In the Beginning…
To find where the concept of WOW! Dance Fit has it’s roots, you’ll need to travel back, way back, to Seoul, South Korea, in 1984. It was at this time that our founder, Kyong Capwell, first fell in love with aerobic dance and the joy of helping people live an active and healthy lifestyle, and she began her training to become an instructor. After 3 grueling months of training (comprised of 10 – 12 hour days, 6 days per week), Kyong earned her certification in Aerobic Dance & Instruction from the Korean Pro Body Building Association, a certification she maintains to this day. She was the top graduate in her class, and went on to not only teach aerobic dance classes, but was also honored to become one of the judges for graduating students of this intense training regimen.
Turning the pages of time…
Kyong had a successful career in her native country, but it was cut short in early 1992 when she moved to America as a young bride and new mother. She decided at that time that pursuing her fitness career in a new country, leading classes in a language which she had not yet mastered, must take a back seat to the importance of supporting her husband and raising her son. As the years passed, the family grew to four children, and for this reason, Kyong hung up her dancing shoes and leotards (yes, they were popular then), and in her mind, this decision would be forever.
Passion – reignited!
The years turned into decades, but Kyong’s passion for dance and helping people never faded. Many times over the years her Husband, Donald (aka “The Husband”), encouraged her to teach again, but she couldn’t muster the courage to even apply for a position. In 2009, after again hearing Kyong say “I can’t do it now, it’s been too long,” and “I’m not good enough to teach in America,” “The Husband” took it upon himself to contact the localYMCA and inquire about instructor positions. He then created and submitted a resume for Kyong, and even set up an interview for her without telling her what he was doing! With the interview set, Kyong had no more excuses – and the rest, as they say, is history!
Moving to “The Burg!”
Since 1998, “The Husband” and Kyong have tried to live lives pleasing to God, and they share a love for the Lord Jesus Christ and a desire to serve Him, in whatever capacity. In 2012, being led by the Lord, they packed up their family in Upstate NY and moved to Fredericksburg, VA – a town in which they had no friends or family.
After several failed attempts to find an instructor position in this “new world,” and after attending many classes throughout the town and surrounding areas, Kyong began to see a need. Although there were several gyms that offered Zumba classes, there were very few class offerings at each location. Further, unless you were a member, the Drop-In cost to attend a class was very high. She knew that the high price to attend a fitness class could be a barrier to people starting an exercise routine, and also knew that many people that love dance won’t join a gym if they can only attend a class one or two days per week. When she started asking people what they felt would help them be successful, she heard two things: “No Membership,” and “More Classes.” Passionate about helping people get and stay fit, Kyong knew what had to be done!
Starting Fresh – and again!
Always the supporter, “The Husband” encouraged Kyong to look for vacant space to open a studio. After knocking on many doors and speaking to countless landlords and real estate
agents, space was located and the renovation began. Even though she was new to the area and had no following, Kyong’s passion to show people the benefits of dance fitness helped her get through the early months of having only one person show up for class, if anyone showed at all.
As class sizes began to grow, Kyong also began “mentoring” new instructors, believing that “instructor training” in America fell short of what was needed to teach new instructors what is required to offer safe and fun classes to the public. As much fun as she had leading classes, Kyong was also passionate about helping other instructors learn new skills, and she was so proud as they gained confidence and grew professionally. Little did she know at that time that she was training her replacement!
After nearly a year and a half, even though the business had grown considerably (remember, it started at ZERO!), revenue still was not strong enough to overcome the high operational cost of leasing such a large space alone. Raising the class price would mean a step backwards in attendance. Financially, the times were tough, and it would have been easier to simply close the doors and say “we tried…” but Kyong had seen so much success in the lives of her clients that giving up simply wasn’t an option! So, “Wow! Dance Fit” found a partner in Creative Movement Dance Studio, another small business just up the road from their location, and relocated to share their space and costs.
As Time Goes By
In November 2016, the winds of change were again blowing, and Kyong learned that she would be moving away with her husband and family. True to character, Kyong’s immediate concern was for her students, since so many of their lives (and bodies) had been changed for the better and she didn’t want to “abandon them” after they had worked so hard! Her concern was short-lived, however, and her solution had been in front of her all along! Patty Seidman joined Wow! Dance Fit as a member in 2014, had gotten her Zumba license after attending classes here, and had been receiving individual mentoring from Kyong for well over a year. Our clients already knew and loved her, so Kyong approached Patty to see if she would be interested in taking ownership. The condition was simple – take care of the people! Of course, Patty said “YES,” and the a new chapter for Wow! Dance Fit began as Patty and her husband, Ryan, assumed ownership and full operational control of Wow! Dance Fit.
It’s About Family
Wow! Dance Fit has, since it’s inception, always been a family business, and we believe that you make our family greater! The atmosphere is fun, and we try to create a welcoming, family-friendly environment where people can feel at home. We want you to feel confident in yourself, strong in your resolve to live a healthy lifestyle, and STRESS FREE! As we say at the studio at the start of our class, “This is YOUR hour!” Andy, we make every effort to honor the Lord in all we do, so songs are selected on the basis of their FUN content, but we are careful to filter through those songs with objectionable content, or songs that are too sexually explicit. There are enough places in town that play that kind of music – we won’t join them.
Finally, Wow! Dance Fit is a place where you can make new friends, and new family members! We don’t judge – PERIOD! We have two simple rules – Keep your Body Moving, and Have Fun! You can have two left feet, and that’s ok with us! It’s not about following the instructor here, it’s about moving your body and having a good time! The “exercise” happens without you knowing it, hopefully, and you will feel the benefits for a lifetime! Come in, let your hair down and dance your cares away!