Boss Lady: Ann Hunter Purchases Her Own Dance Studio

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Ann Hunter and fiance, James Lockridge, in front of their Detroit studio.

Ann Goggins Hunter is known for her dynamic dance style and spins and competition placements, and as of SATURDAY, as a first-place winner in Milwaukee’s Largest Steppin’ Contest’s New School category with Drewry Alexander.

But now the steppin’ community can look to her as an entrepreneur who will soon open the doors to her very own dance studio and office space. See details at the end of this post to find out how you can contribute to the fund-raiser for the studio.

Ann and her fiance’ James Lockridge embarked on securing the Detroit property that will now serve as Effortless Elegance’s exclusive center where Ann will facilitate dance lessons and workshops. Effortless Elegance (EE), LLC is Ann’s business organization.

This should come as no surprise. Ann holds a business degree and has a penchant for doing things well. Readers can learn a lot more about Ann in this feature story covered by Gallion’s Stepper Chronicles last year.

The corner studio property is not attached to any other structure and was quietly purchased by Ann and her fiancé in January of this year. It is only now, at the height of summer, that she has opted to make her purchase and intentions public. Her dream to own and operate a dance studio has been a long time coming, she shares.

The opportunity came and I didn’t want to let it pass. James and I felt that it was a good deal and that we were in a favorable position to try to make our dreams a reality. We are still in the stages of fixing up the property and bringing it to life. The restrooms and the awnings are the next tasks for us. A wood laminate floor has already been laid down thanks to one of my students,” Ann says.

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The Effortless Elegance studio, a hub for steppin’ and fitness.

It appears that her desire to open shop by the year’s end is going to happen. The one-level, 3.5-room space was “bad” when she and James first purchased it. “We didn’t want to say anything until we felt that we could pull it off. After a number of visible repairs were completed, the water turned on, and we fixed all of the hidden issues in the walls that needed to be repair, we can say we are getting closer.”

annhunter5James will also be facilitating a physical fitness class that will focus on calisthenics starting this Friday, August 28 at 5 p.m. Calisthenics uses the weight of one’s own bodies to tone and build muscle, which is an excellent way to maintain your balance and core strength as a stepper! So not only is James ready to whip you into shape, imagine how flattering your steppers sharp outfits for the holiday season will look! 

Steppers please believe it, Ann has the kind of mojo to make this dual effort – shall we say, effortlessly elegant. Her students love her so much they’re helping with repairs and a family friend is assisting with plumbing and electrical work. But then again, this is the kind of project that just makes everyone want to lend a hand – and you can, too. (More about that in a moment.)

Most classes will be taught by Ann but she has a small team of assistant instructors (well-versed in steppin’) who are being trained for the art of executing lessons. Her student body – their input and their needs – are very much a priority and a part of what makes her brand memorable. As such, Ann is consulting them on a few notions that will enhance their experience and tutelage.

“I want to base Effortless Elegance off of what my students want and need, as well as my supporters. I’m in the process of getting feedback from them so that [our interactions] will be enjoyable,” she says. “Instead of assuming what they want, I want us to work together to make it beneficial.”

annhunter3In getting the building up to code and prepared for its grand opening, Ann and her fiance’ have begun merchandising the ultimate stepper’s convenience – SHOE BAGS – as a fund-raising tool that will not only benefit buyers but won’t break the bank either.

And for how much? The bags are ONLY 5 DOLLARS.

Yes. Five.

Now, you could wrap your shoes in a trashy, mustard yellow, plastic grocery store bag. That’ll look really classy at the main event. (blank stare, plastered smile) Or, you could reach out to Ann and purchase a bag, which supports the enterprise she is currently building with James and their executive board.

Ultimately patrons of the shoe bags are supporting two progressive minority owned businesses (the shoe bag/apparel AND a community hub for elevating steppin’ and fitness). The promotional/marketing cards for the bags, by the way, feature artwork designed by James, who also has put his aesthetic mark on Ann’s dance shoes. The logo on the bag reflects the simple sophistication with which Effortless Elegance is aligned.

annhunter4“We decided to start selling the bags as a way to get funds that would help with maintenance and repairs. Instead of asking for donations, we wanted to offer something that people might like,” Ann notes.

And who doesn’t love a fund-raiser that yields something of value?

Ann’s vision is to have one or two classes throughout the week, and is currently condensing her schedule in preparation for the transition. This way, the students who current take privates with her will not be inconvenienced and the classes will not be interrupted by the steppin’ weekends that she often attends to conduct workshops. “With my own studio, I have more scheduling options,” she explains.

A note to Gallion’s Stepper Chronicle readers: When I learned that Ann and James acquired the studio, I immediately wanted to contribute to supporting their success by doing my part and using my blog as a platform to get the word out about her fundraiser – I was so happy for them! I believe in what Ann is doing as an entrepreneur, a family-centric woman, and pretty much as a person with goodwill. Investing in our communities makes for a better experience for the next generation and I love that she and her James have that kind of grit and focus.

You may email Ann directly at aheffortlesselegance@yahoo.com. She will then give you further directions as to how to order your bag shipping and handling costs will be. Effortless Elegance’s studio is located at 19520 James Couzens Fwy; Detroit, MI 48235. 

I’ll see you somewhere on the dance floor, friends. And congratulations on that first-place win, Ann and Drewry!

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7 comments

  1. Congratulations! Always happy to see black folks prospering. I also enjoyed watching the winning performance at MLSC.

  2. Ann I’m so happy for the both of you, God has found favor with making your dreams come true I pray that your studio flourish with nothing but positive spirits that come through those doors. Congrats again

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