Episode 23- The Step of Confidence
Amelia Nesbit is the owner of Body Rock Dance Space, a dance studio for adults of all levels of who want to feel sexy and alive. Dance is an exciting form of fitness that Amelia wants to make available to everyone. For many, taking a dance class means stepping out of a comfort zone and ultimately into her studio. Amelia is going to talk with us about how she helps her members take that step.
Best way to reach her: firstname.lastname@example.org
Host-Dan: fitDEGREE is more than just two guys with microphones. It is the studio management software you've been looking for. For more info, reach out to me on our website at www.fitDEGREE.com. On Instagram at the handle fitDEGREE or my email Dan.burger, that's B-E-R-G-E-R@fitDEGREE.com to get the conversation started. All right, now onto the show.
Host-Dan: Hey everyone, I hope you're having a great day and welcome back to another episode of The fitDEGREE Podcast. My name is Dan Berger, your host for the show, and I'm joined as usual by my cohost Nick Dennis. So many of us wouldn't be in business today without stepping outside of our comfort zone, and that is what today's guest is going to talk about.
Host-Dan: Amelia Nesbitt is an owner of Body Rock Dance Space, a dance studio for adults of all levels who want to be a sexy and alive. Dance is an exciting form of fitness that Amelia wants to make available to everyone. For many, taking a dance class means stepping out of a comfort zone and ultimately into her studio. And Amelia is going to talk with us about how she helps her members take that step. Welcome to the show Amelia, good morning to you. I know you're over on the west coast and thank you for joining us today.
Amelia Nesbit: Good morning guys. Thanks for having me.
Host-Dan: Yeah, of course. We're excited. This as we talked about before the show. You're the first person we've had on with a studio, sort of this model. We've had dance studios that were more of an academy. You're being trained, you're going to be a technician, you're going to be on a team. This is about fitness, fun and feeling great. So take us back a little bit wherever you want to start the story and tell us kind of about the inception of Body Rock and we'll go from there.
Amelia Nesbit: Definitely, Body Rock first came to fruition about six years ago, but ultimately it's always been something that's been in the back of my mind and always kind of daydreamed about opening my own studio and what that would look like. And through my dance years, that image of that studio had changed a little bit from being a kid studio where people pay a monthly amount to evolving into something that is more for people who are like myself, adults who have busy lives, busy schedules, but still want to find time for themselves to get in and do something new and fun that's going to keep their bodies moving and keep them mobile.
Support-Nick: Mobile I like that.
Amelia Nesbit: But also like having fun while we're doing it, empowering ourselves to try something hard, try something new, you come out better on the other end of that. So about five years ago, we moved back to Longview, Washington from Portland and I had been dancing heavily in Portland at a local adult drop in studio there and I was surrounded and immersed by people in the dance industry and I had all these tech classes I can take.
Amelia Nesbit: And when I moved back to long view, I felt that void in my life incredibly. I didn't have a space here where I could go and move unless it was peaking a ballet class with a bunch of 12 year olds. which is fine if that's what you're looking for. But I know that I certainly didn't want to have that be my dance experience while I'm in my '30s. There's nothing freeing about that. You've got these 12 year old bendy, bendy little girls who can put their legs behind their head and you're having trouble making a connection per se or something like that. So that's where Body Rock came about.
Host-Dan: Well that's fantastic.
Support-Nick: Yeah, I was going to say. So people have a couple of different wise or do they have one particular why when they start their studio, this studio was started for you?
Amelia Nesbit: Absolutely. I figured that I wasn't the only one feeling this way. You has a lot of really great kids studios for such a small town. We've got six or seven studios that are geared toward children and at some point those children age out of dancing and they either quit dancing altogether or they become a teacher for one of those studios. And teaching is so different from taking class. So I knew that there had to be people like myself in this town who are missing this element in their lives.
Support-Nick: Four years later it proved to be right.
Amelia Nesbit: Yeah. I mean we still have problems, we still have our struggles sometimes with enrollment. I mean getting people over that like fear of coming in and trying something new has been our biggest obstacle.
