May 31, 2020

4. Lauren Beasley | Everybody Dance Now.....


Bringing dance to everyone, Lauren Beasley created Move Inclusive Dance. She talks with us about how she created the studio, her journey and inspiration behind it. Lauren isn't stopping there, she has big goals and it's clear to see her dreams of bringing inclusion to everyone aren't far away! 

https://moveinclusivedance.com/
https://www.instagram.com/moveinclusivedance/
https://www.facebook.com/moveinclusivedance/

Transcript

So, uh, like, uh, welcome to the show. Lauren Beasley. Thank you so much for joining us. Move inclusive dance, right. Yes. Thank you for having me. Yeah. I'm super pumped about this interview. I got to do better with, I say that about every interview, but I'm extra excited about this one because I've been following you from before we started crowdfunding on iFundWomen and I started the crowdfunding process, like, well, before we really kicked off our crowdfunding, because as I mentioned that I'm like a researcher, so I was like researching everything.

[00:01:54] And your campaign came up. In the beginning of that. And then I followed everything you did with that, right from the start. And so I was like super interested in everything you were doing as well as how you were doing it. And. Just super inspired by the whole process and, and what led you to thank you and good for you?

[00:02:16] Because I must say I'm pretty sure I like decided to do, and I fund women campaign on like a Monday and did it like the following Monday? Well, that's even more impressive that you've also crushed it,

[00:02:30] getting everything started for our podcast and our, uh, Uh, crowdfunding through I fund women. Um, she was absolutely gushing over how well you were doing and like, kind of using you as an example. Um, and I know she might be a little too modest to admit it, but she was like, following in those footsteps, she was like this.

[00:02:50] She was like, there is. This company out there, this is how they're doing it. And if we just follow that, if we just follow her her strategy and it was, it was awesome. And then nearly happy to hear it. It was nice because, you know, it's one of those things where we're following another, uh, personnel that's out there, um, trying to make a difference in the world like we are.

[00:03:11] And, uh, she kind of like six months ago. We're like, when did that be amazing? And then here we are. Yeah. So I didn't crush it to the same degree, but it was crushed it to what we needed. And that's why I was like looking to, to succeed to what we wanted to accomplish. That was like, all I wanted, I was just like, I just need to accomplish what we want to set out to maintain, like, to make happen.

[00:03:33] Sure. And the crowdfunding thing, I mean, it is like, It's a beast. I mean, I it's a full-time job. Like, and then, like you said, resourcefulness. Yes. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, for sure. Which is funny because every, I feel like every day for like the past six months I'd come home and he'd be like, okay, so this is the new development on Instagram.

[00:03:55] They show me my demographics. So if you just follow the statistics on how we put out, we can really target the exact, that's just like a little, yeah. Blip like, cause then there's Facebook. And what are the other things you have like tick, tick talk. And I can't, I have it. Bella tells me how I was in charge of Twitter.

[00:04:13] So that's why Twitter is not great, but we have not really used it. My 12 year old, every single day says, mom, let's post a tech talk. We've got to post a tech doc and I have I'm. So I'm too. I think I've realized that. I'm a little too old for the tech talk. Like I just can't it's. I mean, it's a thing though.

[00:04:35] Like quarantine people are, are known for it. I haven't given in yet, but I feel like I'm like one of the last people. Yeah. I feel like, but for something like what you guys are in, like, it should be great. You get like all your dances actually would. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Well, I'm like one of those days it's like, uh, you know, Like, Oh, I would never do that, but inside I'm screaming, like I would love to do a Dick dog.

[00:04:55] Cause I would be amazing because there's lots of dads on there. You should do it, but I'm like a man's man. Are you? Yeah, I got that list. There's one on there. It's Eddie singing Lizzo. That's the only one. Right? Okay, I've got to get on and check it out, check it out. Great. It is a very good one. Um, so tell us a little bit about you, I guess, where are you from?

[00:05:20] Are you from Tennessee, your whole life? I'm not, no. So I'm originally from a small town outside of mobile, Alabama. Um, and then I went to college at the university of Southern Mississippi, which is in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. From there. I moved to New York for a few years and then landed in Nashville. So I've been a little, a little bit all over the place.

[00:05:43] Um, what's funny off the bat. You said, you know, you've, you've talked to a lot of people that they're like, Oh, well, there's no real reason that I did this. Or, you know, whatever I kind of can relate to that for the longest time. I would tell people, yeah, it's kind of random that I'm doing this thing because most people who start organizations, you know, that benefit people in our community.

[00:06:06] It's because they have some type of personal connection to someone who has a disability of some sort. And for me, that's actually not my story. Um, and for, uh, for a while, I, I wouldn't tell people that I'm like, yeah, no, it's random. It's just this idea that I had, um, until about a year ago. I worked with someone who helped me, um, develop the brand of move.

[00:06:27] And we did this session, which he called brand therapy, where he asked me like all of these questions about where I came from and, you know, pivotal moments in my life. And it was there that we kind of uncovered like, okay, this is actually why I went on to do this. Um, and the answer to that is I grew up in a dance studio.

