It’s a funny story how I first came across Dance Forever, or more specifically the sister company, All About Dance.  I had just moved to Chicago and was living in a small (and very gross!) studio apartment in Lincoln Park when All About Dance opened on the ground floor of my building.  I would watch longingly through the windows as I slowly walked by, missing my dance class days.  As the years passed, I moved and my dance class world became more distant, but missed- until I scrolled onto Dance Forever through instagram!  A giant disco ball, dim lighting and letting loose with a group of adults without being in a club sounded AMAZING!

Dance Forever offers a number of classes, for all different levels of dance experience.  It’s the perfect way to blend fitness, wellness and fun.  Founder Jessica Swiggum Goldman said when describing the classes to me “It brings you back to feeling sexy and reminds us that we’re not just old moms, we’re still hot”.  She is full of positive energy and the ultimate cheerleader of women feeling strong, powerful and equal, while still embracing everything sexy about being a women.  She never stops praising her Directors, Megan Bernier and Julia Kummerow, who she says “run the show” and whom she looks at as “co-founders” in Dance Forever.  It’s clear just listening to Jessica talk about their working relationship between the three of them, that they’ve found something special.

Besides a full virtual schedule available you can also find Dance Forever on YouTube and soon as an On Demand option!

 

 

Parents in Chicago are likely familiar with All About Dance, but they may not know that there’s an option for them as well!  How did the transition from youth classes to opening a studio for adults come about?
All About Dance was my first baby – when I first moved to Chicago and started teaching and dancing I realized that there was not a studio that really injected the fun and love of dance. It was my mission to make every child feel good in their skin dancing no matter what! I created programs that resonated with all types of dancers – we had something for kids who just loved to move, programs for kids who wanted to dance but didn’t want to take ballet” and then a company program for those who really wanted to go next-level. Despite what program we treated everyone the same, giving them so much love and positive energy in our unique and one of a kind teaching style. It’s proven that dance releases endorphins, instills resilience and as many of our students say “Makes people feel FREE” that is why I opened All About Dance – to give back what I knew so many needed in their lives.

The Adult program grew out of a problem I had for myself….Being a working professional, I still wanted to dance and workout, but no longer wanted the type of dance class that was going to focus on my technique- or be so easy that I got bored and felt un-authentic.  SO I created an adult program filled with classes that made dancers feel good, and get a TRUE dance fix, while also checked their cardio & tone workout box.  Our tried and true adult cardio class, that we now call FLASH DANCE, is a blend of a jazz funk/hip hop class that focuses on momentum.  It’s easy enough to pick up quickly, and also fresh enough to make you feel like the back up dancer we all want to be! I am forever grateful for our classes while entering motherhood. I am proud to say that this class is Not your mamma’s jazzercise (with all due respect!)!
For newbies intimidated by the idea of a group dance class, what advice can you offer to get in there & just have fun with it? 
UM….now is the time ladies to get on your own dance floor and get comfortable!  Our Zoom classes are so engaging, and the best part of it all is that you can hide yourself and take your time to learn!!!! There has never been any judgement here, but now you don’t even have to be seen- until you’re ready.  We of course encourage everyone to keep their cameras on because the energy of the community dancing as a whole is infectious – however all we care about is that you are moving. The best part is – if you forget what you are doing the instructor is always there to cue you and for you to watch! We WANT you to dance like you and for you to let go, so we always tell people if a move doesn’t feel right, make it your own! 

Speaking of virtual classes, how has the studio made the pivot to online?  
Well let me tell you – the moment we walked out of the studio we walked right into zoom. We got ourselves microphones and made our homes into virtual Dance Forever backdrops so our spaces are aesthetically pleasing and you can hear us loud and clear. A lot of the class is connecting and injecting the positive messaging and cues during class so it was very important for us to be top notch and professional. In June we are launching an On-Demand virtual platform as well.  So anyone can take our classes, from anywhere at anytime!
Some might feel like virtual classes lack the social aspect of a group class, BUT they’re also proving to be a really convenient option for busy parents.  Do you see continuing to offer online options going forward? 
Yes!!!!  The closure encouraged the On-Demand option, but it will absolutely be there as an on-going library for members.  We’ve tried to keep some of the human aspect of in person classes with the virtual as well.  All of our teachers are there before and after each class to engage in that amazing social banter we all crave.  It’s so awesome to see our community bond together everyday as we all share the trials and tribualtions of home-schooling, being at home with our husbands and soooo much more. We’ve also gained so many new people, from all over the world!  Seeing people connect and get to know each other through dance class is seriously so special!
What are a few tips for staying healthy, fit & motivated through quarantine?
I have to say, DANCE!   Now is the time to DANCE PEOPLE – who needs a tredmill or bike doing the same repetitive movement when you can get your body to move and work all of your muscles.  Dance enhances your brain and imporves memory as well as mood.  It changes your body because you are literally using everything, and you never bulk up because it is always different.  I promise – do it once and the endorphin release alone will motivate you to get back on the dance floor!  Other tips to stay healthy – call your friends, meditate and visualize spreading love all over the world…and drink a lot of water to balance out the wine:)

 

I love catching the “ Two millennials and a mom” chats!  I bet it’s great to have different perspectives between the 3 of you.  Has this helped in forming the business?  
We honestly started it to provide value beyond the dance floor to our clients.  With me being a Mom and Julia & Megan being quite a bit younger, it’s a way to bring perspective to a wide range of people.  It’s amazing how in line we are despite the age gap though!  Megan & Julia have taken Dance Forever to a new level.   They have built a dance company of incredibly talented women, who perform all over the city, continue to grow our social dance platform, and they also started hosting the most fun bachelorette and birthday parties.  I am honored to work with them everyday and so lucky to have such humble, caring millennials with me to spread the love of dance all over the world.

 

What brought you to Chicago?
I moved to Chicago after making the Chicago Bulls Pro-Dance Team.  I wanted to see what it was like living in a big city and dancing professionally for the NBA after years in Minnesota with the NFL. Once I got here, I new there was a need for change in the dance community and therefore created All About Dance!  A place  where everyone could come have fun, feel young and DANCE FOREVER!!!

When we’re able to get back out and enjoy this amazing city again, what are the first few things you look forward to doing?  
Dancing under the 3 foot disco ball in our brand new space we finished-  just as our doors were closed for COVID.  Dance Forever went through a major renovation in 2019.  We invested in creating a sanctuary-meets-club space for our community.  It feels like a ladies lounge with a club-like dance floor, and the most beautiful locker room equipped with showers and a blow dry bar. We wanted our clients to feel like they could escape the daily grind when they walked through our doors.  A `space they know they were going to get the workout of a lifetime, but without feeling like they were at the gym. I can’t wait to get back in there and truly share the space with everyone!  
Try your first Dance Forever FREE!  Even as a Forever Dance virgin, you’ll find your groove in no time!  Click her to sign up!

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