Leadership

In Her Own Words: Taking the First Step to Build a Dance Community

Lexi Jenkins shares how she fulfilled the need for an online community centered around dancing.

My name is Lexi Jenkins. I am a dancer, dance teacher, choreographer and the founder and CEO of From The Top Dance Blog Inc, an online resource and dance community. My dance journey began when I was three. I saw a group of little girls walk out of a ballet class and began to desperately cry to my mother that I wanted to dance. She was so shocked by my sincerity that she immediately scooped me up, walked me into that same dance studio, enrolled me into a slew of classes and BAM! There I was in the pinkest of tutus in my first ballet class. What I didn’t know was that this fun hobby would turn into a lifelong passion and the desire to connect other dancers together.

Filling a community gap

At 15 years old, I went against everything society ever told me. I made the decision to take on dance professionally and become the best dance teacher I could be. After I received my degree in dance education and studio management, I scored my first teaching job at age 19. I was absolutely thrilled! But once I got into the industry, I noticed that there was one thing missing.

In the age of technology, there is a community for almost everything. Makeup artists have beauty blogs filled with “how-tos”. Fashion bloggers have been on the scene for years. There are even online communities for musicians to hone their craft. But what about the dance community? When I look back on my training, especially in my teenage years, I can’t help but think of how I would have absolutely loved to have an online community as I went along this journey. A place where I could log on and find further explanations on dance moves I wanted to master and talk about important issues that all dancers face. A place for positive camaraderie with other dancers.

In 2017, I realized that this place still didn’t exist. The next thought that came to mind was that there had to be a reason why I kept thinking about it. Was I supposed to take this into my own hands? Why me? And then it hit me. No. Why not me?

Planning and launching

Excited yet skeptical, I began the journey of creating this community, making the rules up as I went. I knew I wanted this to be more than just a blog. I wanted this to be an online community, a family made up of dancers of all ages, genres and walks of life. A place that was inclusive, accepting, motivating and uplifting.

The creation of this project consumed me for six months straight. After I would teach dance classes in the evening, I would go home and work on the community a little bit more. Every chance I could, I would chip away at it, making all the progress that I could within a few hours. All the while, I spread the word across social media that something new was coming to the dance world. I held it together in public, but to say I wasn’t nervous would be a lie.

On January 26, 2018, From The Top Dance Blog was born and released into the dance world. To my pleasant surprise and extreme relief, the world received it with open arms. We are now three years strong as a company. The community turned out to become something far more than I could have ever imagined. From The Top is read in more than 70 countries and provides useful resources to teachers and students alike. It’s home to thousands of supporters across all social media sites and even opened its own line of dancewear products. On this journey of being a female entrepreneur in the dance industry, I spoke with so many people from around the world. I even had the absolute privilege of connecting with dancers and choreographers I admired for years. And to think that it all started with a young girl from the Midwest who decided, “why not me?”

Advice for other entrepreneurs

As an entrepreneur, the first step is the most significant. The first step is ridden with second thoughts, excuses and “what ifs”. But without step one, there’s no way to see the full extent of what your passion can be.

If there is one thing I could say to any woman entrepreneur, it would be to take your place without fear. There is already an audience waiting for you, even if you don’t see it. Had I gone on to follow another career path, I know I would not be as happy as I am now. My passion is my full-time job. This is something I always dreamed of and achieved by taking the first step. I embraced the chance to carve a place for myself and contribute to the industry. We only have one life. Live it out, inspire others along the way and make some good noise while you’re here.

About the author

Lexi Jenkins is a twenty-five-year-old dancer, dance teacher, choreographer and the founder and CEO of From The Top Dance Blog Inc. Dancing since the age of three, Jenkins created From The Top to provide a place of community, education and resources for dancers and dance lovers alike. In addition to dance, Jenkins has a passion for encouraging and collaborating with women entrepreneurs as they go along their journey, always expressing the belief that women are more than capable of building our own empires and leaving an incredible mark on this world.