A day in the life
Rebecca Chapman talks about fourth year
The reason I chose dance is because it’s something I like doing. I think it’s something I could actually do (as a career), and it fit well with doing it in the summer.
The dance entrepreneur
Rebecca Chapman has managed to meld her two passions—Irish dance and entrepreneurship—into one awesome co-op work term.
This summer, Rebecca opened her own business—Chapman School of Irish Dance. And the endeavour is giving her a leg up, so to speak, when it comes to business acumen.
“Every time something really good happens—somebody signs up, or I receive a compliment – it’s cool because I know it’s my hard work making that happen. It’s really rewarding,” says Rebecca.
As an entrepreneurship major, one of her three mandatory work terms must involve starting her own business. She chose dance because it's something she enjoys—she began studying Irish dance about 10 years ago.
Chapman School offers camps and classes in various forms of Irish dance—soft shoe, solo and group—to beginners ranging in age from preschoolers to adults.
Rebecca handles the business end of the program—promotion, registration, logistics—from home and holds classes in various schools and community centres in Halifax and Dartmouth.
She considers herself fortunate to have received a $3,000 Sagewood Group Award to help fund the venture. “That made a big difference in how I approached it. I was able to take more risks and just do more, in general,” she says.
Still, there was a learning curve involved in establishing the Chapman School of Irish Dance—from registering the business and advertising, to booking venues and hiring teaching assistants, to website development and budgeting.
“It's an awesome learning experience and I think it's going well. Before you get going, it sounds in your head like it’s all going to work so well. You have all of these lofty goals,” she says. “I definitely haven’t met all of my goals—particularly in the number of people I thought I would be teaching at this point—but I’m not disappointed, either.”
She meets with a Dal advisor every two weeks (more often if need be) and says she's “really impressed” by how much support she’s gotten from other professors, department staff, friends and family members, and even other business people with whom she's dealt.
“It was scary to start, but once you’re in it you feel good about it. It’s not as daunting as you would think it would be,” she says.