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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Moving from the Desk to the Dance Floor

On November 1, 2014 we will be hosting our Ten-Year Anniversary Celebration. Ten years of turning non-dancers into dancers and strangers into friends.

This is the story of how that came to be...

I had everything an employee could want. A virtual office (yes, I was a lucky telecommuter), a staff of employees around the country, global responsibilities, an attractive steady income, and a wall of awards I had received over the years. I had a great boss and was an exemplary employee. An over-achiever. I put together global conferences and spoke before 500 people. I wrote speeches for the CEO. I had total creative license and a large budget. I had autonomy. I had creativity. I had a full and vibrant career and two master's degrees. For many years as I climbed the corporate ladder, this was where I thought I wanted to be.

Until I started dancing. Then a strange thing happened. I no longer wanted to stay late for meetings or work through the weekend. I wanted to get to my dance classes. I wanted to spend my weekends at dance events. I wanted to read about dancing. I wanted to study dance videos. I was enthralled with learning everything I could about swing dance--not only how to do it well, but also about its origins and history.

I became a swing dance nerd.

And I wanted to share everything I was learning and everything I was doing with others. So in 2004, I gave up the part of my life that guaranteed a steady income, awards and corporate perks. My collegues were dumbfounded, but also, I think, awed.

Ten years ago I made a leap that most people find impossible. I was lucky. My husband was as passionate about swing dance as I was...and he was a gifted choreographer and performer by then (he had joined a performance team in NYC while I supported us). I had years of marketing, communications and teaching experience (my somewhat lofty titles had ranged from Vice President of Marketing to Executive Director of Global Communications and Employee Learning). Now I could use those skills to promote a service I truly believed in: us.

I was lucky. I had always been a saver and had a much-needed nest egg to cushion us during our first year in business. By our second year word of mouth had spread. Our students told their friends and more people came to learn to dance.

And ten years later they are still telling their friends. Most of our business is built on word-of-mouth. Happiness is easy to spread.

Our success is based on two simple premises:
1. Share what you love.
2. Love the people with whom you share it.

Do I miss the corporate perks and big salary? Not really. Nothing can compare to the richness and rewards of turning non-dancers into dancers and strangers into friends. What can be better than transformation on a weekly basis?

Join us on Saturday, November 1 as we celebrate with our friends and honor our students who have been with us for five years or more. Here's to 10 years and counting...