Keep Austin Dancing!

Few things in my life can make me forget about all that’s wrong with the world, my stresses and all the ways life could be so much better.  One of those things is dancing.

Dancing is as universal as music.  No matter what your favorite style is, most people, at some point in their lives, have danced, whether it be with a group of friends, in a crowded place with strangers or in the privacy of their home.  The great thing about dancing is it doesn’t have to be too technical or make sense because it’s about a feeling.

As much as I enjoy to dance, I am NOT a professional dancer. Honestly, I am not even a good dancer, although if I had private dance sessions with Maksim or Val Chmerkovskiy, from Dancing With The Stars, I would definitely work extra hard to become an excellent dancer!

Man.

Oh.

Man!

Sorry…where was I???

Ah, yes…Other than ballet and modern dance lessons I had when I was a kid, I have no formal training in dance. I just like to move when the rhythm of the beat prompts me to, and I’ve been lucky enough to find Dance Austin Studio, a place where I can meet new people, forget about the world and just dance!

Dance Austin Studio is a full service dance studio located in Austin, Texas.  It’s owned and operated by Chi Chi Randolph, a humble Texas gal who has danced for pop artists such as The Black Eye Peas and Nelly, to name a few.  I took my first class at Dance Austin Studio over a year and a half ago and I’ve been hooked ever since.  I go almost every week.  On my way there, I usually toss my worries out the window, so once I arrive, for 55 minutes, nothing else matters but moving my body to the music.

Starting the new year off right, last weekend, Dance Austin Studio held a Free Day of Dance to celebrate 2 years of welcoming women, men and kids of all ages from the greater Austin area who love to dance.  All day all classes were free and new and old students got a chance to try out different classes.  I was there, and I got a chance to see old friends, meet new people, shake my tail feather and of course, take a few photos !

Here’s Chi Chi having fun leading and taking a class:

This week, I had the opportunity to ask her a few questions about how her dream of opening Dance Austin Studio, became a reality.

Starling: When did you start dancing professionally?

Chi Chi:  In 1998 I landed my first professional gig on the BET show Teen Summit.  However, I was still in school so I did not start dancing full time until 2005.

Starling:  When did you decide that opening a dance studio was something you wanted to do?

Chi Chi:  In 2003 I decided that I wanted to own a dance studio, but I pursued the “Corporate America” path first and then shortly after that my professional career took off so I had to put that dream on hold… which turned out to be the best decision!

Starling:  What makes Dance Austin Studio different from other local dance studios?

Chi Chi:  We offer a variety of unique dance & fitness classes for Adults. There are very few places that adults can go enjoy a great dance class with other adults. We have signature classes like Sexy Stiletto Fit and Go Go Cardio Mix that you can’t get anywhere else in Austin. We also offer a small kids program that focuses more on learning dance skills and having fun. Though we do offer a showcase at the end of each semester, we don’t solely focus on the pressures of a “recital”, because we want children to enjoy their dance experience.

Starling:  In five years, where do you see Dance Austin Studio?

Chi Chi:  I see Dance Austin expanding even more! Adding additional studios with larger space, more class offerings, more unique styles, an expanded kids program, and a retail store.  I would like to grow our exposure in the Austin Dance Community and become a household name.

Of course, I had to ask a few questions to get to know a bit more about Chi Chi when she’s not dancing and running a successful dance studio.

Starling:  If you weren’t dancing and busy handling the day-to-day operations for Dance Austin Studio, what would you be doing?

Chi Chi:  I would be at home with my 3 year old daughter working on my next business or project. I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I love to produce and choreograph shows, as well as work with others to help them accomplish their goals.

Starling:  What motto do you try to live by?

Chi Chi:  Dream. Create. Inspire.

Starling:  What book are you currently reading?

Chi Chi:  Lioness Arising by Lisa Bevere

Starling:  What’s your favorite reality TV show?

Chi Chi:  I’m ashamed to say – The Real Housewives of Any City

Starling:  Tell me one thing most people don’t know about you.

Chi Chi:  Here’s more than one — I have an engineering degree and an MBA.  I’m more comfortable in the background rather than being in front of the camera (even though I love to perform) and I love sweets (currently working on breaking this addiction!).

And of course the last question is one I try to ask myself daily, so I have to ask:

Starling:  What made you smile today?

Chi Chi:  My 3 year old hugging me randomly and telling me she loves her mommy 🙂

Since I’ve been going to Dance Austin Studio for classes, I’ve noticed that Chi Chi is more than a dance instructor, choreographer and entrepreneur.  She is a great source of inspiration.  Her goal is to ensure every single person who takes a class has a great time and leaves encouraged to Keep Austin Dancing!

For more information about adult and kids classes at Dance Austin Studio, located at 9012 Research Blvd Suite C-5 in Austin, TX, visit http://www.danceaustinstudio.com.  Find out more about Chi Chi Randolph and the many music artists and dancers she’s worked with at http://www.ChiChiRandolph.com.
[Maksim and Val Chmerkovskiy photo credit: Steffen Thalemann, celebrity photographer for http://www.MaksimChmerkovskiy.com and http://www.ValChmerkovskiy.com.  All other images belong to Verna Starling for The Starling Life blog.]
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