Support-Nick: Yeah. Well, because like you say, your buyer persona as we'll call it, is the person that took the dance academy classes and eventually grew out of it but still wanted the dance. So that's your main target market is people that are looking for the same thing as you were before you built it.
Amelia Nesbit: Yeah. That's what spurred everything. And then through my first few classes as dance by Amelia for the first couple of months there, I realized that it was bigger than me and bigger than just the people who have the dance experience like I do. There is a whole realm of people out there who have always wanted, it's been on their bucket list. I want to take a dance class, I want to learn how to do this dance thing.
Host-Dan: Yeah. And that's not an easy thing to do. I mean, I know personally the only dancing I can do is jumping and flailing my arms around at some point they're acceptable places for that. But at some point I'd like to be like, okay, here's what I'm supposed to do. Somebody please like give me some guidance here.
Amelia Nesbit: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And that's really all it is because the classes that we offer, we really just want people to come in and get used to moving their bodies. We're certainly not creating an army of fem bots and expecting everybody to come in and look exactly the same, doing the exact same moves. I mean a big part of Body Rock is self discovery and finding who you are through movement or figuring out if that's different from who you think you are. So it's been really interesting seeing this new audience or this new, what's the word I'm looking for? This new group of people that I have on my radar at all when I first created studio be like a major part of what the studio has because.
Support-Nick: And you got to answer to those people because like you just said now it's a major part of it now I'm sure. So walk us through maybe what was your... Because dance academies have from what we know, a semester or if some sort where they enroll, they start, they have an eight month program, they have an off season, they start up again. So what was your goal when you first started? Was it more like that or was it more like sporadic? Like a yoga studio where you have classes on the schedule and people just come to class.
Amelia Nesbit: More along that line of a drop in studio. I know that as adults and parents that lives can sometimes get crazy and get in the way. And the last thing I wanted to have happen was have somebody paying a monthly membership for certain classes that they're coming to and then have life getting away and then they feel like just like a gym membership, I feel like I'm paying for this thing that I'm not using and then suddenly it has no value.
Host-Dan: Now you still offer monthly membership, right?
Amelia Nesbit: We do, we offer a monthly unlimited membership for people who are wanting to come frequently. But we also offer a drop in... We offer smaller packages. We have a four pack.
Support-Nick: This is very innovative for this dance industry.
Amelia Nesbit: Right, right. And we want to make it attainable and we don't want anybody to ever feel like, oh my gosh, I have to go to this class tonight. Otherwise I'm not going to get this money back or I'm going to be out all this money. We don't want that to be part of the factor or the reasoning for them at all. Like we want it to be what we want to be and where they can be at the moment.
Support-Nick: Right, right. So this is more like, yeah, a drop in studio versus a semester based. So now I'm sure that you started off with a... If you are serving you and serving people that were coming out of dance class and grew out of dance class, I'm sure you had a very particular type of class you were ready to teach. And then as these new people came in, you kind of had a dial it back and be like, okay, how do I ramp or how do I onboard these people? So walk us through that. Like what was your couple of class descriptions when you first started and where are they at now?
Amelia Nesbit: We first started, my main two classes that I offered were bombshell burlesque and getting intermediate hip hop class. And the beginning, intermediate hip hop class is kind of a catchall because it's good for beginners and really challenging, but it's still like meets that level of work for the answers who have experience. [inaudible 00:09:02] was a whole different ballgame. We ended up creating a burlesque one on one class and we that specifically kind of geared toward those new new dancers, those adults who have maybe danced around their bedroom like a boss but have never taken a [crosstalk 00:09:19]
Host-Dan: The people who really want to have fun.
Amelia Nesbit: Yeah, exactly. And so it's getting used to moving your body to eight counts to moving your body in a certain pattern of movement with choreography and to just getting used to moving in ways that we don't normally move as adults because we're setting all day.
Support-Nick: Like we, Dan and I took an animal flow class a couple of weeks ago because one of our clients was in town and that was what he said was that we're used to moving our body in this very rigid structured way. And both of us, for me lifting that, that's very true. I sit down, I move down, I move up, I pick things up, I want to stay braced. Dan Plays Rugby, he's taking contact, he has to be braced. Now all of a sudden we're twisting and we're moving-
Host-Dan: We are rolling on the ground.
