A new year inspires fresh starts and better habits, often those that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Millenium Dance Complex Nashville can help facilitate a journey toward creative expression and the joy of movement and may lead to surprises, such as found family and deep friendships.
“People are looking for exercise that’s not pounding weights in a gym. Dance hits all sides - mind, body, and soul,” says Tamara Williams, owner. “It’s truly remarkable how the complex set out with the intention to be a kid’s dance studio and then morphed into what the city needed. It is 100% about diversity, about people coming in to dance and not feeling judged - no matter what age, what size, what color, what sex. It doesn't matter. We have so much fun.”
Tamara explains the beginning of MDC Nashville. “I knew AnnMarie Hudson (creator of parent studio, Millennium Dance Complex, Los Angeles). We talked about my opening a studio here, and after a couple of stops and starts, I did it. Initially, we were predominantly focused on creating a kid’s dance team. We had about 75 kids and also had open classes (all ages) that we were trying to fill when Covid hit. We did events to pay the bills. Weddings, bar mitzvahs … you name it, we did it. That kept us alive.”
Post-pandemic, Tamara added more open classes that catered to a different crowd. “Adults weren’t always comfortable dancing with 11-year-olds. Now, our busiest classes are for adult beginners, with people who have never danced a day in their life or have not danced in several years. They pick it up and are addicted. We have beginner classes almost every night. They're infectious and wonderful, and people leave with smiles on their faces.”
It’s not just the dancing that makes people come back again and again. “I’ve seen so many cases where people worry they won’t be welcomed, but by the time they leave, they feel as if they’ve found a home. They feel seen and feel safe. We all have a space in this world. To me, that’s what I wanted (from the business). No one laughs at anyone else; they encourage each other. It’s a beautiful thing.” Students in some classes have become so close that they spend holidays with one another.
MDC has a novel approach for those interested in participating. “I’m a stickler about welcoming people to Millennium,” says Tamara. “When you come in, we ask for your name and introduce ourselves. Then, if you don’t know what type of class you want to take, we show you around the building and give you a synopsis so you know how the classes work and what’s available.”
Students don’t have to register as ongoing customers. “Nothing is tying you down. You can pay $15 for one class, you can buy a package, you can buy an unlimited monthly special, or you can just pop in when you want,” says Tamara, who finds this a critical factor in keeping dancers from feeling as if they’re tied into a membership. “There’s a little bit more flexibility. Then we try to ensure we get feedback as people are leaving to make sure they’ve enjoyed the experience.”
Millennium Dance also offers lucrative exposure for interns, choreographers, and dancers. “Joy Spears has done numerous gigs due to her time here,” says Tamara. “She’s worked with Walker Hayes, Florida Georgia Line, and others. Chmira Dayvon performed with The Weeknd at the Superbowl halftime show. When you put in the work, you're going to get something out of it!”
MDC Nashville will celebrate its fifth anniversary in February.