[00:06:44] I took my first class when I was three years old. And. It's really cheesy, but dance was like my outlet. I mean, it saved me in a lot of ways. It was like my emotional outlet, my creative outlet. Um, I grew up in a family. That's not very emotional. So like, we didn't talk about our feelings. Like that is not a thing.

[00:07:03] So for me, dance was the one place that I could really like have that release and, um, So, I guess I just saw an opportunity, like, Hey, this thing has been so transformative for my life in so many ways, and I've benefited from it in so many ways. And there's this group of people that unfortunately can't just sign up for a dance class.

[00:07:25] Like I can write. And a lot of people with disabilities love to dance, just like a lot of people without disabilities, love to dance. So shouldn't, we, you know, have a, a way of like giving the same experience to that group of people. And that's kind of where. My head just always was with the situation. And, um, yeah, so I finally just did it.

[00:07:45] Yeah, here we are. So, you know you, so you've been, I mean, you've been everywhere. You've seen small town life. You've gone to New York. That's a big job. That's a big difference, big culture shock. Do you think that, you know, being, having that opportunity to kind of travel and see. A little bit of each, I think, I think we've talked to people who have come from just small town life.

[00:08:11] Maybe weren't exposed the same to the world. Do you think that that kind of helped open your eyes a little bit to what the world looks like and able to see that there's a need? Yeah. Yeah. I mean, and it's one of those things too, that, you know, like if you don't grow up around someone. That's different than you.

[00:08:35] You're just not educated on it. Right. And that's kinda how it was. I didn't grow up around anyone who had any type of. Um, physical intellectual disability of any sort. And so it was really just like a very foreign world to me, but I did know, um, or I, I went to school with a girl who had down syndrome and at my school it was like totally segregated.

[00:08:53] We didn't have classes together. There was no inclusion. Um, but I remember her, like, I remember seeing her in the lunch room and her just being so happy all the time. Like she just like for whatever reason, made an impact on me in a, in a way. And I remembered that she loved to dance and, um, Yeah. So, and then whenever I, actually, when I lived in New York, I interned at an organization called groove with me and they are a dance studio in, um, East Harlem.

[00:09:24] And they exist just to help get girls off the street. So it's like free classes for girls in that community, um, which is a very high need area of Manhattan. And while I was there, I was like, okay, this is the same concept that I've always kind of had in the back of my mind, a dance program for people who aren't like me, it's just for a different group of people.

[00:09:46] Yeah. Um, yeah. Yeah. I mean, that's the thing I think that there's inclusion in general is needed in so many different aspects and whether it's a low income. Opportunity or it's a disability community. There's just communities everywhere. I think that somehow there's a lack of need in something, whether it's a sport or it's a, you know, in dance as a sport, but just it's specific sports.

[00:10:15] I think, you know, we see that we even saw it here in our town. No, my daughter is playing softball and the baseball league. We had to go get her like hard with her photo ID on it. And it was signs. Signups were the same as the baseball. And there's like a line out the door around the corner of the building for baseball.

[00:10:35] Cards. And there was literally like three teams worth of girls for softball. And I just thought like the lack of effort, even to put in, to get outreach, to get girls signed up for softball, signed up to play sports and out there, and an education to say like, Hey, girls can play this sport. Let's get some more teams going.

[00:10:54] Let's there's not any less girls in the town that can play sports. It's not like there's a lack of girls that can go out and play us. A team sport. There's just probably enjoyed it. Yeah. There's just a lack of marketing to them in a way. Totally. And they need it probably as much, if not more, they need that coaching in that.

[00:11:15] I mean, I think coaching is huge and I'm sure it's the same in, in dance. You know, you need that kind of coach, you know, Yeah, I think, I think with any like recreational, you know, group activity like that, that, that's what we tell people, you know, all the time, like. At moving closer to dance, you know, we're not just teaching choreography, like yeah.

[00:11:36] Tic talk and all that. It's fun to like learn dances that are cute and fun, but more than anything, you're instilling the life skills in people in a way that's fun for them. Right. And a lot of parents will say, Oh, my gosh, because we have in our studio, um, a TV screen, so it, parents can sit in the lobby and it's like live streamed for them to watch what's happening in the studio while they're waiting.

[00:11:58] And all the time parents will be like, Oh my gosh, we've been working on that with our occupational therapist or, Oh, we've been doing that in PT. Um, so we're just kind of reinforcing those things again in a way that doesn't feel like, uh, I have to do this, you know, um, because it's fun. Yeah. So, you know, she just like took out five of our questions.

[00:12:21] It was like, do you ever like incorporate some of your, uh, activities, you know, to pertain to the PTs and the OTs? And are you, are you looking at, I mean, are you, are the, is that coming organically just because dance is an art activity or are you consulting with like a PT or an OT to figure out how to incorporate that?

