After several years of training central Indiana residents, Erin Johnson, 39, of Zionsville, planned to open a permanent studio for Dance Fit Club — previously known as Dance with Erin — at 10830 Bennett Pkwy., Suites B & C, in Zionsville June 14.
Johnson, a former Zionsville West Middle School teacher, moved from Zionsville to several locations across the nation, following her husband, Kenny, an Army member, beginning in 2010. The couple had two daughters, Delaney, 9, and Makenna, 7, but Johnson knew she wasn’t in the best shape of her life after having two children. As a stay-at-home mom, she longed for a sense of community.
“I was feeling really isolated, disconnected and wasn’t sure how to make friends in my next chapter,” Johnson said. “I also wasn’t feeling good mentally or physically.”
Her solution was to search for a gym when the family settled in Zionsville again, but she couldn’t find a gym that met her needs. A certified Zumba instructor, she then took to Facebook and posted in a Zionsville mothers’ group that she would offer a free class for anyone who wanted to sign up. She said five to 10 people came to her first class July 7, 2015, and she continued offering classes, which continually attracted more participants. To accommodate the growing class sizes, Johnson reserved spaces in Indianapolis, Whitestown, Lebanon and other municipalities. She was considering additional locations until the COVID-19 pandemic forced her to exclusively offer classes outdoors, even through the cold winter months.
One day during the pandemic, Johnson scouted for an outdoor location for her next dance class with her daughters in the car. Delaney saw a building that looked large enough for indoor classes and told Johnson to inquire about the space. Coincidentally, the previous tenant had just vacated the space, and Johnson soon secured the location at Bennett Parkway.
At its new location, the club will offer dance fit, yoga, Guardian & Me yoga and movement classes. In addition, the club will offer senior chair yoga and events like glow parties, belly dancing and hip-hop workshops. Child care is complimentary. Class times are offered at 5:30 a.m., 7 a.m., 9:15 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 4:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 7 p.m. during the week. Weekend class times are available as well.
Johnson said the classes regularly help her burn 500 to 700 calories but that she has benefited in other ways, too, primarily by finding the community she was searching for.
“If you lean into what you need and being vulnerable and lean into your insecurities, I feel like people really need to see that now more than ever,” Johnson said. “But that is how I think we have all become so close in the last six years. We really preach you are not just the way you are right now. You don’t join Dance Fit Club to be something you are not. You are actually perfect just the way you are.”
Johnson said the club is open to anyone, regardless of body size or dancing ability. It’s motto is, “We work out because we love our bodies, not because we hate them.”
“They showed me I was good enough even if I doubted myself, and I think we mirror that to each other and support each other,” Johnson said. “It makes me really want to stay here forever. They make it feel like home.”