Nutrition communications senior Krista Patient has been dancing since she was a child, but it wasn’t until recently she took this love of dance and opened her own dance studio.
Z Room Dance and Fitness, where she teaches Zumba, barre and yoga classes six days a week, is a way for her to turn her love of dance into a way to help others.
“I just love to dance, and I want to show people that it’s a healthy outlet for exercise and a balanced life,” Patient said.
The studio, which opened Oct. 1 after more than a month of construction, is something Patient feels will allow her to combine dance and her education to fit her perfectly.
“I have never been so sure of something in my life,” Patient said. “I really wanted to use my love of dance, and this is the perfect way to do it.”
Patient became a certified Zumba instructor last year but was unable to find a job using the certification, because she lacked experience.
She began renting space at studios to hold her classes, but after a while, she said she felt like there was a better way to handle it.
“I thought to myself, ‘I’m paying rent to someone else. Why don’t I just pay rent on my own space?’” Patient said.
Patient said she felt like it was an “extremely long process” to get an agent, find a building and open her studio.
Patient said her client Donna Knopf was a large influence in helping her find an agent and make the transition.
Knopf had been taking classes from Patient, because she liked the way Patient helped her figure out how to do the steps and fit the routine to her needs.
“There were a lot of issues I had, and Krista … she just has a passion for what she does, and it shines through,” Knopf said. “She’s like a little cheerleader.”
This is typical of Patient’s teaching style, Knopf said.
“You don’t feel discombobulated,” Knopf said. “You don’t feel that you don’t have balance and you aren’t doing perfectly. You are just getting in and celebrating the moment.”
Knopf said she was not a very large part of Patient’s efforts to start her studio.
“I don’t think I did very much,” Knopf said. “I was just this little voice that quietly whispered, ‘You can do this.’”
Knopf said she can see Patient expanding her business and doing a lot of new things.
“Just last night, (Knopf, Patient and another client) were talking,” Knopf said. “It just sort of hit me that if she can persevere and if she gets enough students to get this off the ground, she could do a franchise or something.”
Patient said she hopes to gain more students and expand her studio and the number of classes she offers.
Z Room Dance and Fitness offers two to three classes Saturday through Thursday. Prices vary between the types of classes and deals are available, but individual Zumba classes cost $7 a session.
Patient said she offers beginning and regular Zumba classes to cater to every level of dancer.
She also occasionally holds Zumba parties where she creates a party feel and turns off the lights. This, she said, allows those that don’t feel very comfortable dancing in front of others really let go and get into the routines.
Mila Rose Osher said she has been taking classes from Patient since January of 2013 because she enjoys the way Patient teaches the class and her enthusiasm.
“Sometimes the other teachers don’t seem as enthusiastic, but I feel like its funner,” Osher said. “I feel like we have our own little family.”
Zumba and the other classes Osher takes at Z Room have helped her lose weight and feel better about life, she said.
“I had no idea what Zumba was like or how much I could enjoy it until I took it,” Osher said.
Patient said she feels like Zumba is “exercise in disguise” because it is a way to burn calories while having fun.
In addition to running the studio, Patient works a full-time job at Scottsdale Insurance Company and attends school. She said she is able to manage it all because she prioritizes things.
“I’m crazy,” Patient said jokingly. “I am extremely organized. … I make lists. I think that’s why I’ll be successful as a business owner.”
Despite the time it has taken Patient to open the studio and the time it requires, she said she does not regret the decision.
“When I’m up there dancing,” she said, “I know it was all worth it.”
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