[00:12:38] Because you are kind of a niche in a way, although we joke that. You know, when there's a billion people worldwide with special needs. Clearly it's not a niche, but in your world, it's a little bit of a niche and dance that these people, you know, I mean that there are you looking for? Specific movements or things like that in classes to kind of work with guns, honestly.

[00:13:04] So for the most part, um, I would say it comes just kind of organically, but I would love that that's kind of a goal of mine. So it's funny that you ask to, to have. Um, an OT that could be on staff with us and help us kind of integrate that into the curriculum. Next spring, spring 2021, I have two OT interns that are going to be working with me for their like senior capstone project.

[00:13:30] Um, but yeah, for the most part, I think it's one of those things that like the two just kind of. Go hand in hand. Yeah, we were actually supposed to that summer do a camp collaboration with, um, these two girls that are ones that occupational therapist. And one is a speech therapist where we were going to do exactly what we're talking about right now.

[00:13:51] Like really fuse the two things together. Um, and unfortunately we, we probably won't be doing that because of, you know, everything that's going on, but, um, Yeah, I think it's something that it, like I said, it just kind of goes hand in hand and, and the kids enjoy it. Um, and it's good for the parents to see too, like, Oh, this makes sense.

[00:14:10] You know, it's priceless that like for us parents at home, you know, we see something happen. Like I'd take Eddie to, you know, for example, swim class. And to me, it's just, I'm taking my kid to swim class and it, and that's all that it really is. But. I'm sending him to school every day, thinking he's getting PT and OT.

[00:14:29] And I always think I don't see enough progress. I don't see enough. And I'll take him to one swim class and see this huge amount of progress. Yeah. And sometimes I think it's probably because he's not even to here it's not work. Exactly. Yeah. And those are no, there's no like. Expectation of, of that there, you know, it's just like, Oh, we're just doing this and I enjoy it.

[00:14:53] Um, and I think that goes really far, which, I mean, like therapy is great and it's yeah, it's needed it's necessary. Um, I think it's just, you know, W we have this option to, like I said, just reinforce the same things, um, in a way that's really enjoyable for the kids. So you know, why not? Yeah. And especially when it's, when it's, uh, it's, uh, an activity like this, where you can cater it to something that's.

[00:15:18] Around his disability. So it's not hard or, and it's, he isn't there him specifically? Actually. No, but they're around their disability, so it's not hard for them. And they're not feeling left out of the game or their situation, you know, so many times I'll see where Eddie just wants to give up or not participate because.

[00:15:39] You know, he's behind, you know, he'll go to do something and it's too hard for him or too difficult, or he can't keep up with the crowd. So he just doesn't want to participate in it. But if it's something like this, where all of his peers, and when I say his, all of his peers and all of his peers, he sees someone like him or a similar disability like him, you know, he'll go to something and someone has the same kind of wheelchair.

[00:15:59] Oh my goodness. That's the most exciting thing to him. Oh, that's so sweet. You know? And so I can imagine like, What's that like for you to see that you've created something and kind of see someone who they probably don't go to school together. Right. I'm assuming they're coming from different districts a lot of the time.

[00:16:18] Yeah. Most of them that they don't go to school together. Um, and a lot of times the ages are pretty spread out. So, um, yeah, we actually, I had a parent when you were just saying that about your son, this reminded me of this mom that, um, Shared a testimony for our website actually, but she was telling me, uh, back when we first opened, she has a son that has, um, CP and she said that he he's like just, he, he is a social butterfly.

[00:16:48] I mean, when he comes in, he's like ready to go. He's so excited to see all of his friends. And she was saying that he's not always like this, you know? Um, and for me, I'm like what, there's no way this shit is just like, Full of energy in life. And she was like, no, you don't understand whatever, you know, we're at home and he's playing with the kids in the neighborhood.

[00:17:04] If they're going to ride their bike or they'd go to run down the street. Exactly what you just said, because he knows that he probably can't keep up. He doesn't even want to try, but at dance he knows like, okay, this is my thing. I can do this. It's going to work for me. There's other kids in the room that, you know, are going to be doing it the same way.

[00:17:21] Um, and so it just like brings that out of him, which makes me of course so happy. You know, if that's, if we can be. 45 minutes out of one kid's week that they're, they're just like the happiest, you know, that they can be, then that's all we can do. Yeah, love it. So now what do you, you know, in a time like this, where things are obviously adjusting and adapting and everyone's kind of pivoting to the situation, what are you guys having to do differently?

[00:17:54] Everything. Um, what a weird, weird time it is. I think us, you know, just like everyone else where. Figuring it out day by day. Um, we have shifted to doing everything virtually for now. So we're doing like weekly classes. Um, right now they're prerecorded. So we send out like a private YouTube link where they can participate.

[00:18:19] Um, but then they also have the option to do a weekly zoom check-in with me. So we can either work on a skill from the videos or just like chats. Um, I'm playing around with, with doing some virtual camps for the summer. So. Again, it's a lot of trial and error and just being very transparent with the parents of like, Hey, I need your feedback now more than ever.