Support-Nick: We're crawling on the ground. And I could see this very similar when a dance opportunity comes up, I'm the first one to be a shell. Because I'm like, I don't know how to move my body. And that's like literally what I'll say. I'd be like, I have no rhythm. I do not feel comfortable. I don't know how to move my body.
Host-Dan: I always try and find the most confident looking person and copy what they're doing. That's the key. They are confident and they're comfortable. I'm not comfortable. It's like you've got the iWatch and I went to Walmart and got the Jay Watch, whatever they got, the knock off.
Amelia Nesbit: It's all about faking it until you can make it. [crosstalk 00:10:42] Well it's like following somebody who looks like they know what they're doing or even, we talk a lot about taking out those words of I am a terrible dancer. I don't know how to move my body this way. We talk a lot about how if you say it, then it becomes so, and if we talk, if we say like, I'm not quite getting this part, but I'm going to, or this is better than I was yesterday when I wasn't even trying this. So we're looking to finding different ways of uplifting and empowering those people who come in who might be struggling with the movement, who might not be getting it, right, but they're there and they're putting in the work and it will pay off.
Support-Nick: I'm sure you had to pry. You mean you already said it without saying it. A lot of positive coaching tactics where it's not I can't, I will when I, or something along those lines.
Amelia Nesbit: Or even look this right now. Right now I'm not able, but I will be, it's not an infinite, infinite, we hear this all the time. I'm not a dancer. Well take dance class and you're a dancer. It's that simple. You don't have to be a good dancer to be a dancer. You can be a dancer.
Host-Dan: So do you get a lot of people that have this aha moment where you look at them, they're just like, I'm doing it because you're doing it and I'm trying, and then suddenly they're just, they're having fun and it's all happening and it's work. Do people have this aha moment where suddenly it's like now you're getting it because just because.
Amelia Nesbit: Yes, always. It's really cool because how Body Rock works. Let's say, the burlesque class, I choreographed a routine and I teach it for three weeks and I teach in every single class, like I've never taught it before. So it's being taught from the very beginning every time. So let's say in that three weeks you have nine opportunities to come and learn that dance, like I've never taught it before. The magic number has all been three. The people who make it to the first class and then the second class, and then finally get to that third class. That's where the magic sets in because they're not having to think so hard about that brain body connection. The muscle memory is kicking in and they're able to let go a little bit of that stress of like, oh my gosh, am I going to get this dance and get into that part of I'm having fun and finding these joyful moments and what I'm doing right now.
Amelia Nesbit: Right, right. And my next question was how long does that typically take for people to go from, I've never done this before. I'm not a dancer to I go to dance class at night and I'm getting better. And you're saying that's the third class usually?
Support-Nick: Usually the third class of every number for people ends up being, like I said, the magic potion. [crosstalk 00:13:29] it is.
Amelia Nesbit: Be like a seven is a good number.
Host-Dan: I've even heard from-
Amelia Nesbit: You'd be surprised though. You'd be surprised. They always kind of get knocked back down to reality again when that three weeks and stuff and we started a new number because there's always that that break of, okay well now I've got to relearn something in a different order.
Support-Nick: And I'm sure after the third number maybe it's like, okay, I'm not attached to a number, I'm attached to this moving my body in general.
Amelia Nesbit: Exactly.
Support-Nick: So I think one thing Dan talked about in the intro was that you are a unique studio in your area. It wasn't exactly the most well received at first because people were uneducated on what it was. So let's talk about what it would be like for a studio owner. Whether that is yoga, pilates, burlesque, dance, anything where they go to a market where it's not popularized yet. It's easy when there's already seven yoga studios to be the eighth one and say how I'm different because people are already going to yoga. Now you're introducing a whole new concept to a whole new discipline of fitness. What was that like? And can you shed any light, because you're four years in now, can you shed any light on, how could someone could have accelerated that process?
