1. Tell us about your dance journey and how you found Salsa N' Seattle…
I started dancing about 4 years ago. I was going through a very difficult time in my life and a good friend of mine invited me to go salsa dancing with her. A male friend of hers that taught salsa classes showed me the basic steps once we arrived at Century Ballroom. I danced the entire night and had a blast and realized it was the first time I had smiled that much in a very long time. I wanted more of that! My feet were so sore after dancing for hours that I literally had to be carried to my car!
I continued to go to the social at Century and learned on the dance floor. After about two years I decided it was time to take proper lessons. That's when I found Salsa N' Seattle. Right away I felt welcome and at home! I started taking privates initially and then began classes but what really got me hooked were the Tuesday night Social Practicas. I started to look forward to every Tuesday night where I could not only dance and practice but I could also hang out with a community of people who had become my dear friends.
2. What was your reaction when you first heard Salsa N' Seattle was closing?
I was shocked and saddened to hear that the studio was closing and that Victor and Julia were leaving. It hit me pretty hard. Who was I going to learn from? What was I going to do on Tuesday nights? What was going to happen to the community I had become so close to? I shed more than a few tears over the news.
3. What did Salsa N' Seattle mean to you and the community?
Salsa N' Seattle had become like a second home to me. I was always there taking classes, privates, attending socials and events. It was a place where I always felt safe and welcome to grow as a dancer. I never felt judged or rejected at any point during my dance journey even as a beginner. I think that is something the staff, teachers, and community do well at Salsa N' Seattle, making beginners feel welcome and that isn’t something I can say for other studios I have attended.
4. At what point did you say, I want to take over this dance studio?
Seeing the 'For Lease' signs in the window was a constant bother to me. I just couldn’t imagine something else occupying the place that had become my second home! I started to play with the idea of possibly renting the space for teaching yoga but it was really just a fantasy at that point.
In July a friend of mine had seen another studio going up for sale and contacted me saying “I saw this studio for sale and you were the first person I thought of.” Now keep in mind this friend knew nothing of SNS closing or that I had started thinking about possibly having my own studio. I did look at the studio my friend mentioned, it wasn’t a good fit for me but it did get me thinking that maybe renting the studio space could work.
I began talking to Victor about simply taking over the lease but as we talked I realized how much I wanted to keep the dancing going and not just turn it into a yogo studio. One day during a private I finally just blurted out, “Victor why don’t you just sell me your business?” And that started the ball rolling.
5. What business background do you have to run the studio?
I have had about 18 years of experience running my own business. Although this field is quite different than the other business I own, and I am sure I have a lot to learn, the fundamentals of running a business are the same. I am confident this business venture will be as positive an experience as my other business venture has been.
6. What is your future vision for the studio?
My vision is to maintain the current core of the studio with the current class offerings and the to add on more classes, workshops and events that support developing dancers and encourage dancers and non-dancers to express themselves through various forms of movement.
7. Do you have a personal message you'd like to tell current and new students?
I can’t express how happy I am to be able to keep Salsa N' Seattle going and to continue to serve the Salsa N’ Seattle dance community! I know a lot of students have felt the same way I did when they found out that SNS was closing. They didn’t want to see it close. I have received nothing but positive support from those who knew I would be buying the studio. I think people are really excited to see the studio continue and I feel so honored to be a part of that. I am really looking forward to this journey and I want to thank you all for your support.