Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Lawrence.
Amy, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Life never happens according to plan. Ever since I was 8 I wanted to be a musician. I earned my bachelor’s degree in vocal performance at The Boston Conservatory. Towards the end of my third year, I started losing my voice which I later found out was due to a cyst on my vocal cord, surprise, you’re welcome.
By the end of my 4th year in school, I could barely sing and inevitably needed surgery to just have a chance at getting my voice back. As an active and social person, I needed to find an outlet to help me through this rough time and I ended up going salsa dancing quite often at the Havana Club in Central Square, Cambridge. They got to know me so well there, they eventually asked me to help out with their group classes. At about the same time, I tried out for the MIT Ballroom Dance Team because they had an amazing reputation for winning competitions, mostly due to the fact that they had champions for coaches. Many probably don’t know this competitive ballroom team is a force to be reckoned with, they are the best team in New England if not the country.
Having previous dance experience in my youth in ballet and jazz dance and with the training I had on the team, I quickly climbed the ladder of the collegiate ballroom dance circuit. In 2 years I was at the “Gold” level, the highest level before “Open” which is the highest possible level within the sport.
In 2006, 3 days after graduating college I had vocal surgery and that same year I started working as a ballroom dance instructor at Fred Astaire Dance Studio, Boston. During the 2.5 years I was working at this studio I was also attending vocal therapy once a week. I was hired at the New York City “Westside” FADS location in 2009 and quickly transported my life to the big apple. After a year I was FIRED after the owner found out I wanted to start my own studio. Thus “Amy Lawrence Ballroom Dance” was born, employee of 1 teaching independently in New York City.
I was still pursing singing and after many disappointing auditions, I decided to move back home to Los Angeles. Since then, I’ve worked with celebrities, choreographers and fellow performers in LA. Teaching has never felt like work. I teach students of all ages and levels, primarily first dances for engaged couples. I’ve always been an independent person, setting my own rules and not having to report to anyone but myself. I enjoy meeting new people and helping my students with their goals every week and they’re not always dance related. It was never my master plan, but sometimes life throws you a curveball. Singing is still a part of my life but maybe not as much as I would like. My most recent adventure was singing as a soloist on tour in China with a 48 piece orchestra. Like I said, life cannot be planned.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The road has not been steady, but I feel if life were a straight line it would be awfully boring. I’m very lucky to be where I am now, but it has taken a lot if work. I’m looking forward to the journey ahead.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Amy Lawrence Ballroom Dance story. Tell us more about the business.
Amy Lawrence Ballroom Dance specializes in ballroom dance instruction for weddings, social dancing and competition. I teach all styles of partner dance including waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, quickstep, rumba, cha-cha, salsa, samba, hustle, swing, lindy hop, west coast swing, and some contemporary and hip-hop. I specialize in wedding dance choreography mainly because I am requested this the most. Having over 40 5-star reviews on Yelp primarily coming from brides and grooms have shaped my clientele. Salsa and swing are the first and second most popular social dances, the third being Argentine Tango. I teach these dances in private and group settings, all with the goal of being able to walk up to a complete stranger (or friend or spouse) and confidently ask them to dance. Los Angeles is full of fun places to dance and I aim to get the word out and get people out dancing again.
One of my strengths is putting my clients at ease from the get-go. 75% of our population would rather jump out of a plane than take a dance class.
Knowing this, it is my objective to prove at the first lesson that dancing is actually a whole lot of fun and much easier to learn than they think. I can confidently say that I reach that objective 90% of the time. The other 10%? Well, some have thicker walls to break down. For my wedding clients, I try to show that learning a first dance can be an enjoyable project to do together no matter how elaborate or simple.
When you take a lesson with me, you are getting personalized instruction with your own goals in mind. I am not a franchise with special package deals aiming to empty your wallet. Although ballroom dance instruction is a luxury service, it does not always have to be expensive. Even if it is not with me, my hope is that people find a new love of dance and want to do it more. Top secret fact: it keeps you young. But don’t tell anyone.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I like to say I didn’t find ballroom dance, ballroom dance found me. It was there for me at a time when I needed it. It has helped me through rough times and created beautiful moments. I’m not sure if that is luck or fate but either way, I’m glad it happened to me. I like to think you are lucky if you find a job that makes you happy and then it is no longer work.
- $10 for the first private or group class
- Website: www.amylawrencedance.com
- Phone: (626) 644-9591
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: alballroomdance
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/ALBallroomDance/
- Yelp: www.yelp.com/biz/amy-lawrence-ballroom-dance-los-angeles