Amelia Nesbit: For me, I don't know about accelerating it, but for me it's been just about education, education, education and putting out there what it is we actually do. Whether that's a video form and we've filmed one of the numbers and we put that on the Facebook page and say this is our current burlesque routine. Or whether it's we take pictures and we kind of show or we put up infographics or means or things that people can kind of find and relate to. That make it a little less scary. But we did have a lot of misconceptions. When I first opened the studio, one of the local newspaper reporters asked me if I'd be teaching [inaudible 00:15:27].
Support-Nick: That's the story I want it to get to.
Amelia Nesbit: Yeah. Yeah. And I wasn't worthy of an answer, but of course I had the answer it because-
Support-Nick: Did you look at it like fitted puzzle you for a second? Like what are you asking? Like what is that like you were just saying because this relative like?
Amelia Nesbit: Right. And it was coming from a woman also. So that's like, yeah I know-
Support-Nick: My [inaudible 00:15:54] drive for anyone that's not here.
Amelia Nesbit: I know. Yeah. It came from a woman. And then she also asked if long view has no strip clubs, why are you teaching burlesque?
Support-Nick: So this is-
Host-Dan: You had your aha moment. It's just you're not being a twat. It's just you don't know what this is.
Amelia Nesbit: Lack of education, and misconception about what burlesque is about. And so then I kind of, I realized at that point I had a lot of teaching to do.
Support-Nick: Well that's good that she brought that up right away. Because it's Dan mentioned, it's like, oh, you're not being rude. You just, oh honey, take it, you need to take a seat. I need to tell you what I do.
Amelia Nesbit: Exactly because burlesque or dance for that matter of any form is not, especially how I'm bringing it. It might be in other studios, but in my studio, what we're doing is for no one else but ourselves. Burlesque is something that a lot of people don't realize that the performer is the one who has complete control over what you get to see. So they might think that it's not empowering to women that is demeaning to women. But in reality we're completely in control over what we allow you to see. So that learning curve that we had at the beginning was a big eye opener to me and it made me a lot more aware of how I word things in social media postings.
Support-Nick: That's was good, so the whole marketing message.
Amelia Nesbit: Absolutely. Absolutely. We focus a lot on this being about you like the dancer, not about anybody else.
Host-Dan: So how come it's changed the public perception. How your receive is it just like common knowledge that Body Rock is part of our community and this is what Body Rock does and stripping is not what Body Rock does. I mean is that how people been educated about it now?
Amelia Nesbit: I think that those of the people in long you that know about us get that now. So a lot of people here who are like, where's Body Rock? I have no idea where that is. Well that's the one thing-
Support-Nick: So that's one thing to not know about it. It's another thing to assume it is what it's not and not ever go.
Amelia Nesbit: Exactly. Exactly about four years ago I also started a burlesque company and so we go and perform locally and we performed in Portland. And I think that has also helped educate our community even though people who don't come to the classes. But people who come to our shows are seeing that this isn't about us getting up on stage and taking clothes off.
Host-Dan: So when you get somebody in there, you help them take that first step, what's the biggest thing you've found for getting them back in? What gets these new debt and you know, not the dancers that did the company as a kid grew up and said, I want to keep dancing, but the new dancers, I'm 27 and this is the first time taking dance. What's your hook for them and how well does that work?
Amelia Nesbit: We try really hard to make it feel like this cool, awesome community place to come hang out where you're going to make friends. And it's just this chill environment. So when we get people who come in for their first class, we really work hard to make them feel welcome, make them not feel like the Newbie in the room. To make them feel like this is where they belong. Because they do, I mean, it's Body Rock is for everyone. We really just want to make sure that they come in and have a good experience, not just in learning the dance and learning the choreography. Because as I said before, that first time you come in and learn a dance, that part of it you're going to leave going, oh my gosh, I was a hot mess, but I really liked those people and I really want to go back and try it again. And so it's hooking them in a way of like, this is your space, this is for you. And making them feel.
Host-Dan: A lot of people very open at the beginning. Like if this is outside my comfort zone, but you're the teacher taken away.
