Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in dance education but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Abby Damen, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Shut Up & Dance Ltd, located in Wellington, NZ.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are a dance-fitness class called Shut Up & Dance. We teach routines inspired by films and music videos to people with two left feet. We don't use mirrors or allow photos or videos. We specialize in clumsy, and our focus is always on how the movement feels – not how it looks.

Tell us about yourself

Back in 2016, we collectively felt that traditional exercise was boring, yet dance classes were inaccessible or not quite the experience we were looking for. That was it – we wanted our weekly fitness fix to be an experience we looked forward to, a movement opportunity that would leave us feeling as satisfied as we were sweaty. Ultimately, we wanted to channel our inner Beyoncé/Freddie Mercury/Bruno Mars – without fear of judgment, without the pressure of being 'perfect' and certainly without the pressure of feeling like we needed to commit to a membership. We wanted fitness to work for us. We're motivated by our community. We are driven to grow and offer our classes throughout New Zealand and hopefully elsewhere in the world because we know, firsthand, the positive impact our classes have had on our participants, how we engage with fitness, how we associate with our bodies, and how these positive connections ripple out into our wider community. Our mission is to revolutionize the industry through the powerful combination of community and dance.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Fighting for our place in fitness and fighting for our place in dance – the two worlds we straddle!

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Well – for a small business owner – having so many ideas and opportunities but never enough time or money to execute them!

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be passionate about your product – you have to genuinely want or need what you're selling for yourself.
  2. Set boundaries. There is always going to be something to do, so set boundaries and stick to them.
  3. Always take the time to celebrate the wins. Why else are we here?!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

If you're reading this and our mission resonates with you, we'd love to hear from you and connect.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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