If I had a dollar for every time someone asked me if I had a dance studio or where my dance studio is located, I probably would have enough money to open a dance studio.
But, I don’t want to. At all. Zero percent interested.
I’ll admit, I get annoyed by the question sometimes. Why do people need me to have a dance studio? Just because I own a dance-related business and dance professionally doesn’t mean that I have a dance studio. People’s perceptions of how dance “works” are limited, and that’s something I’m really trying to change. I’m trying to blow the lid off the dance studio box. I say over and over again that Shakespeare said "all the world’s a stage," but I think all the world’s a dance floor.
Don’t get me wrong—I love good dance studios. I’ve spent countless hours in them and will continue to spend countless more hours. They’re a place to learn, to grow, to connect, to improve, to practice, and, without dance studios, I wouldn’t be at all the dancer I am.
But, for a lot of people, going to a dance studio, especially if they have never been to a dance class before, is beyond intimidating. It can be the fear of a colonoscopy coupled with the anxiety of the first day of high school sprinkled with a dash of the potential embarrassment of tripping and falling on your butt in front of a hot guy.
Or so they think.
It’s not that bad, I promise. But getting over that initial intimidation or anxiety to go to a dance studio can be a challenge and can potentially keep people from enjoying the benefits of moving to music. I think that’s a tragedy, and that’s where I come in.
My role is to create experiences through dance where you can feel awesome about yourself. Where you can groove, move to the music, not take yourself too seriously, and, well, dance.
If I had a dance studio, I couldn’t do what I do. My company, Baila ConmiGA, has co-produced two successful events this year—Spirits and Salsa and Sweet and Sensual: A Pop-Up Dance and Dessert Lounge. The events both sneak-attacked you with dance. Just kidding, it wasn’t sneaky at all. But, for people who might not necessarily feel confident enough to hit Latin night at a club or a dance social, the prospect of booze, food, and a cool venue was enough to get them in the door, and then my amazing teammates got them dancing.
My artistic fitness concept, Baila Barre, is taught out of a fitness studio, but I’ve designed it so that you can do it anywhere and you don’t need any special equipment. It’s not about technique—it’s about distilling the essence of Latin dance, hip-hop, ballroom, and ballet enough to make it accessible to those who claim to “have no coordination” (side note: that’s a total myth. If you had no coordination, you wouldn’t be able to engage in a variety of daily activities including, but not limited to: brushing your teeth, opening and closing the refrigerator, and driving a car).
My dance partner and I appear and perform at all kinds of events and venues and effectively get the party started—we’ve been hired to run a Mexican Hat Dance competition at a corporate gig, managed to get half the audience at the Charleston Music Hall on stage with us during our last “Strings and Salsa” performance, and were on a T.V. show getting residents of a retirement community up and dancing to a big band.
I’m a guerilla dancer. I’m out in the fields, making people move, instead of trying to draw them in to my dance studio. Once they’re hooked on dancing (addicted even), I can send them to any number of fabulous dance studios, instructors, and events around town. And that is why I do not have a dance studio, nor do I particularly want one.
Photos from the "Sweet and Sensual: A Pop-Up Dance and Dessert Lounge" event