[00:18:39] Like, if this isn't working, tell me why, so I can try something else. Um, and I mean, it sucks. Like it's definitely not the same as it is being in person, but it's, it's all we can do for now. And, you know, Yeah. Yeah. Well, I'm a huge advocate for this, this, I mean, everybody's like, well, we're making this a new norm, like to a point because it will go back to where we can know the social distancing and stuff will be a thing of the, you know, the whole Corona virus outbreak.

[00:19:10] Um, there's going to be a point where we will get it. Absolutely. We will get over this. Um, but it, and that's where, you know, like, well, and every state's different. I mean, I don't know what it's like in Tennessee. I know here we're getting hit really. We're we're like a hotspot, you know, and it's, it's different all over the country.

[00:19:28] And I think that holding everybody under the same restrictions, which they're not really, not every state is under the same restrictions, it's kind of, you know, depending on the governor and stuff like that. And I, I didn't think you guys, I mean, even your County, I mean, yeah. Cause we like we, um, Nashville.

[00:19:47] So Davidson County, we're still on the safer at home order until the eighth, but some of our surroundings, I mean, even like Brentwood, Franklin, um, so Williamson County. Um, they all went back last week, so it kind of just varies. There's like no plan phases. I know I, I'm still in touch with a lot of my friends that are in New York and I touched base with one of them this weekend.

[00:20:12] And I'm like, is there any plan for you guys? Like we have a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel of thing and going on here, but, um, yeah, yeah. Is okay. I feel like it's okay. Yeah. It's okay. That there's no plan right now, only because. I honestly feel just listening every day or every few days I can't lose it.

[00:20:31] It just gives you hope that they're actually thinking about what's going on. They're not just spewing out a, this is what we're going to do. It's okay. We have more information coming in and we're going to let you know, but it does sound positive. You hear about the numbers, the numbers sound positive. So it's like, it doesn't sound as like an honestly with a compromised.

[00:20:51] When you have a child who's compromised a little. I mean, his, and I've said this before. I mean, we've probably said about every episode and he's probably gonna cut it all out. But, but when you, when you have a household that can be more compromised, like you do think a little bit twice about it, and then I'm just like, it's fine.

[00:21:06] Like, I'll just wait it out. For sure. It's fine. I'll wait it out. Like, well, that's the thing for us. It's that makes things feel even more unknown for when we go back. It's like a lot of our students won't be coming back, you know, as soon as we, as we reopen. So yeah, there's, I'm going to be a little bit of a curve to figuring that out, but like you said, I mean, eventually we'll get through it.

[00:21:28] We'll get to the other side and, um, yeah. Yeah, that's all good. So when you, and it's been fun, seeing the kids dancing at home, I've had parents sending me videos and then another perk is that we have, you know, Um, people that follow us in other States. And so we've had people tune in to like our Facebook live classes that live in Florida or whatever, wherever.

[00:21:47] So that's been kind of cool too. I noticed this like, so you may end up with a new business model that has something new attached to it. You never know. I mean, national company now

[00:22:03] you may have something new coming out of it. Um, it's so true. So, you know, This idea of yours, it started and correct me if I'm wrong. It started as just a camp, right? Original. Yes. So it was an idea that I have had for pretty much, as long as I can remember. I made my first thought of creating something like this.

[00:22:26] I was probably around 13. Um, and about this at 13. Yeah. I mean, I remember being in the car with my mom on the way home from, I mean, I was at the dance studio literally every day. It was like, that was my thing. Um, and I remember being on the way home from the dance studio and I have no idea why. But I mentioned this girl that I went to high school with who I didn't really know, but she had down syndrome.

[00:22:54] And again, I just thought she was like so happy and smiley. And um, for whatever reason, we were talking about her and I asked my mom and said, why is there not. A dance studio for people like her to go take a dance class. And my mom was like, I don't know, maybe you'll start one, one day. Truly didn't think that I would, you know, it was in one ear and out the other.

[00:23:13] And then fast forward, my senior year of college, I was studying, um, in, in dance education and for my capstone project, I had to present something in the world of dance. And so. I again, kind of had this idea of resurface of a dance program for people with special needs. So I did some research and I couldn't find really anyone that was doing.

[00:23:38] I found like one company, um, somewhere in the U S and then a couple that were, you know, just kind of scattered across the globe. And so I gave a presentation about like, why this should be a thing. And I remember my professors after the presentation ended being like, you have to do that. Why have you never mentioned that?

[00:23:55] I'm like, yeah, I don't. Why would I do that again? I told you guys, I don't have a connection to anyone at that time. I'd never even talked to anyone with a disability. You know, it felt very random. Um, and so it was, again, just this thing that kind of lived in the back of my brain and when I moved to Nashville, so that was four years ago.

[00:24:13] Now couldn't get it out of my head. And then about three years ago. So a year after I'd been here, I was like, okay. Let's just do a trial run of this. Let's see if there is a need. If people are interested, if I'm even a good fit. Because again, I have no experience working with people who have disabilities.

