Friday, February 24, 2012

Why A Studio?

The idea of someday having a Wellness Studio has flitted in and out of my thoughts since I first started my own classes, but it wasn't until 2011 that I got serious about the possibility. It was the past six months, as our classes really took off, that showed the need for our own space. We have relatively minimal needs for most of our classes--smooth flooring and plenty of space, and a comfortable atmosphere. These requirements are easier said than found.

We currently offer classes mainly at two community facilities: one in Johnson Creek, and one in Lake Mills.

Our space in Johnson Creek is relatively ideal. The Johnson Creek Community Center is a beautiful facility that was built relatively recently. (This is the facility where our professional photo shoot took place last year, as featured in this entry!) The main room is surrounded by windows and has excellent wood flooring. The facility has excellent climate control and works very well for our classes. One problem we've encountered with the Community Center is simply that we're running out of room. Our classes are reaching 25-30 people some weeks, and it can be pretty close quarters in there. Another issue is that in the summer, the baseball spectators are situated right at one of the walls of windows that makes up one side of the room. This doesn't exactly allow for a feeling of security and privacy during our classes. In fact, we tend to have to have a special playlist for our summer classes at the Community Center that eliminates some of our more common moves in Zumba Fitness classes--not an east task! Lastly, because of our rental agreement (which works great most of the time), anytime another group pays to rent the center, they take priority and we have to cancel our classes. We normally have plenty of notice for this and are able to notify our students, but it is not an ideal arrangement. Overall, we love having classes at the Community Center and hope that opening the Dancing Lotus Studio will take care of the crowding issues, and that we can continue to offer some classes there. We are aware that we are the main provider of fitness classes to the Johnson Creek community, and have no wish to end our offerings there.

Rock Lake Activity Center is our home in Lake Mills. RLAC is a great non-profit community organization that promotes wellness in the community. They are housed in an old school building, and the main space we use is the school's old gym. The gym provides us with plenty of space, however there is no air conditioning. The floors become very slick with the numbers that our classes see. In the past, it was only an issue in the summer, but since our classes now host 20-30 people in the gym, we've noticed the floors beginning to "sweat" even when the temperature climbs above 30! We also have access to a nice space upstairs that is climate controlled and has new laminate flooring, however the space isn't large enough to accommodate any classes except our smaller morning offerings. The gym simply is not a workable option, particularly as the weather heats up. We've had slips and falls in the past, and as our numbers increase we don't want to have to wait for an injury to make a move. Lastly, the great success of the RLAC in the community means a hectic schedule and fewer options for class expansion. We find ourselves challenged as activities overlap: blocking basketballs from hitting our stereo equipment, having people walk through our yoga classes, and having a children's tapdance class wrapping up while we try to start our quiet evening yoga practice. While RLAC is a fantastic community facility, it's not ideal for Dancing Lotus.

With both of these spaces we deal with the need to adjust our schedule to what the facility has open and available for us to use. We would love, for instance, to offer a Monday morning class, but there is nowhere we can currently hold one. The opening of the studio will allow us to expand our schedule and adjust it to our student's needs, providing better access to our classes.

The building we have in mind for the studio is located in Lake Mills. This makes sense not only because we offer the majority of our classes there now, but because of the higher population density there. There's also the plain and simple fact that the building that would work so well for the studio is there--in a great location within Lake Mills. The building we are hoping for even has an outdoor area with privacy fencing that would allow us to have some class offerings outside while still offering a secure environment.

The plan for the Studio is one large room with great laminate floors to provide a safe environment for all of our classes. The main space at the Dancing Lotus studio will have plenty of natural light, but windows won't allow for public viewing of classes from the outside, which means our students can relax and let go. The studio will have a better sound system than the ones that we currently shuttle back and forth between locations. Having a permanent location will allow us to provide better equipment (including yoga mats and hoops since those items will not need to be transported from location to location). We will be able to provide a bathroom with a shower so that participants can go straight to work after their workout. The studio will also allow us to expand our offering of workshops, special events, and provide a wider variety of services. One of our goals is to take advantage of a kitchen area in the lower level of the studio that would allow us to do healthy food tasting events, cooking classes, etc.

Overall, the vision for the Dancing Lotus Fitness Wellness Studio is truly one of providing a home for the Dancing Lotus Fitness family. We are unspeakably excited about the possibilities it will open up as we work to provide opportunities for our students to find more health and happiness in their lives.

Thank you for your support of the Dancing Lotus Studio. Every donation to our campaign gets us closer to opening our doors.

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