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Apr 6, 2022

This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Alisa Finney, Principal at The Gay Wightman School of Ballet, Artistic Director at The Melbourne Ballet Company, and a mentor through the Dance Studio Owners Association (DSOA). Alisa has also crafted a 13-level classical ballet system of training that is widely used by thousands of dancers across the globe. Through the pandemic, Alisa’s reach has grown exponentially, as she has heavily used Zoom to expand the size of her dance classes.

Alisa is one who wears many hats, but at the end of the day, her passion is for the artform of ballet. And Alisa understands that the future of the artform is in the hands of studio owners, who are training the next generation of ballet dancers. In turn, Alisa invests large amounts of time and energy in developing studio owners so that they’re well-equipped to be mentors, teachers, role models, and entrepreneurs. On the podcast, hear about all of Alisa’s work and lessons learned in her own business growth.


Moving Quotes:

"I'm very passionate about the art form of ballet, and now that I have a little bit of experience behind me and am a bit older, I'm just really passionate about giving back to the industry and sharing what I've learned... It fills my cup to help people."

[On mentorship] "It's a hard job running a studio. And we wear 50 different hats, always. Trying to be everything to everyone. So it's important to have someone that we can go to that can support us. That can answer our questions and celebrate our wins and hold us accountable."

"The way you do anything is the way you do everything."

"As the studio owner, you need to be clear on things like: what is your mission? What are the core values of your studio? It's great to hash those things out with your team."

"I really like my goals to be big and quite scary. I think they should give you butterflies in your tummy. And then work backwards to figure out how you're going to make it happen."

[During the pandemic,] “I worked with a mindset coach once a week. I think that was a huge reason that I was able to stay so positive and be super positive with my team."

"If you're a business owner, you need to know your 'why.' What are your goals? What do you want to achieve financially?"


Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:

3:22: Alisa discusses how the pandemic actually caused her studio to grow exponentially.

7:48: Alisa explains how a positive mindset separates herself from many other studio owners and drove to her overwhelming success during the pandemic.

14:06: Alisa describes her passion for the artform of ballet and why she now finds joy sharing her knowledge with others.

16:09: Finney explains one of the most important things that a studio owner can do.

18:26: Finney describes her work with the Dance Studio Owner Association (DSOA).

20:45: Finney, who has worked with many global studio owners, discusses the one obstacle that she often sees inhibiting dance studio owners’ success.

23:43: Alisa explains the importance of small businesses having clear and impactful mission statements.

27:30: Alisa describes her process when prioritizing tasks and setting goals.

28:12: Alisa discusses one tangible way that mentorship has impacted her life.

32:31: Finney, who works with a wide variety of international dance studios, discusses some unique differences between dance studio cultures country-to-country.


Bullet List of Resources – 

Alisa Finney

The Gay Wightman School of Ballet