[00:24:31] And so I decided to do a summer camp and I was like, I'll just stay off work for a week. I'll rent a space. And that's what we did. And at the end of the week, the last day, the parents started coming in to pick up their kids and they all wanted to sign up. For the next event, I was like, well, there is no next event, but I will create one.

[00:24:49] Here we go. And so for the next year we did a couple of workshops and pop-ups and um, then we opened the studio, the following fall. Uh, you didn't waste any time wasted? No time. I mean, that's, I think it's impressive. Now, do you still talk to, or have you ever reached out or talked to that girl from your school?

[00:25:11] For high school, does she know you've created the habit? I don't have any contact with our, my parents have oddly enough become like kind of mutual friends with her parents. And so we've talked about trying to like set up some kind of meetup there. Eventually it has to happen. Yeah. That's really neat.

[00:25:33] Yeah. I mean, it's improv. I think it's impressive if you don't even realize this, that. That's not something I have a 12 year old and I love her to death and she's got some amazing big ideas, but your parents must be pretty impressed. I mean, 13 that kids say things and they'll say things. Oh yeah. Like, but it's just not, it doesn't usually stick it.

[00:25:58] Yeah. It becomes successful. I mean, it is when it sticks in your brain like that, sometimes my daughter will say something. Yeah. And I'll be like, that's something you can tell when it sticks, when it's something that they've said, and it's like stuck in their brain, you just know as a parent, like that's not going anywhere.

[00:26:15] Yeah. That one's going to stick. My guess is your mom's like that. Idea's not going anywhere. She's the dance isn't going inside. I mean, I guarantee you, if you like my mom. Her answer, it sounds like so profound. Like, Oh, maybe you'll start when, when someday, but it was really truly just like, Oh yeah, maybe you'll start one someday.

[00:26:35] Like, it was not like we thought this thing was going to happen, you know? So it is, it is kind of cool to look back on that. Okay. Mr. Miyagi moment should maybe you'll be like, no, actually

[00:26:52] the seed was planted. You should take full credit for that. So, I mean, obviously things are a little kind of up in the air right now with COVID, but do you have big, you know, do you have ideas or plans for like, do you want to open more studios? Do you want to expand this project? Yes, we, I definitely want to expand.

[00:27:14] Um, we were actually going to start the like first phase of that expansion trial run this summer. Um, so that will be pushed off, which is okay. I'm good with it. Cool. Sounds great. You know? Yeah. You know? Yeah. Um, but yeah, I mean, a long-term goal for me is if this becomes a national program, I think that will start.

[00:27:38] Uh, exactly how I started the original thing. Right. Just like, kind of by planting seeds, popping up in new places, testing markets, um, and then going from there. But yeah, the goal is definitely to, to bring this to the masses because I mean, we have constantly people comment like randomly on our Instagram post or Facebook and they're like, bring this to, you know, wherever for sure.

[00:27:59] Just give me a minute. So yeah, I know. I can't do it all. Bring it to all four corners of the country. Okay. Yeah, I definitely get it. I mean, cause I think that there's no way there's not a need. I mean, even here there's definitely studios or a studio that does this, but it's not on the same level. It's a, it's a traditional studio who has a class and they'll perform during their recital and it's awesome, but they're not equipped.

[00:28:34] Two in the same way, you know, they're not offering it the same way. They're not doing it. And it's, I love that they do it. And it's exciting. Um, but I, I see this becoming something where you could have different levels, you can offer different types of classes, you know, where everyone's, you know, because honestly, like for Eddie or someone, you know, for Eddie, who's not on the say, you know, he's.

[00:28:58] Well, do you offer a break dancing because he is man. You want to talk about somebody with like super upper body strength like this kid? Oh, he's, he's so nasty, but I just want to get them involved. And you know, before those break dancers, he's dying to meet. It tells me all that ill abilities. Have you heard of them?

[00:29:21] They're a dance troop, a break dancing troop. They all have a disability shout out to eligibility. That's incredible that they're definitely a dream guests. They have, they all have it. They're all from across, from all across the world. And they have, they each have a disability. Some of them have like, you know, limb differences they'll have like a cane, but they all break dance.

[00:29:41] And they're amazing. So awesome. Look them up on YouTube. They're like really cool. YouTube videos. Okay. He thinks they're like the coolest thing. He's always like makes me pull up their videos on YouTube and show him. He is, he thinks he's an, he's always like, I'm like, what did it mean to grow up? He's going to be a police officer or a break dancer.

[00:30:01] Those are his two things. No, but he could be a breakdancing police officer. He'll be like in the middle of the road, directing traffic breakdown.

[00:30:17] He's just like too funny. Like, he'll be in the middle of the living room break dancing. He's just hilarious. But yeah, he took one, he took one hip hop class that was the dance class. He took it. Wasn't with the. To get my hip hop soul. I was baptized man, hip hop, faith. Like the things that I, I'm not joking.

[00:30:38] These are conversations that we have with he's eight years old. Yeah, he is ridiculous. But yeah, he's looking at, he's going to get you to see some videos. We'll have to send you some, he's got them. He makes me, he definitely makes me like record them. He. We have, I have a bunch. Yeah. Yeah. I forget about it.

