“Dance is art, self-expression, therapy, and exercise all in one. My passion is sharing my passion. I love introducing new people to dance and sharing the diversity that it offers us all.”
Even after dancing for more than 20 years, Shonna‘s passion and love for it has never stopped! With a rich experience in tap, jazz, lyrical, and hip hop, she has been making waves in the world of professional sports dancing with appearances in NBA franchises and toured during the Superbowl XXVIII & Superbowl 50. After dancing for the professional basketball team in the 2014-2015 season, Shonna stepped away from the courts and gave Confidance Fitness her utmost attention as the founder of the business she started in 2012.
What Shonna offers to her students are not your average dance classes – with specialty classes that range from music superstar inspired regimes, sexy chair dance to a Roller Disco, 70s-themed class, Shonna creates a comfortable environment for non-dancers to feel confident and empowers all her students to feel positive about themselves and instills confidence in them.
In this week’s Host Spotlight, find out more about professional dancer, Shonna‘s story and join her on her journey of how she is advocating a supportive dance culture in the community through her classes today!
Hi Shonna, can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the experiences that you offer through Verlocal?
Hi! I’m Shonna Chiles, owner of ConfiDance Fitness. Our mission is to offer “fierce fitness for all” by way of specialty dance classes designed for any level of dancer. Our offerings on Verlocal range from basic hip hop classes to happy hour dance classes on a rooftop.
Tell us about your background: When did you first become inspired to do what you love?
I have been dancing for 20 plus years, it has always been my first love. In 2010, I began teaching and dancing professionally for two different NBA franchises. I continued to do so until 2015 when I stepped away to focus on my business. I loved the impact that our classes were having on the community and the family of dancers we were building through ConfiDance Fitness.
What does your passion mean to you?
Dance is art, self-expression, therapy, and exercise all in one. My passion is sharing my passion. I love introducing new people to dance and sharing the diversity that it offers us all.
What made you want to pursue your passion and become a host?
I was honestly sick of working for other people. I took two things I knew I loved, dance and Beyoncé, and started teaching our heels optional “Don’t Worry, Be Yonce’” class. The response was incredible and because of that, I was able to expand the business with other classes and more instructors.
How would you describe the link between your classes and the community around you?
The community is everything at ConfiDance, we even have a cute hashtag, #confidancecrew. It’s about embracing the people in class, new client or return client, and making them feel free to express themselves and have fun. Outside of the classes, we also do a lot of community builders and non-dance events.
How long have you been living in San Francisco? What would you recommend to someone who just moved to this city?
I have been here for almost five years. My favorite place in San Francisco is anywhere near the water. I recently moved to Oakland and I’m happiest when I’m crossing the Bay Bridge at night into San Francisco. The lights on the bridge and view of the skyline amongst the water is breathtaking.
Tell us about your biggest achievement since you started teaching your classes.
We have had so many milestone moments & I have my students and team to thank for that. Last year we were asked to coordinate a surprise performance or Re:Make at the Fort Mason Center, which is an all-encompassing women’s event featuring Tyra Banks as their keynote speaker. Surprising all of the women in attendance with a Beyonce’ flash mob & getting to meet Tyra was awesome, but reaching out to my students and coordinating over 50 dancers in less than 24 hours showed their loyalty to our community and mission. They have been my biggest accomplishment so far.
What is your favorite performance & the story behind it?
My favorite piece of work has to be our first anniversary flashmob. We wanted to do something that would catch people’s attention and make our students proud of their hard work.
Share with us a favorite story you’ve had between you and your students when you were hosting your classes.
My favorite moment by far was after a class when a student came up and said: “I just want you to know, because of this class, I never walk down the street with my head down.”
The largest part of my job as a teacher is coaching confidence. It’s very rewarding when my students apply those skills in everyday life.
Do you have a favorite dance regime or workout?
I teach about 10+ hours a week, so work is definitely my workout!
What advice would you give to people who are new to dancing and are interested in learning about your passion?
Go for it. The hardest part of taking a dance class is showing up, but what makes us different is that part. We have built a very solid, supportive community where people can explore dance comfortably and without judgment. Trust yourself enough to show up and let me take it from there.
It’s a really unique way of how you’re are celebrating your birthday with a Roller Disco Party! What is the inspiration behind this?
I grew up roller skating in my hometown, Moore, Oklahoma. My mom was really good on skates; skating backward, jam skating, tricks. It was part of our culture growing up and I still skate with her when I go home. I wanted to do something I really loved this year for myself, so I took Beyonce plus ConfiDance and put them on wheels. It’s going to be epic!
What are your goals for the future?
We’ve accomplished a lot in our short two years. The impact is my most immediate goal. I love what we have built and want to continue to grow this community to effect positive change in people’s lives through dance. In the long term, I have a lot of ideas, but I’m still really honing in on where I want us to go. Stay tuned!
What does Verlocal mean to you?
Verlocal has been a game changer. The staff is friendly and helpful. We’ve streamlined our ticket sales. I’ve got to have tons of interaction and receive feedback from all of my students. I love Verlocal and appreciate what they do for “passion-istas”.
Do you have a quote that resonates with you the most? Share it with us and tell us what it means to you!
I wouldn’t say it’s a quote, but my favorite phrases are “confidence is half the battle” and “live it, love it, own it”. I believe in being your biggest fan and pushing yourself to new heights. If you believe you can, then you will. And when you get there, relish in it!