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The Daunting Tasks – How Studio Deep Roots Starts

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It has been a crazy 3-4 weeks over here at Chez Shay. And I guess I just wanted to share some of it, get it outta my head and onto “paper”.

This time last month, I drove past a commercial space I lost out on 10 years ago. I had applied to take over the lease, after multiple visits with trusted friends (including a contractor friend) to assure me it was what I thought it could be. Sadly, an application came in the morning before mine arrived, and given that our credit checks were both stellar, the owner went with the first past the post. And ever since, I never found its match, in opportunity or price. I remember my friend Celise telling me at the time that people go out of business all the time, and to keep an eye on it. You never know…  So every time I drove past, I would watch it in my rear-view, wondering…

I had pretty much given up on ever owning a studio. Not that I hadn’t tried, but every opportunity slipped through my fingers for one reason or another–usually price. Seattle is just too damn dense and expensive, I was convinced. Finding a space anywhere near where my established student base had been coming to for almost 20 years just wasn’t going to happen. I stopped driving past that space a long time ago. It actually kinda hurt every time I saw it, imagining what might have been.

And then, early in July, I was on my way to an appointment that took me past it. Hadn’t been by in months…maybe years? Lo and behold, it looked empty. I couldn’t be late, so had to keep driving, but vowed to check back…ya know…just in case. Two days later, my husband and I were on our way to brunch with his sister. “Why are you going this way?” he asked. I explained that THE SPACE (he knew what I meant) looked empty and I wanted a second look. Sure enough, the space looked empty and I asked if we could pop by after brunch to see if there was a number to call. Knowing this was The Dream, and not just that it was The Space, he enthusiastically said yes.

48 hours later I was touring the space. Less than a week later I signed a Letter of Intent. Within what felt like a breath, a heartbeat, I was signing a daunting lease and committing to the biggest spiritual and physical leap of faith since my marriage (talk about an encouraging comparison!) Why? Because I cannot live life as ‘Shay’ knowing I walked away; I can’t go to my grave saying I never tried. I may fail. I am keenly aware of the mighty struggle of dance studios to meet their financial obligations, let alone anyone in the arts being in the black, let alone the current downturn in the business of bellydance. Every sign says go back…don’t try…walk away.

But here I am.

So far, it’s meant a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of fretful days, and also a lot of amazingly validating and joyful moments. I said right in my crowdfunding video that I am terrible at asking for help. But I bit the bullet and asked, and it turns out people wanted to help. What?! Yeah. My students and friends have been stepping up in word and deed, pouring a lot of love and sweat into making this new home shine.

Money continues to be a sticking point, since we haven’t even hit 50% of our goal. But eagerness to pitch in has bolstered my resolve to make this happen, and I am well happy with how we are moving ahead! Here’s hoping the universe will provide the rest.

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Shay Moore is the director and primary instructor at Deep Roots Dance in Seattle, WA. She loves writing, movies, costuming, knitting, cooking, and bellydance to the moon and back again; and loves her amazing husband and doggies even more than that.

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