If you’re feeling the holiday blues, dance them away at Simply Swagg dance studio.
Paul Thurton, owner of Simply Swagg teaches hip-hop, R&B, breakdancing and house. On Dec. 21, 22, and 23, Thurton is holding dance workshops at his studio at 705 Progress Ave, unit 62.
Most businesses take months to break even. Thurton’s dance studio Simply Swagg did it in three weeks. His secret to success and happy students is ensuring his prices are low so that all kids have the opportunity to enjoy dance, Thurton says.
“I’ve always danced my entire life. My dad’s a jazz musician and I’d fall asleep listening to music while tapping my foot.”
Thurton’s father is also an engineer and his mom is a teacher. He credits his parents for instilling discipline in him, which helped him pursue his dance dreams.
Despite traveling the world and performing with artists like Nas, Wu-Tang Clan, Christina Milian and many more, what fulfills him most is the ability to reach out to the community through teaching dance.
“Teaching is my passion,” he says. He works with the Art Starts organization, going into troubled communities to do workshops.
“These kids have very little money, they’re from all different races, there’s trouble all around them and we start dance teams in their communities. Some of these kids are sheltered and shy, but at the end they’re the complete opposite. They’ve got these big smiles on their faces and they’re so confident.”
Thurton opened his studio after he kept on getting inquiries about teaching.
Though most dance studios are downtown, the 23-year-old saw a lack of artistic outlets for Scarborough kids and wanted to give back to his community.
“Violence is happening because there’s nothing to do,” Thurton said. “There’s barely any government funding here. Breakdancing started as an alternative to gang violence. Instead of fighting, a crew would battle another crew on the dance floor.”
Thurton hopes his studio will continue in the hip-hop tradition of breaking the cycle of violence. The name Simply Swagg represents individuality. Everyone has their own “swagg,” he says. As an instructor, Thurton’s goal is to have his students grow naturally and not be afraid to show off their inner attitude, in other words, their swagg.
Aside from the workshops, Thurton teaches four days a week and choreographs for schools and artists. Coming projects include working with Flo Rida and Massari.
To sign up for workshops or regular classes call 647-296-7776 or visit simplyswagg.com.