[00:30:59] Cause like the kids are always like film this and film that and you're like, yeah.

[00:31:05] Um, let's see. And kind of expanding on that. Like, do you. Would you find yourself kind of expanding on those areas or those John was like, what do you offer right now? Yeah. What do you offer for classes? How does that work? Yeah, so right now, um, our, our main classes that we offer are, uh, something we call groovy moves, which is like our upbeat jazzy class.

[00:31:28] We have. A ballet class and we have a hip hop class as well. Um, we have a musical theater and then we also have creative movement, which is, um, very like you use your imagination. There's a lot of sensory tools. So a lot of our students that are, you know, higher need, um, usually go into those classes because it's less.

[00:31:49] Choreography and technique it's more about, it's really kind of like a dance therapy, music therapy experience. And do you do like a recital at the end of the year? Like a show kind of. Well, we would have normally, sorry, that was so like terrible. Sorry. It would have been this month, which is really sad, but, um, yeah, we will going forward.

[00:32:13] We definitely will have we, we follow the school calendar. So we started in the fall. We go through may and then June and July or summer camp. Oh, this is your first. Is this your first like season? Yeah. Oh, got it. Okay. So we opened last step. We make we maybe no promises. Don't make promises live air. Okay.

[00:32:37] Let's start over. We may be coming to Tennessee. Okay. This summer. So in to Nashville this summer. Yeah. So if we do, we're going to have to swing by let me know. Yeah. We'll bring our masks. Of course. Yeah. I got some friends to visit like 12 years since we said we were, we haven't been down in 12 years.

[00:32:57] We're terrible. Wow. My daughter went down. We sent our daughter down. Um, it doesn't hurt cops. Sorry guys. She's making that up. That she didn't really get up yet. We sent her, we sent her on a plane by herself. But, um, we have not, we haven't been down in 12 years, so we haven't visited. Oh, wow. We definitely were do trip, but we, we may be going down just really depends on all of this stuff and how quickly it kind of clears.

[00:33:22] Yeah. Yeah. But I mean, what comes first? The freedom of the apocalypse either way we can get down there. Yeah. So it depends on all that. Yeah. We'll definitely. We definitely have to come check everything out. Yeah. Little lady will have to break dance for you. Yeah. I was going to say, I can see some of this, like these skills in person.

[00:33:42] He won't, you're like, I love it. Stop. Um, what would you say to our audience? If they can't access you and they really want to enroll their child in something like this. Um, and there's maybe a local dance studio around, is there a way for them to incorporate their child into a main street? Honestly. Yeah, it depends on the studio.

[00:34:10] I mean, hopefully I actually just sent out an email today to our newsletter list. Um, and the intro was okay. You know, now more than ever, there are dance studios that are, are offering classes or programs like you mentioned, um, for, for individuals with special needs. The difference with us is that we've kind of flipped the typical dance studio model on its head.

[00:34:33] And we've designed a studio that's specifically for individuals who have some type of disability, but it's also open to individuals who don't have disabilities as well. Um, so yeah, you, you may have to ask around. Um, but hopefully I think that it's, it's more common now definitely than it was. Like I said, whenever I did some research.

[00:34:53] Yeah. You know, like that was almost 10 years ago now. And I could barely find a single studio that was even offering anything. Now it's definitely headed in the right direction. Yeah. I mean, I would hope, I would think that probably the best bet would be maybe find some people in your community that would be also interested so that you get like a whole class together.

[00:35:16] Totally now, so that there, that you can kind of show, if you find a studio, like I know the studio around us, there's, it's one full class. They, I think did it in tandem with a, um, disability reasons sources group. So they kind of had a non-for-profit to work with, um, which I think helped kind of encourage dance studios to do it.

[00:35:39] Um, Because I just think this is such a great idea. Like you said, like bringing that OT, that PT, bringing, bringing that, um, that collaboration, that therapy, and just having some outlet for these kids now, specifically, even just something for them that's outside of the traditional mainstream schooling is so important.

[00:36:02] It's huge. So important and like even just the music aspect of it, I mean, you know, music is like so powerful. It can be really healing. So, um, yeah, it just, it makes sense. Yeah. Right. And if, if you build it, they will come to, you know, and it is. In my opinion, where I said this last episode, we're in a pivotal time where everything is growing and the resources are there and people can find these outlets and these sorts of programs now, but it is just a matter of time to make sure that those people, you know, that are searching, they find it and now they can get connected.

[00:36:38] And it's just a matter of time of building that up. And I think we live in a time right now where. Because of, you know, the internet and all of the information that's going on. It's, everything's at our fingertips and it's so accessible, um, minus the, you know, the current situation right now. But once all this is done with, again, I can see this being absolutely huge because even in.

[00:37:03] Like four years ago. I mean, you talk about the exponential growth in these resources in, in these programs and having that, you know, a dance studio that has all inclusive instead of it just having a, well, we can take your child into our, you know, and we'll make them feel inclusive. It's no, this is specifically an all-inclusive.

