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February 2020 | Magazine Issue

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Latisha Hardy | Dance & Company

“I am a professional dancer, and I own a studio. I teach anywhere from beginner level to pre-professional adult dancers in various styles of Latin dances. We are getting more into pop and more traditional dances like ballet, modern, Brazilian and break dancing. The overall goal is to diversify the curriculum to give people a wide range of body movement. I also host social events around town so people can have fun, practice what they're learning and also be social, hanging out and making new friends.”
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How did you get started?

I did ballet and gymnastics when I was young, but I focused on basketball from about six all the way through high school. I even earned a scholarship to play basketball in college, but I still had a passion for dance. I didn’t start seriously dancing until I was in my early 20s. I stuck with it, worked hard and became a professional. Now l get invited to places all over the nation. That is exciting, and I want to inspire and empower people to keep dancing no matter what.
No matter your age, color, size or any of those things that we think are inhibitors, we can still be successful and happy in our lives. I used dance to get out of an abusive relationship. So for me, dancing gave me my life back and my passion. I want to be able to do that for anybody. It doesn’t mean that you have to be coming out of an abusive relationship. But maybe you’re just going through something that is hard in your life. I’m here to inspire people to go after what they want in life, and I do that through the medium of dance because that’s my passion.

How do you help new people feel welcomed?

We get people who are curious or interested in dance; we offer preview sessions to show people what it is that we do. We try to make things safe and welcoming as possible to get people to start overcoming their fear of dancing.

As an entrepreneur and dancing professional, what advice would you give to people who want to be in your industry?

I would encourage them heavily to pursue and understand business. You can be very talented but dont forget that your talent is your service and it is your business. If you don’t have any knowledge based on what it means to run a business, you’re not going to be very successful. One of the main reasons why most artists fail is because they don’t know how to sell themselves. I have a master’s degree in business.

As I was studying, i knew I need to figure out how to make this work because I refuse to be a starving artist or the broke dancer. Everyone seems to think that about artists, which is true. It’s because of the ignorance and not understanding what it means to run a business. It’s not just about being a dynamic artist, but a dynamic individual as well.

Where do you see your business headed?

I definitely would like a larger studio. I see being able to franchise what I’m doing. I want to have a dance school that has a high level of technique where anyone can come and get quality training. I see myself traveling all over the world and still having my studio home base. Then I also see me training dancers on the business side of things, so that they can run their business.

Who is your ideal customer?

There are a lot of youth programs out there, but there aren’t many adult programs. We try to support adult dancers because it doesn’t matter how old you are. You can still learn something and have fun. A lot of dance studios do not cater to adults. It’s harder to learn how to dance as an adult because we’ve already experienced so much life and many times there’s a lot of pain and regret that comes with it. We work hard to overcome things like that.

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