The Dancing Diva
When Egypt was in need of a fitness activity that didn’t feel like a chore, May Adam came grooving in with a graduation project that became one of Egypt’s most talked about dance studios. The commercial dancer and instructor tells us when she first fell in love with dance, and how a project idea was synthesized into a blooming business.
By: Mayar El-Shamy
Tell us about yourself and what you do.
I had lived in London for eight years before I graduated from Regents University with a major in Visual Communication. I used to work in ‘Studio 68 London’, which is one of the biggest dancing studios there, a job that has probably subconsciously paved the way for the idea of starting the studio later on; it had also given me lots of valuable experience before I moved back to Cairo. During the day, I’m a Group Account Manager in a highly respected digital agency; and at night, I’m the owner and one of the instructors of ‘Adams Dance Studio’.
When and how did you become passionate about dance?
I started dancing when I was three, copying the dance moves of Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake. I was so obsessed with dancing that my mum would find me dancing in my sleep. Back then, the only dancing classes that were available were ballet classes, so my mum signed me up for these when I was five –that was in Cairo. Later on when we moved to London, I signed to salsa, jazz, and hip-hop, anything I could get my hands on, until I found my style, which is commercial dancing.
How was the idea for your studio born?
‘Adams Dance Studio’ was my graduation project. I’ve had the business plan figured out and as soon as I came back to Egypt, I made it happen. My vision was to start in Egypt and Dubai as well, and I still consider this point in my expansion plan. I gave classes in ‘Gold’s Gym’ as well as schools like MES and MBIS and watched so many individuals with potential; I wanted to create a place where talented dance-enthusiasts could learn dancing in a fun environment the right way. Also, the studio offers people certifications when they pass certain levels.
What styles of dance can we learn at ‘Adams dance Studio’?
First we have classified classes by age range. We have classes for all ages: kids from 4-10 years old, younger age 11-16, adults above 16 and ladies-only classes. Then we have different styles of dancing: Hip Hop, Street Jazz, Salsa, Tango, Bachata, Break Dance, Belly Dance, Ballet, Contemporary, Wedding (first dance and group dance), and we do practice nights for the Salsa and Tango classes. We offer private classes if someone wants to improve faster, or if someone wants a particular goal specifically tailored for them. Also, we have intensive courses over three months where students can take advanced classes to become professional dancers.
Is there an age group the studio prefers to teach?
No, we don’t prefer to teach any age group, and we have specialized instructors for each one.
What makes dance a great way to stay fit?
There are great benefits to dancing in terms of fitness. Doing different routines each class means that the body will not memorize the moves, which keeps the muscles guessing, and thus helps you get in shape way faster. Three minutes of dancing are tantamount to three minutes of sprinting! On top of that, the moves of belly dancing, hip hop, or salsa for example, can and will improve flexibility, tone your muscles as opposed to, let’s say, lifting weights.
What kind of changes would students notice in their bodies and minds after consistent practice?
When you workout in general, your brain produces endorphins, and dancing is no exception. Endorphins reduce stress and help make you feel happy. As for the physical changes, dancing can help you feel more coordinated, graceful, and confident. You’ll also know how to dance, so you’ll enjoy your time in and out of class. You’ll use the dance moves that you’ve learned and that alone is worth it for so many people. Dancing also helps keep you look age-defiant.
Do the studio instructors advise your students to follow a particular diet?
Not necessarily, because dancing is not related to your weight. You can be “overweight” and have flexibility that is not bestowed upon someone who is in their ultimate weight range. Dancing is about fun at the end of the day. It’s about reaching within you and finding that part of you that just wants to shake it off! And you’ll burn so many calories either way, you’ll eventually lose weight.
As an owner of such a successful business, how do you juggle between personal and professional life?
I don’t really have a social life [laughs]. My boyfriend and my mum are always supportive. I work day and night, and my boyfriend comes and visits at the studio for us to keep seeing each other. Yet when you do something that you love, it’s all worth it. I love teaching people to dance; I love seeing them progress, which helps me never get tired. Do what you love and you don’t work a day in your life, right?
How do you personally get inspired to create choreography dance?
Mainly, I put the headphones on, just listen to the music and let it inspire me. I could go for a walk and get inspired. I also watch a lot, and I mean a lot, of videos! But let me tell you, I get inspired by everything around me! People walking in the street, people playing sports –any movement around me can inspire my choreography.
What are your long term career goals?
I want to turn ‘Adams Dance Studio’ into a proper dance school. That is, I want it to be a four-year program where people learn to be rounded dancers and receive a certified degree from the UK. I also want to open another studio in Dubai in the coming year and perhaps other branches in Cairo soon.
A word for our readers…
Dancing is about fun at the end of the day; it’s about leaving your worries behind. There is no age for dancing. I often get asked “am I too old to start dancing?” No, you’re never too old or too young. Dancing is for everyone!