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COVID - "100 Days of SIP"

Updated: Jun 14, 2021

"100 Days of SIP"

Tuesday, June 23rd 2020

By, Jessica Rae

It’s been a crazy, wonderful, full bodied, emotional journey. As we enter our 100th day of shelter-in-place, there are no words to explain how appreciative we are to our staff, teachers and community. We’ve invited you into our homes, as did you, we’ve shared, and opened our hearts through the COVID-19’s world-wide pandemic, mental health awareness, the Black Lives Matter movement, and this uneasy feeling of where to go from here as businesses, whether to to close permanently or begin to open their doors.

As a business owner, I’m used to preparing and projecting business plans, financial models, and continued goal-setting opportunities in advance. Once shelter-in-place was mandated, we launched our business plan the same day, rushing out with running a never before tested program. And, it worked! We were one of the first studios to launch virtual classes, and one of the only studios to offer 60+ classes a week, supporting local and guest instructors across the state and globally. We also featured other classes outside dance and fitness, including drawing + painting workshops, facial skincare, a cooking class, makeup tutorials, and shined some light on our brothers and sisters, who are fitness activists. The belief of human connection has and continues being tested through creativity and passion more than ever. We’ve been empowered to redefine our footing, creating a pathway where we can stand firm hand-in-hand. Our power as human kind is endless, supporting each other virtually, marching as one voice in the stance against injustice, while donating and actively involved through educating ourselves with open discussions; tackling uncomfortable conversations. I’ve never been a business owner that defers my personal life away from my business life. I believe that if you are a business owner you have the power to do what you love everyday. It’s all one big beautiful life. When the time came to voice a stance, I am proud that we came together in support of the arts, in support of our black and LGBTQ community, and in support of human kindness.

I’m proud of everything we’ve accomplished as a community. I’ve taken some time off work to reflect back on everything that has happened throughout these past 100 days and I feel gratitude. Gratitude for the services from our volunteers, the long hours of work from our tiny management team, the creative and vulnerable hours spent by our teachers, and the endless support from our students, showing up day after day, entering our virtual dance studio with a smile. People say “a smile goes a long way”. As a teacher, your smile, your presence, your energy, are the best natural form of medicine anyone can ask for. It’s a bond of trust that we continue to develop and reciprocate to better our lives.

The past few months have been difficult to prepare and plan. The most common question asked was, “Do you plan on reopening?”. The easy answer would be yes, but what does yes include? The idea of fighting against the odds did seem like the right approach for such a long time. Agonizing over a large rent invoice from the past months, payroll/labor costs, general overhead, and new appliances to meet COVID guidelines and regulations, just felt too heavy. That didn’t even include how we were going to continue operations online and in-studio. Operating live classes requires an entire team. We currently have 3 managers and 7 volunteer hosts. After preparing what projected expenses would look like, we would be bankrupt within just 1 month. The emotional attachment to the studio, as we just remodeled and expanded the studio January 2019, was getting buried; as the answer of “closing the Studio and Agency” was looking like the more appropriate option. Maybe it was time for me to re-settle as an individual.

Last week, we received a few calls from our landlord about giving us 110% support during this journey, considering Rae Studios has been a resident of 9 years inside the Native Sons Building, with a developed community relationship in wellness. In the same week, we also received a few letters of acceptance for our PPP loan. We still don’t have all the answers for the opening date, but what we do know is that we CAN OPEN. We will send out further information for opening date procedures and policies once the city approves opening doors.

We’ve learned so much more from these past months than some people learn in a lifetime. Listening, educating, learning, unlearning, and rebalancing what wellness means to each person. We encourage you to join us as we continue to educate ourselves as we find the new normal. Please bear with us as we continue to educate, explore, and re-define our new “norm”.

Thank you for your continued support. #raecrewstrong

~Jessica Rae

Want to go down memory lane for our 100 DAYS OF SIP?

Studio Updates:


The Profile: click here

CNBC News: click here

Ashbury Skies : click here

The Lucas Askew Experience Podcast: click here


Free Classes:

List of Spotlights/Special classes:

Spotlight Hip Hop with Samantha Caudle

Spotlight Hip Hop with Sam Allen

Spotlight Heels with KG Stiletto

Drawing and Painting with Natasha

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