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.
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.
Speaking of virtual classes, how has the studio made the pivot to online?
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!
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!!!