COVID Creativity - Rise Dance Studio

rise dance studio entry

Client Name: Stephanie Doolan
Business Name: Rise Dance Studio
Business Website: 
Industry: Recreational Dance
Location: Nashua, NH 
SBDC Advisor's Name: Chuck Gilboy

First, what is your business? What do you do?

Rise Dance Studio offers a variety of dance genres across a range of ages and skill levels. We deliver high-quality dance training in a nurturing, fun environment. We offer dance education and performance opportunities that meet both professional dance companies' expectations as well as those of individuals who want to use dance to enrich their lives.

Inclusiveness is at the heart of our mission. Traditionally, dance has catered to a specific body type in a very gender-based environment, promoting individuals who excel and abandoning those who may need a little extra understanding. Our program at Rise Dance Studio aims to end this unfortunate tradition. We want to create an environment where an advanced dancer and a recreational dancer can excel to their fullest potential in a program that caters to them. The studio offers for age 2 and up, catering to individual needs. We have an accelerated program in ballet, contemporary, and hip hop.  

rise dance studio class

When the shutdown began, what was the immediate impact on your business?

 During the shutdown, we were able to get creative and develop a way to do virtual classes. Now we offer all of our classes in-person and virtually. It helps those at home not feel left out from their dance friends. It has been great for us to differentiate ourselves from our competition and keep a safe environment for everyone.

Once businesses were able to open in NH, how did you adapt your business, services, products, and/or physical space?

We set up technical equipment in each of our three dance studios to allow virtual classes to be held simultaneously with in-person classes. With the large screen TV's in each studio, those in the studio feel like they are dancing with those at home and vice versa. If they must stay home (they are feeling unwell, etc.), they can take the at-home option. 

Will you continue the changes and adaptations you have made once concerns over COVID-19 are behind us? Are you planning to institute more changes in the near future?

Yes, we plan on always offering this moving forward!  We have even had interest from people in other states such as CT and OH who want to sign up for virtual classes when their local dance studios weren't offering these options.

Are you collaborating with other businesses, municipalities, organizations, etc., for the first time or differently than in the past? If so, in what ways?

rise dance studio class 2

Since we are relatively new, we are looking to work with the businesses around us to offer discounts and help each other.

If you have employees, how has your workforce been affected?

Right now, everyone has been able to remain employed, especially since we have been able to offer online classes.  Even if there is full lockdown again, everyone is set up for fully remote teaching and dancing.

How has SBDC helped you and your business, especially in the last year?

We recently signed up for, and have started taking, the SBDC training courses that are offered. The resources have been great. Immediately after the first course that we attended, Chuck Gilboy proactively reached out to see how he could help.  We also have an upcoming meeting with him to review and make sure we understand all the new relief funding rules coming out for 2021. It's great having a resource who we can reach out to for help during a challenging year for small businesses.

rise dance studio outside sign

This client story is part of NH SBDC's ongoing collection of COVID Creativity stories about businesses surviving and thriving during COVID-19.