Opening a Dance Studio: Turning Passion into a “Real Job”
Dancing isn’t a real job, or so Chezaray Wade thought. Despite her childhood dream of owning a dance studio, Chezaray followed her love of numbers in pursuit of what she thought to be “the perfect career.” But life led her down a different path.
While most little girls dreamed of becoming a princess, Chezaray was busy dreaming of owning her own dance studio. Since the age of five she was strapping on her tap shoes and twirling in her tutu. By the time she turned eight, she was dancing up to twelve hours a week. “The dance studio was like my home. After school that’s where I was.”
Dancing was an acceptable extracurricular activity as a kid, but once she became an adult being a dancer and owning a studio wasn’t her idea of a viable career.
Though her passion for dance continued to burn throughout college, her practical side won out, prompting her to major in Economics.
“I never took dance seriously. I loved doing it but didn’t consider dancing a ‘real job’ or something you’d major in. I figured if I was good enough then I’d get work. Looking back, I wish that I had taken it more seriously.”
After Chezaray had been teaching dance for a few years, her family encouraged her to follow her passion. Inspired by their words, she started trying out at dance auditions. Three months later, she landed a gig dancing for Toni Braxton in Las Vegas. “It was my dream job. After a solid month of rehearsing, I only worked a couple of hours a night.”
Two years later, Chezaray became pregnant and again felt the need to pursue a stable career in numbers. She quit dancing and began her quest for a respectable career. While searching, her family encouraged her to let go of what she thought was the logical choice and instead follow her aspirations of opening a dance studio. Empowered by their words of encouragement, she started looking into her options and ended up writing a business plan. “My family was very supportive of me and told me to go for it. So I started looking for spaces and eventually opened Evolve Dance & Fitness.”
After looking online to see how other companies were running their dance studios, she noticed a few that offered students the option to book and pay for classes over the Internet and really liked the idea. Chezaray chose Mindbody dance studio software for her business because it allows her students to book and pay for classes online and assists her in managing her day-to-day operations.
“Being able to manage my business was a big concern. I had never done that before. Mindbody has made that process a lot simpler so it’s no longer scary. I don’t see my business working without Mindbody.”