Amelia Nesbit: Oh yeah. I mean they started out usually pretty shy. A lot of them, some of them come in there and they're completely like, I was meant for this. Was this like huge, [crosstalk 00:20:28] living my life. Yeah, exactly. There are some people that we just really have to have to work with them and help them discover that they're sabotaging themselves, that it's not that they can't do this, is that they're back to feeding themselves. That I'm not good at this. I'm not good at what I do. I can't find a way around this. I don't love my body. Whatever those reasons are we work hard to move them past that. And a lot of positivity. We should we up talk I try really hard to make sure that I connect with each person that's in my class and that I call them out for good things and let them know that they're being seen for the work that they're doing.
Support-Nick: Right, right.
Host-Dan: That lean into it mindset is really important because if you're shy from it, how are you going to have the fun you are going to have?
Amelia Nesbit: It's so true. It's so true. And conversely though, it's so fun to see those people who are coming in and who are so incredibly shy and then to see them kind of like step out of that comfort zone and they're just like, this is who I am now and I feel confident and I love myself and I love what my body can do even if it doesn't look like how you make it look. There is this whole new eyeopening experience that happens when they come in and really just kind of surrender to what's happening.
Support-Nick: I know you started it more thinking that there's got to be some... You have to create something for adult dancers to go to. But I got to imagine that that's got to be your new coffee in the morning is seeing that happen. Like that's got to be your new why of why you show up to Body Rock every day. Because you know you can bring people from that state.
Amelia Nesbit: Absolutely. Absolutely. That is like one of the biggest things that keeps me driving. Having a full class of people who are just jazzed to be there.
Support-Nick: So you've opened this new studio an hour outside Portland. You had to teach this new discipline of fitness while you were trying to start a business. I couldn't even imagine how hard that was. So what is the best piece of advice you can give someone over what you've learned over the past four years?
Amelia Nesbit: The best piece of advice that I could probably give to a new studio owner like myself is to first figure out the why, why you're opening your studio, but then figure out the why of why are people going to come to this? Like we talked about, I didn't really do that at the beginning. I looked at it and was like, "I need this. This is for me." And then very quickly I was shown that it was bigger than myself. So look beyond what you think your main demographic is going to be and really do that research so you aren't missing something. You aren't missing a whole, I guess percentage of people who could end up being your core group?
Support-Nick: Yeah, well I think that's very good that you overlook the piece of it, of who could be your potential client. You maybe missed out on a buyer persona you didn't plan for, and I think that's a great question too, we've never heard before is why should people come to my studio? So it's what wakes you up in the morning, but what wakes them up? What am I going to do that wakes them up in the morning to make sure they hit their burlesque class at night?
Amelia Nesbit: Absolutely. That's going to allow them to feel like, okay, today's the day that I can go and try this thing that I'm really scared about because I have all this fear associated with moving my body and being a woman, but today's the day I'm going to go do that.
Support-Nick: That's awesome. So if someone wanted to keep the conversation going with you for any reason, what would be the best way to find you?
Amelia Nesbit: They can find us on Facebook or Body Rock Dance Space. You could also find us on Instagram or you can email me at email@example.com we're also online at bodyrockdancespace.com so you can find our class schedules, our class descriptions, our pricing, our location. All of that is on all three of those places.
Support-Nick: And we'll have that all up on our website so studio owners can reach out and learn, maybe ask the question about your story or just keep the conversation going with you from the podcast.
Amelia Nesbit: Absolutely. That would be fantastic.
Support-Nick: All right, thanks so much for coming on today.
Host-Dan: It's been great, Amelia, we really appreciate it.
Amelia Nesbit: Thanks you guys.
Host-Dan: So if you like this episode, be sure to go and leave us a review. Your feedback helps us make better episodes every week. If you're a studio, fitness owners who wants to streamline processes with a studio management software that's actually affordable checkout fitDEGREE. Go and find us at fitDEGREE.com, that's F-I-T-D-E-G-R-E-E.com to talk with the team member today. We'll see you back here next week, same day, same time for another podcast episode featuring amazing studio fitness owners. See you later everyone.