Meet Laci Chisholm!
Originally from South Carolina, Laci has been a Brooklynite for the past 12 years. With her extensive background in dance, she has committed herself to making her mark in the Crown Heights community. Her dance practice began at the tender age of 4 and was cemented throughout her formative years by studying Jazz, Hip Hop, Tap, and West African dance, being the captain of a competitive high school dance & cheerleading squad, and holding a leadership position on her collegiate dance team at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As an undergraduate pursuing journalism and advertising, Laci enjoyed teaching, with children being her major demographic until joining Shape Up NYC, a program aimed at helping adult learners become and stay active.
After completing her graduate studies in education, Laci became the assistant principal of a high performing middle school. This high stress position took its toll, and Laci contended with health concerns as a result, among them elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and the possibility of taking prescribed medications for their management. As a young woman in her twenties, displeased at this prospect, and with ambitions to take charge of her health, Laci committed herself to changing her daily regimen and began taking various dance classes to help her lose weight. Realizing how hard it was to find a quality, affordable dance studio in her neighborhood, she set about pursuing her dream of opening a dance studio. After participating in the Brooklyn Public Library Business Plan competition and producing a quality business plan, she was finally able to see her dream to fruition. She opened her first storefront in Utica Avenue in 2016. She has since relocated her business to Nostrand Ave, with Fit4Dance inaugurating this past July. Laci’s entrepreneurial efforts are off to solid footing; she was recipient to the yearly Entrepreneur of the Year awards from both The Brooklyn Women’s Outreach Center and CAMBA.org in June of 2018.
Laci’s achievements scaffold her desire to make a positive impact. She observes the susceptibility of women of color to preventable illnesses and sets out to help them manage this in a supportive and body positive environment. She has also witnessed the changes happening in Crown Heights in the last several years and wants to take part in building a stronger, and healthier community. Finally, citing her commitment to education, she offers a foundation for healthful living from the ground up; her studio offers a variety of children’s classes, as an alternative or as an addition to a child’s physical education requirements in school.
Having recently taken part in her Zumba class, I discovered Laci exudes a calm but boundless energy. In dance, she leads supportively with patience and invites the student to challenge him or herself. The rhythms played for the length of an hour, and Laci led the way, energetically, choreographically, and always with a smile. She plays a good mix of fast and slow tempos to allow one the most activity followed by the space to recharge and push through. Midway, you might even face a fellow dancer, hold hands, match moves, and trade laughs!
By Katherine de la Rosa