In this episode I interview Cynthia King, founder and executive director of Cynthia King Dance Studio (CKDS) located in Brooklyn, New York.
The vegan studio has been a vital part of Brooklyn’s rich dance culture for more than 15 years. In 2014, after nearly two decades of presenting dance works in Flatbush, Cynthia opened her new studio and performance space in the heart of the neighborhood.
Having danced professionally since 1978 and taught since 1986 in both public and private schools, Cynthia and the studio have become staples in the local community, supporting a wide variety of civic and educational organizations.
In May 2015, she received the prestigious Boston Conservatory Distinguished Alumni Award (one of many acknowledgements for her work). Later that year, she established the Cynthia King Humane Artists Scholarship, which is awarded to an incoming Boston Conservatory student who embodies compassionate living.
In addition to running her dance studio – which offers a range of classes for both children and adults, including a pre-professional course – on vegan principles, Cynthia is the creator of the Cynthia King Vegan Ballet Slippers, her signature line of cruelty-free ballet shoes. These are worn by compassionate dancers from across the globe, and have been seen on the feet of Natalie Portman and Emily Deschanel.
In this interview Cynthia talks about:
• How she weaves her vegan ethics into the business to influence students, parents and staff
• Advice for vegan actors, dancers and other entertainers on how to navigate showbusiness, especially if you’re asked to wear animal-based fashions
• How being an active part of the local community has been a key factor in her success
• The challenges she faced when moving studios and how she handled them
• Why being positioned as the more expensive end of your market can be beneficial
• How she handles pushback from students or parents who complain about not being allowed to bring animal products, including food and leather shoes, into the studio
• How standing your ground despite being perceived as ‘difficult’ can be advantageous to your business, particularly in the long term
• And much more
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