Save the Studio
In a world of uncertainty, there is one constant we can always rely on: there is strength in unity.
The studio is more than a location, it is a home for our dance family. It is a space for our community to come talk, hang out, dance, learn, and experience life together. Without the studio, our community loses a home.
As is the story for many businesses, we have been hit hard by COVID. The pandemic continues to effect our lives and our studio. Seeing as our dance studio is technically classified as “entertainment,” we are discouraged from being open. Our expenses outweigh our income and it is at this time that we must ask for your aid.
The team at Heart & Sole Dance has been doing everything to boost attendance, revenue, and marketing. We have been pouring ourselves into new ideas and adapting to the times. We will continue to do so until the bitter end because, as stated above, the studio is more than just a physical location. We met at the studio as individuals and we now stand together, forged through the ups and downs of our dance journeys, united in our love of this artform and each other.
We have explored and will continue to work tirelessly on expanding our income, but at this time the studio will not make it to 2021. We sat together while feeling horribly alone as we confronted this reality. As a team we came to the strong decision the we could not close our doors quietly. We are are more than just the team, we are part of a larger community.
Yes, times are hard and things look bleak, and it is also a time to remember the good in our lives and focus on our community. There is strength in unity and it is now, in our darkest hour, that we ask you to come together and save the studio. Every little bit helps and we appreciate any amount given. Thank you for supporting our community’s future.
A letter from Maren
I made dance my career because of the impact that social dancing had on my own life. It changed me both inside and out and set my life on a path I had not imagined.
I learned quickly the power of the dance community and when I retired from competing nationally, I opened a studio to build a local community and share the many life changing aspects of dance that I both experienced and witnessed.
That was in 2008 and our community has done SO much since then. I lack the words to fully express my amazement and gratitude as I reflect on all the faces, the accomplishments and the learnings of the past 12 years.
Today I’m faced with a reality I never imagined, the possibility of having to close the studio, the home to the community that holds my heart.
In 2019 when we moved and nearly tripled our space, I did not hesitate, I signed a 5 year lease knowing we’d grow to fill it. In February when Covid was just taking hold, we jumped into action and switched immediately to online classes, dance parties and socials, applied for grants and cut overhead. We knew we’d get through and began diligently working on new offerings to match the new normal.
My belief in our community, and in our sport/art, remains steadfast and the reality is that the studio is in trouble. Necessary guidelines and understandable fears have us operating at 20% capacity. Our expenses far outweigh our income and we will not make it into 2021 without assistance.
For me, dance is more than something I do, or teach, it’s a metaphor for life, it’s become how I move through my world. I dance with life and know in my bones that the fundamentals behind dancing with another human being hold the keys to so much of what ails our society.
Personal connection is what builds acceptance and inclusivity, and the very industries that build connection are the ones most at risk. These industries, our industry, are also the ones that are most needed and will become more and more essential as our culture continues to become more polarized.
In 2012, I spearheaded bringing Dancing Classrooms to the Chicago area. It’s a program that uses Ballroom Dancing to teach children social skills, respect and inclusivity.
Dancing with someone, touching them and moving together as one unit brings two separate worlds together. This creates common ground and differences fade away.
Study after study of classrooms in the program showed sharp declines in bullying and hate speech as well as children who built respect for both themselves and each other. We need more of that in today’s world, not less.
Social dancing and its myriad of benefits will be essential as we rebuild and create a new normal. I would like our Heart & Sole Dance community to be a part of that rebuilding process, to still be around on the other side of Covid, so we are reaching out to you, our community.
Please help us save the studio! Any amount that you can give is greatly appreciated. Your support means more to me than I can put into words.