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Meet Sara Gonzalez of Impact Dance x Wellness in Azusa

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Gonzalez.

Sara, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I was four years old, my mom put me in a ballet class at our local dance studio. I immediately fell in love with dance and quickly realized that it would be my lifelong passion. Dance taught me how to be disciplined, how to express myself, the beauty of creativity, and so many other valuable life lessons that I would carry with me. At the age of sixteen, I became an official instructor at that same studio (then known as Impact Dance Academy) and began dancing professionally. I worked on several different television shows including Disney Channel’s Wizards of Waverly Place, Lab Rats, Liv and Maddie, and Nickelodeon’s Victorious. I also traveled to China and worked as a back-up dancer for various Chinese artists.

Throughout my dance career, I always came back to teach at Impact. It was there that I found my passion for educating the next generation of dancers. I felt like my love for dance had multiplied exponentially because I was able to share its magic and beauty in a way that made a positive impact on my students’ lives. In September of 2014, at the age of 22, the owner of Impact (who had been a long-time mentor of mine) shared that she planned on retiring and asked if I wanted to buy the business from her. I was ecstatic and eagerly accepted! Since then, I’ve gotten to dive into the dance studio-owner life: directing and coordinating productions, coaching and choreographing competition teams, styling costumes, editing music, and of course continuing my love and passion for teaching dance and educating the youth.

In 2018, my best friend and fellow Impact alum, Meagan Manahan and I decided to relaunch Impact and begin to incorporate a wellness element to the studio. We wanted to not only teach dance, but offer a space for people of all ages to be their absolute best selves, whether it be through yoga, fitness, or meditation classes. As a result of this new vision, Impact Dance x Wellness was born. Since then, we’ve added so many incredible people to the Impact Family and continue to spread our love of dance and wellness throughout our community.

Has it been a smooth road?
The early days were challenging for sure. At that point, I had many years of experience as a dancer, choreographer and teacher, but learning the business side of things took some time to get comfortable with and perfect. Luckily, the previous owner of Impact, Danielle Baca, helped me so much along the way so I’m very grateful for her.

Nowadays, the most challenging thing has been trying to navigate our way through this pandemic. We’ve adjusted our curriculum over to online classes and have definitely had to think outside the box when it comes to our Competition teams and our shows.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Impact Dance x Wellness is a studio that specializes in dance and fitness. We offer affordable classes in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Yoga and more for ages 2 through adult. We pride ourselves on fostering a positive and empowering environment for our students–a place where they can feel inspired to learn and to be their best selves. Our students get the chance to participate in our Annual Recital every August and perform at other local events such as the LA County Fair. We also have a competition team that is comprised of our Little Stars (ages 4+), Mini Stars (7+), Varsity (ages 9+) and Elite (14+). Our teams compete at several local dance competitions and are given the opportunity to be fully immersed in all styles of dance.

Through our “Make an Impact” movement, we host events and encourage our students to participate in community service and charity work in order to share their love and light with those in need. I think what I am most proud of about Impact is that we focus on not only teaching dance and fitness skills, but on teaching our students good values of compassion, teamwork, dedication, and being an overall good human. We are so blessed to have a staff of instructors who are not only incredibly talented at their craft, but also live their lives by these same values. I think that is truly what sets us apart.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I honestly feel like if you have something you are passionate about and you want to share it with the world, then it will be valuable in any city. One of my favorite things about what I do is being able to offer affordable dance and fitness classes to people of all backgrounds. I think the location we are in helps make this possible.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Ryan Walvoord

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