[00:37:24] Program for children with disabilities, you know? And so that's monumental compared to where we were even, like I said, four years ago, for sure. Yeah. Way more options. And I mean, the, the goal too is exactly what you just said. Like, we want to make sure that. We meet every single student where they are, whatever that means.

[00:37:45] If you need a one-on-one volunteer every single time, it's the same person. Great. If you don't great, you know, if you need this type of schedule, we just make sure that we make it work for every individual in the room, rather than saying, okay, you need to adapt to the way that we do things that that is giving a completely inclusive experience.

[00:38:04] In my opinion, trouble finding, meeting those needs, like finding the resources. For yourself to be able to meet those needs. Like how many kids do you have in a class? It depends on the class. Um, average they're, they're rather small. So average would be like five to eight students. Um, and honestly we're very blessed in, in the resource department.

[00:38:27] I mean, I will send out an email and. For our, our volunteers. I make sure that for those people who do need a buddy every week, it's the same person. So they're getting that consistency, but it's amazing. I will send out an email to our volunteer base and be like, Hey, I just had a new person register. I'm going to need somebody to come every Wednesday from four to four 45.

[00:38:49] Yeah, who wants to spot within 30 minutes? I'll have like three to five people who've already reached out and were like, I'll do it. I mean, that's a big commitment to, to say I'll do this every single couple months. This is the whole school year. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. That's for like, through, for the whole school year, August through may.

[00:39:07] So, um, that, that is encouraging alone, you know, like people want to see this be a success and they want to be a part of it. Are you reaching out for volunteers? They find us. Wow. Yeah. It's crazy. Every time someone new comes along, I'm like, where'd you find this Instagram? Every time. I mean, every once in a while, you know, it may be something, you know, we heard about you from this person or that person, but it's, it's usually social media.

[00:39:35] So I have a very, like, I have a love, hate relationship with social media for that reason. I think it can be a very, very powerful tool and, um, great marketing, but it can, you know, also have a lot of crummy parts to it. Yeah. Cause you ended up sucking your life, trying to kind of utilize it and making sure you're reaching out and.

[00:39:54] Engaging. Yeah. When we talk about a power, like it being a powerful tool, nobody's dictating whether it's going to be a good power, a bad power. It is a powerful tool, whether it's positive or negative. Yeah, sure. That is right. How do you think, um, where do you see or how would you like move inclusive to move in the future?

[00:40:19] Like where do you see it going in the future? Um, so locally once, once we, you know, reopen and everything, I would love to, to double our enrollment, um, a lot of our. Are people, they don't realize that, you know, we just started tapping into typical kids signing up for classes, which is awesome. These parents are coming to us and they're like, my kid doesn't have any type of disability, but I love what you're doing.

[00:40:44] And I want them to be in this environment. Um, can we sign up? You know, so that is really, really cool. So just continuing to spread the word that, you know, we are a resource for literally everyone. Um, And then yeah, like we talked, I mean, I'm a big, like big dreamer. I'm a big visionary person. So, um, expansion is definitely something that is on my mind, but, um, I think it will happen, you know, when the timing is right and.

[00:41:12] Yeah, I think it's, um, really important that you point out that you're catering to the disability community, but you're inclusive to everyone. You're including, you know, the typical child as well as a child that is the disability community. It's a big deal to in our household that are, that both are included in everything.

[00:41:32] We can't see our community or the world changing to include our children. If everybody's not inclusive. And then by cursive, you know, if there, we always talk about making sure everyone understands what our world looks like and be in educating and everything, you can't educate. If. Children are, are growing up around other children as if everybody's the same.

[00:41:58] And this is what our world looks like, and everything's the same and no, one's different. And if they're not playing together and they're not learning together and they're not in the same environment, how are they going to learn that way? And so I think it's really important that you're doing that inclusive.

[00:42:13] I mean, well, thank you. And I mean, I think that again, being someone who, who didn't grow up around anyone with any type of disability, Thankfully, I've always been just like very open, um, to all types of people. But a lot of times I don't, I don't think that it's, you know, that they're trying to be negative or rude.

[00:42:35] Like people genuinely like don't know how to act sometimes, you know, around people who aren't like them. And so opening an opportunity for, to do exactly what you just said to bring people together disabilities or not, um, to learn from one another. I think it can, um, You know, do a lot of good in a lot of ways more than just, Oh, for sure.

[00:42:55] Just dance for sure. I think it, I think it's, I think it's more than important. It's pivotal for our community. Um, and everybody's children and adults alike that, that is kind of happening all across the board. And I think that you, you doing that, you know, using the word inclusive as the way it's that it's defined is necessary.

[00:43:18] For sure as well. Yeah. It's impressive. Thank you for doing that. Thank you. Also same, you know, same turns the, the, the emotion of empathy, like understanding, like just being able to comprehend what other people might be going through, you know, putting yourself in those shoes. Yeah. That's empathy. In my opinion, in my whole life has been a huge.

