them take on a project and follow through with it to end up with a recognised certificate. It’s a real achievement for them, and I hope it’s something that will really help to take them further in whatever career they’re hoping to pursue.

How did you find out about RJC Dance?

I’ve always been part of the RJC Dance community. My younger sister has been coming to sessions here since she was little. Kathy knows me well because I used to drop her off and pay her fees. When I came back to Leeds after university, I joined in the adult classes and really enjoyed them. I heard about the job when I was here and thought it would be perfect.

How is the new job going?

It’s really exciting, there’s so much variety in the work, and it’s fantastic to be working with young people. It’s been great to see so many people taking part in the online sessions. There’s so much to do here. Usually in a junior role you get told to do one thing, such as admin, or the accounts. Not here! You get to do everything, interact with everyone, even go on trips – when we’re not in lockdown, that is!

What has it been like, starting a new job in 2020?

There’s always a lot to get your head around when you start a new job, and doing that without a team around you is hard. You miss out on a lot. But I was kept busy, and Kathy encouraged me to do as much research as I could remotely. That really helped, because it was all transferrable when I needed to use it.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

When I’m not here I spend most of my time with my new puppy. She’s a Border Collie with blue eyes, and she’s deaf. She needs more mental exercise than she does physical at the moment. That takes up most of my day! I’m planning on getting a Bengal cat soon. I’m a real animal lover.

OK, quickfire round….

Favourite band? Linkin Park

Favourite film? Dirty Dancing

Favourite kind of dance? All of them!

Favourite place? Anywhere there’s animals

Favourite food? Ovocné knedlíky – lovely sweet dumplings from the Czech Republic

Cats or dogs? You can’t do that to me!

Learn more about the RJC Dance team and what we all do here in our team page. To see the latest news, check out our blog.

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Follow our journey through dance, movement and exercise

Keep up to date with RJC Dance's latest events, news and exclusive content