Isabella Pasley is the owner of @limelightdancestudios in Albany and @stepbeyondstudios in Torbay. She grew up on the Shore and is the youngest of four. Ballet was a popular after-school activity with her sisters and she took her first class at three years old at Love to Dance in Birkenhead and was hooked. Since then, she has since trained in jazz, lyrical, hip hop, ballroom and Latin. After training on the Gold Coast, Isabella returned to New Zealand and bought her first dance school when she was 21. She talks to Channel about building her business and her use of social media to show what she does at her dance schools.
Channel Magazine: Tell us a little bit about your business and how it came about...
Issy Pasley: I had returned from my full-time dance training in Australia to start my business degree in 2019 and I was teaching part time at Limelight Dance Studios in Albany when the opportunity to take over the studio presented itself. I have always loved being able to create a positive, inclusive space for students to come and share their love of dance and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have my own studio! I purchased Limelight in October 2019 and it’s been a crazy few years with the pandemic but as things started to bounce back in 2022, I was lucky enough to also add Step Beyond Studios in Torbay to our family! The studios have quite different offerings; Limelight currently focuses on ballroom, Latin, tap, jazz, hip hop and lyrical classes with competition and exam opportunities for our students. We get people joining us for all sorts of reasons - to pick up a new hobby, learn a dance for a wedding, or those looking for a career in dance. Step Beyond Studios is a competition- and exam-free studio with a ballet and contemporary focus. At both studios, we have students as young as three and there’s no maximum age limit on who can join.
CM: Is Instagram a source of inspiration for you?
IP: Absolutely! Instagram is a huge source of inspiration for me both as a dance teacher and a small business owner. Some of my favourite people to follow are @kristy.thepinkpony, a local, female business owner who shares fantastic tutorials on graphic design tools which is super helpful for our social channels to make all our posts more dynamic and to capture the energy of the classes and competitions. I also love seeing what @Nicolebillow is doing; she’s very innovative and has a lovely way of interacting with her students which inspires me all the time to keep my students as excited about dance as we are.
CM: Which other local businesses/artists do social media well?
IP: I think @Mykeeper does a fantastic job with her social media as well as @whippedcakery. They’re both very interactive and authentic social media users and I enjoy seeing the ins and outs of different businesses. Personally, I think it’s interesting to see a lot of behind-the-scenes aspects of businesses. Instagram is often very aspirational and seeing elements of business that are more ‘real’ is so refreshing. I have followed them for several years, and it’s been great to see their development over the years and awesome to see small businesses flourish!
CM: What’s next for your studio?
IP: Having two studios now, I will be working to expand the class offerings across both locations! My team and I are also working to create more social dance and performance opportunities for all our students to help grow our dance community and share the benefits of dancing with as many people as we can! Whether you’re looking to have some fun or would like to pursue a career we want to help you achieve all your dancing dreams.
Kinship has been a welcome addition to Lake Road and they’ve been doing regular food pop ups including pizza and burgers. Follow them for their next food truck or event!
We love dried flowers, and Botanics NZ on Hinemoa St in Birkenhead do some lovely arrangements. We’ve had ours for nearly two years; they make a great long-lasting gift for the flower lovers in your life.
We’re big fans of new café Duo in Birkenhead. The house-made pasta looks especially delicious and they make great coffee.