Sui Generis aims to provide unique dance experience
Opening a dance studio was the last thing on Deshae Edness’ mind, a year ago.
She was comfortable running her dance company Sui Generis as a performance team, and training at borrowed venues.
Then the pandemic hit.
“When Covid-19 happened, we were practising in a school hall,” she said. “When they closed down due to Covid-19, we did not have a venue.”
After searching for months for another hall to rent, she realised that Sui Generis really needed a home of its own. As a teenager, she had dreamt of having her own dance studio.
“I didn’t find anything for a few months,” Ms Edness, 31, said. “I looked the whole summer. Then September came and I reached out to our dancers to say we did not have a location to practice at.”
A dance mom directed her to a property for rent on Front Street. The landlord agreed to allow her to renovate it to make a dance studio.
She admitted it was scary to be starting up a dance business during a global health crisis.
“I thought, should I go for it,” Ms Edness said. “I decided to just have faith. I said, let me just do this right now. I felt like it was the right time, and I might not get another chance again.”
She upgraded the space to be fresh and new, but the studio opening was delayed a month when the new dance floors were slow to ship. Sui Generis was finally able to launch in February.
Sui Generis offers dance classes for students from four years old to adult. They have hip hop, ballet, contemporary, yoga and jazz classes on the roster, so far.
Ms Edness said her students feel like family to her.
“I treat every child that comes in like they are mine,” she said.
One of her dance instructors started with the Sui Generis team when she was seven years old.
The recent uptick in Covid-19 cases has caused more hiccups. Ms Edness was expecting 20 students for a dance camp this month. That has now been shelved.
“I was really disappointed,” Ms Edness said. “I had kids who were excited about the upcoming camp, and I had to tell them it was cancelled.”
A camp they held earlier in the year went well.
“We have had to work around all the changes,” Ms Edness said. “We have had to pivot very quickly. The government is allowing us to practice outside, so we are temporarily having classes at the park. Zoom lessons are another back-up.”
Sui generis is Latin for unique.
“We are unique because we treat our dancers as individuals,” Ms Edness said.
Girls are not shamed out of the school for having the “wrong” body shape. All are welcome.
“We encourage them to be confident,” Ms Edness said. “We are unique also with our dancing and our style. Normally, a lot of people say ‘wow’, when they see us doing performances. They think it is different. We like to incorporate different styles into a dance.”
She said there are many dance studios in Bermuda, but she is confident she can compete.
“Each dance studio owner has their own vision,” she said. “Parents have to choose the dance studio where they feel comfortable.”
Her passion for dance started while she was in middle school in Huntsville, Alabama.
“My mother went to the United States to study teaching,” Ms Edness said. “She took us with her and put us in school. I was scouted for the New Image Dance Team. The coach really inspired me to dance.”
Ms Edness studied business in college. She now works full-time as a personal insurance representative and runs Sui Generis in her spare time. She is also mother of a three year old son, Masai.
“I do dance on the evenings and weekends,” she said. “I have a very good support system. We make it work. I juggle a lot of hats but I get it done.”
Classes at Sui Generis are $200 for the first class. There are discounts for multiple classes per term.
She plans to hold a showcase of her students’ work on the first Sunday of December.
“I do not like the word recital,” she said. “I am tired of hearing that word. I like to put on a show.”
And dancers at the studio already have a gig. On April 12, they will be opening for Tomorrow’s Voices’ virtual conference.
“Their slogan is different, not less,” Ms Edness said. “We love that. We incorporated our dance performance around being different. We have pre-recorded our performance for them."
For more information see www.suigenerisdancestudio.com, call 703-2623, or e-mail email@example.com. See them on Facebook @SGDanceStudioBDA and Instagram @suigenerisdancestudio.