Local dance studio struggling to survive pandemic economy

The owner of a local dance studio said she’s going to try every single move before she ever considers closing her business for good.

Deepali Jamwal opened Live2Dance in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood in October 2019.

It was only months later in March she was forced to close her studio the first time. Then, state restrictions shut her doors again in November under the latest state guidance that bans indoor fitness and training through December 14.

Jamwal said her studio infuses Bollywood style dance and their mission is to keep good vibes only.

“It’s my vision to build strong, positive communities and just spread the joy of dancing amongst every spectrum of age, culture, religion,” said Jamwal. “Small businesses are the life and soul of a city. If they shut down, it’s going to take forever for them to come back and for your city to develop to what it was.”

Jamwal used to be a commercial real estate investment professional who decided to switch careers to pursue her passion. It all started four years ago on a volunteer basis. She said the Live2Dance community of five that was meeting in people’s basements to dance has exploded into a community of 250 people.

In the early days of the pandemic, virtual dance classes were strong with anywhere between 75-100 people signing up. In more recent days, Jamwal said those numbers have dwindled down to the single digits, and she’s cancelled class because no one is signed up.

“We’re such an in-person experience industry and we rely on foot traffic. We rely on building camaraderie and building strong relationships,” said Jamwal.

The seven-day rolling case average increased more than 2.5 times between mid-October to mid-November, according to Washington Department of Health, and now health officials are bracing for a surge following the Thanksgiving holiday.

Jamwal said she’s seen businesses and people alike ignoring safety guidance, and said she feels like they’re being penalized for it.

Recently, Jamwal has been brainstorming ways to keep her business afloat, and decided to call other dance studios to see if they’d be interested in partnering to share ideas and support one another.

“So I was reaching out to various dance studios in the neighborhood, and I want to say about 50 percent of them have already closed down. Like they have shut down their businesses for good. It’ll be so sad, that after this pandemic, to come back to a world where dance studios don’t exist anymore.”

Jamwal is encouraging people to identify a small business to reach out to, then asking how to help.

In her case, signing up for a dance class or donating to their fundraiser will make a bigger difference than you can probably imagine.