[00:43:44] Uh, you know, huge factor for me to be able to relate or to be able to say, yes, this, I think this, because I have, I mean, imagine yourself in that situation. And I don't know. I think a lot of people put thought to that, you know, they're just like, Oh, well, you know, you can do that. Or, but it's like, but. If we all just have a little more empathy, I think we'd all have a little better understanding.

[00:44:08] And then too, as you can say, you have so many volunteers that want to respond and help because they have put themselves in that situation. Or, you know, they know where somebody in that situation or whatever it may be. They see that. And that's, that's a huge factor. Well, I think they see, I mean, I think it's a big Testament to, they see what you're doing.

[00:44:30] It's clear. Yeah. It's direct and hearing a lot of people too, that come to us. I mean, you know, a good portion of our volunteers will say, you know, Oh, well I have a brother or sister that has downs in Iraq or whatever it may be. But I would say at least half of them are like me and that they don't have a personal connection.

[00:44:49] Um, but they they're interested and they want to be a part of it. And so that, that too is really. Encouraging, um, that, you know, it's not that people don't want to do this type of thing. There's maybe just not enough opportunities for them to, so to be able to open that up is, is really cool too. Yeah, that's a good point.

[00:45:09] Absolutely. Um, so one big thing that we ask all our guests is if you had 30 seconds to speak to our community, what advice would you give them? 30 seconds. Oh my gosh. Does it have to be 36? I know I can edit it to whatever it's going to be,

[00:45:28] but to our millions upon millions of listeners, you know, you have, it's a huge stage. So feel free to say what you want. Right. Uh, do you mean like, so like parents or just like the special needs community? Yeah. Or parents mostly. Yeah. Um, let's see, what would I say? I think I would say, I will say right now I've been emailing all of our parents and caregivers and just being like.

[00:45:58] How are you like, this is such a challenging season for the world right now. And I know that it has to be even, you know, crazier for parents that have this extra burden of, you know, dealing with different things that they may have to, um, depending upon their, their situation. And I'm like, you're, you're doing amazing.

[00:46:17] Even if you don't feel like it, you are doing amazing. So hang in there, um, and, and give yourself a little credit because. Like I said, this is a tough time for everyone. And I tell people all the time, I've learned so much from just sitting in the lobby of our studio and watching parents, you know, with their kids or caregivers, with their, with their kids.

[00:46:37] And, um, Again, I keep I keep saying this, but, you know, as someone who didn't grow up around that, I just really had no idea, like how much goes into your every day life. And I think that parents and caregivers of those with special needs truly have superpowers that like other people do not possess. And, um, yeah, just give yourself some credit because I think that, that you're already doing amazing and.

[00:47:06] Yeah, that's a little straight to you. I didn't really love this family. Oh, you're sweet.

[00:47:22] That was really good. That's my only job on this show is to be funny. You're hilarious.

[00:47:35] Where can everyone find you? We know you're on social media, but where can they find you on your social media? Website, things like that. Yes. So website is www dot move, inclusive dance.com. And all of our social media handles are the same. It's all at move inclusive dance and you are located in Nashville.

[00:47:56] Are you right outside Nashville? We are in technically we're in Bellevue, um, which is, it's a Nashville zip code, but Bellevue is a West area of, of Nashville, Tennessee seaside in Nashville.

[00:48:12] Awesome. So if you're in the Nashville area, definitely check out, move inclusive. And if you want to check out their social media move, inclusive dance. At middle class to get to everywhere. Um, I would definitely highly recommend checking them out. Um, they are pretty cool. Bad-ass I'm impressed. Everyone else should be too.

[00:48:33] We will link everything on our social media when everything goes live. Oh yeah. We'll make sure that we link it all. Yes. Super linked, hyperlinked, all that great linkage all the way. And I'll make sure, I mean, I follow you, you guys do, but make sure that you like, will you be sending emails or something when this all goes live, because I want to make sure that I blast it to my families as well.

[00:48:58] Plague, you can't get rid of us. We're like the coronavirus. You can't get rid of us. Yeah, you did this interview. You're stuck with us forever. So you just put your hands on your face. Good. Well, thank you so much, Lauren. We really appreciate you coming on and being a part of this and. Not, especially when we were a Nova, this is where like, not even live yet and trusting that we will.

[00:49:26] Yeah. You won't regret this. You won't regret this. I interviewed with them when they were in, nobody live in large. You made them big. Thank you so much Lauren for your time and we'll let you know when everything's live. And if we're definitely making a trip down. Yeah, let's do. And I'm curious, please send me videos of the break dancing because I'm very  of him.

[00:49:54] Thanks so much.

[00:49:59] Oh my gosh. Have a good night. You too. Bye. Well, thank you so much for listening. We really hope you enjoyed this episode as always, please make sure you share with a friend and leave. You can find all the resources mentioned in this episode, on our Facebook or Instagram on, at special about special. Thanks again.

[00:50:21] And we'll see you soon.