FOR ME, IT WAS NEVER A QUESTION…
From the onset of the pandemic and throughout the last 10 months, I have spoken with many peers in the dance industry and other small business owners who have expressed their concern about their ability to continue their businesses. The constant regulation changes, the uncertainty, the costs, the emotions……sometimes it seems overwhelming.
I was raised by a single father who would always tell me, “Can’t never did anything.” That mantra has stuck with me since I was young and really paves my road in life. The pandemic has been a challenge for us all, without a doubt, but for me, it was an opportunity to really dig deep into our mission at Elite. It was an opportunity to reset and revisit our foundation.
WHAT IS TRUE IN YOUR HEART, MUST BE EXPRESSED IN THE WORLD…
In 18 years of dance studio ownership and 13 years of dance instruction prior to that, many exciting things have happened. I have many great memories of opening the studios, our first productions, beginning the All Stars program, winning high scores at competition, creating the Diamonds program, hosting incredible holiday shows and recitals. And then, when the pandemic hit, all of that changed in the blink of an eye. My entire business was turned upside down. I had to really get back to the foundation of why I opened dance studios and what it was that we were trying to do. I had to remember that as I often say, “Recitals/Shows/Competitions are the icing on a cake of dance classes. The cake on its own is really, really good.”
I then went back to when I was teaching and remembered the joy in my heart when I would see a student get her double pirouette for the first time and look at me with amazement in her eyes. I remember when students would smile ear to ear when they remembered an entire combination and dance it beautifully. I remember when a student was struggling with a move and I asked that they go back and try again, then seeing the relief on their face that they got to do it again. I remember the two year old who giggled with joy when she saw her classmate walk into the studio and then ran to hug her exclaiming, “I missed you sweet Raven.”
NO WAY, NO HOW…
And then, it was clear to me. There is NO WAY I would quit. There is NO WAY a pandemic will stop us at Elite from doing what we love to do. There is NO WAY we won’t allow our students to bond and move with us week after week. There is NO WAY I won’t keep my staff employed and growing, doing what they love to impact children.
A PLAN OF ATTACK…
So, I created a plan to ensure that my team could remain intact. I had no intention and I have not let any of our staff go because of the pandemic. Feeling secure in their jobs, our team went about the business of doing everything in our power to take care of our students and their families. We created an entire set of prerecorded dance classes in 72 hours of the pandemic hitting our business so that our students could still dance while we figured out our next move. This entailed hours and hours of recording, a new website and new technology. We then ran classes live from our teachers homes to your homes in order to produce a recital live stream which we had never done before. The learning curve was massive but I was so proud of our staff and students.
As we continue to ebb and flow in the Levels of COVID, we continue to pivot and grow with one thing remaining constant, our mission and our love for our students.
We are currently awaiting approval of our application for 5 Star Certification for COVID purposes so we can have even more flexibility inside of the Levels in order to continue to provide the very best we can for you, our families. We are only able to apply for this certification because we have been going above and beyond in terms of COVID regulations since March 12th, 2020.
CAN’T NEVER DID ANYTHING….
Each and every day, I think about and work on how we will continue to serve our students, to be role models, to not let them down, to keep them dancing, bonding and growing. I take this job more seriously than I ever have and hope you know that we are not just a dance studio providing dance classes. We feel responsible to help you raise your children to be confident, happy and strong through our passion for dance!! Here’s to taking the best care of them that we can!