By Robyn Gautschy The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Ill.
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Lindsay Jameson, owner of "All That Dance" studio explains the benefits of dance, where she finds inspiration for routines and recitals, and her advice to other young entrepreneurs.
Lindsay Jameson started dancing at age 4, and she quickly realized that the dance studio was her favorite place to be.
She dreamed about having her own place, and in 2001, right after graduating from college, she purchased an existing studio on Main Street in downtown Galesburg.
Sixteen years later, All That Dance enrolls some 200 students a year in tap, ballet, pointe, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical dance classes. Jameson even leads a competitive dance team, Blue Heat, and teaches some adult dance classes.
What's next for Jameson?
"I plan to continue doing what I'm doing as long as I'm able," she said. "The kids keep me young and I don't plan on slowing down."
Register-Mail: First, some background on you: Where did you grow up and go to school? How old are you? What kind of work did you do before purchasing All That Dance?
Lindsay Jameson: I grew up in Tremont and attended Tremont High School, Illinois Central College for two years and Ball State University for two and a half years. I'll be 38 in September (gulp!). I was fortunate enough to purchase the studio (it was called something else at the time) the same summer I graduated from college. Before that I worked at a printing place doing customer service, typesetting, graphic design, packaging, mailing, etc.
RM: You've been dancing for most of your life. What first drew you to dance, and what do you still love about it now, as an adult?
LJ: My parents enrolled me in dance when I was 4. I came to realize that being at the dance studio was my favorite place. As I grew up, I made so many strong friendships at the dance studio that never compared to those I made in high school. To this day, being at the dance studio is where I feel most comfortable. To my high school classmates, I was the shy one who got along with everyone but wasn't very outgoing. At the dance studio I was a completely different person!
RM: Give us a review of the classes you offer. Which ones are most popular, and do you have a personal favorite class or style of dance?
LJ: We offer classes in tap, ballet, pointe, jazz, hip-hop and lyrical. I would say jazz, hip-hop and ballet are most popular with students, but my favorite will always be tap!
RM: What inspires you? Dance involves so many aspects -- music, choreography, costumes. Where do you come up with your ideas?
LJ: I would say life events inspire me the most, but when it comes to creating, I try to think of the unique. All of our recitals have a theme and I'm always trying to think of ones that aren't overly done. Once a theme is chosen, finding songs is my next task and costumes are last. However, sometimes I find a costume that is too great to pass up, so I end up finding a song to match it instead.
RM: Do you have a project or recital that you're especially proud of?
LJ: I'm naturally proud of all of our recitals, but our "Here's To The Heroes" was the most inspired. We've had several fun themes, including "Inside The Toy Box" and "Dancing In Paradise," but last year's theme, "Dreams and Nightmares," was pretty high up on the awesome scale!
RM: What do you see as the benefits of dance -- physically, mentally, emotionally?
LJ: Dance is such an amazing sport. It cultivates friendships, creates a safe space to express without judgment and allows kids to be themselves. Of course there are the added perks of gaining strength, flexibility and coordination. I can't tell you how many students I've seen come out of their shell and find their passion throughout the time spent at the studio. And it's a wonderful thing.
RM: What are the upsides and downsides to owning your own business?
LJ: It's funny, but the answers I'm thinking are both upsides and downsides. Creating your own hours but also needing to accommodate school schedules; hiring employees but also dealing with any drama; decorating but also cleaning and performing maintenance on the studio itself. Overall the pluses outweigh the minuses!
RM: You've been in business for 16 years now. What have you learned about business ownership in that time?
LJ: It's hard to believe it's been 16 years already, but yes, I've learned a lot. I've learned you can't please everyone, and no matter what you do, someone will be unhappy. However, if you try your best and give it your all, you can succeed and, if you're lucky, even have some fun!
RM: What is something a lot of people don't know about All That Dance?
LJ: I don't think many people know we've been here since 2001. We don't do much advertising other than word of mouth, our website and social media. It's crazy to think we started with paper mailings to register students and now we not only do all registrations online, but we have our very own free app! We've been growing steadily and register roughly 200 students each year.
RM: What is your advice to other entrepreneurs, especially to young people who are just getting started?
LJ: Go after your passion. If you truly have a calling in life, go for it! One of my good friends from college is still impressed (as am I) that I talked about wanting to have my own studio back then and can say that now I do!
RM: What's next for you? Any new projects or ideas in the works?
LJ: I plan to continue doing what I'm doing as long as I'm able! The kids keep me young and I don't plan on slowing down.
RM: Tell us about your life outside of work -- what do you like to do for fun? Any clubs or hobbies? Family or pets?
LJ: I love watching Cardinals baseball (and the Orioles because it's OK to like an AL and a NL team, right?!). I have my Illinois explosives license and have shot fireworks for the city of Pekin since I was 18. I have two sisters, two nieces, but no kids of my own (unless you count the nearly 200 I teach!). I love going geocaching and have a slight obsession with "Pirates of the Caribbean."
RM: Is there anything else you'd like to add?
LJ: I've been very fortunate to land my dream job at such a young age and couldn't have done it without the huge support of my family. I love what I do, the students I teach, and I look forward to many more years of sharing my love of dance!