As this dumpster fire of a year comes to a close, it seems important to reflect on what we’ve learned and what we’re thankful for. As the founder of Aerial Dance, I am so thankful we are still open. So many studios and small businesses have not made it and my heart aches for them. This year was a terrifying and horrifying reality that you can lose everything you have sacrificed to build through no action of your own. That is a crappy realization. To be honest, I’m terrified that the precedent has been set that the government can dictate if a business can be open or not; that wasn’t even something in the realm of possibilities before this year and is beyond scary. Why start a business if you can literally have it taken from you? Moving forward, this creates a whole new dynamic for how I will need to position my company, innovate and save.

But what I did learn this year that didn’t suck, is that the community we have built is so strong. My instructors are truly the best. They rolled with a million and six changes. They enforced policies they may not have agreed with personally. They welcomed students into their homes. They created new and engaging content during a time when all of us were exhausted. They brought joy and comfort in a time when we were all scared. They continued to evolve as the situation did and took on whatever role was needed to keep Aerial Dance open. It sucks that the year when I want more than anything to give them huge bonuses to acknowledge their amazingness is the year I can’t afford to without jeopardizing the company’s future. That’s a bitter pill for me to swallow because I know the reason Aerial Dance is still strong after this tumultuous years is because of my Instructor team.

The other people who kept us strong is our members. Our members stayed with us. So many members kept their memberships live even when they weren’t attending in person. I don’t have words to express what this meant, but frankly we are on the other side because you chose to do this. Our members heard the rally that small businesses needed them and stepped up; our members brought friends, took more workshops, and bought gift cards. Our members lifted each other up in our FB groups and helped members feel connected and cared for in this disjointed time. Our members sent ideas and inspiration to our instructors and challenged us to keep inventing. Aerial Dance is a strong company because of the women who have chosen to make it their home away from home.

As 2020 comes to a close, even through the feelings of anger, disillusion and confusion, the overwhelming feeling I have is gratitude. I have learned so much about love and trust this year. I have learned how planning is great but what truly matters is teamwork. I have learned that we truly are strongest when we are together and I am so grateful for each and every person who has been with me on this journey and supported Aerial Dance through this storm. I have no clue what 2021 will bring; I’ve learned that trying to guess is pointless as no guesses last year could have come close to what happened. But I do know that Aerial Dance will be fine because of the women who keep holding it up. I’m just so very blessed to have this amazing community supporting my company.