Dancetrepeneur and CEO of Seen on Screen Bonnie Parsons talks to us about how she founded SOS, the exciting artists she's worked with in the past and how you can learn to dance like Beyoncé.
How did you come up with the idea for SOS?
I grew up glued to music videos and copied all the dance moves from the Spice Girls to JLo and Beyoncé, before researching the dancers and choreographers who became celebrities to me in a way. When I turned 19, I become a professional backing dancer myself, and got to work with choreographers I'd spent years looking up to, like Brian Friedman (Britney Spears) and Frank Gatson (Beyoncé) and built a great network of professional dancers over my career.
Working on the likes of X Factor made me think there must be people out there who want to dance like the pop stars they see on TV (like I did!). It also occurred to me how cool it would be if you could learn from the actual dancers who you see on TV dancing with those stars.I did some googling and I couldn't believe there was nothing like it. A couple of months later, SOS was born!
Where do you think the demand for emulating celebrity dance began?
I think there will always been demand for emulating pop icons moves because dance is infectious.
There was a particular 'golden age' of incredible music videos in the late 90s and early 00's, the era I grew up being obsessed with. Artists like Missy Elliott, Ciara, Britney, Beyoncé, JLo, Christina Aguilera etc, knew how to use dance to bring their music to life... How could you not want to look Britney in Slave 4 U, or master the Crazy In Love Uh Oh booty shake?! The girls of my generation are now SOS customers who, like me grew up loving the same artists and their amazing dance moves so when you combine celebrity, music, dance and fitness, it's a really addictive formula!
Tell us about the artists you've worked with in the past.
I personally have worked with Seal, Professor Green, One Direction, X Factor Live Shows, MTV, Universal Pictures, Sony Playstation (featured dance character 'Dance Star Party'), The Royal Variety Performance, JLS, Alexandra Burke, Kelly Rowland and Florence and The Machine... my favourite artist to work with was Kelly Rowland! We toured and performed at a massive concert in Paris - it was cool dancing for someone I had grown up watching, and also dancing to her massive hits like Commander was a dream come true.
Any career highlights so far?
I got the chance to appear on two TV shows... Channel 4's Sunday Brunch and ITV's This Morning where I performed and then was interviewed about Seen On Screen. I love both those shows so getting to tell the UK about SOS via TV shows I watched all the time myself, was super cool.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is seeing Seen On Screen grow and knowing that we're doing something that is really impactful, making peoples lives better through dance.
I've built SOS from the ground up and it took almost two years for people to start knowing who we are. So when I walk into a packed dance studio I never take it for granted! Also, to see my instructors absolutely smashing it - and seeing our customers having the best time as a result, just makes my day. Running a business can be really challenging but seeing all the hard work bought to life like that makes it all worth it!
Talk to us about your classes.
As you might have guessed... Seen On Screen teach people of ALL dance abilities how to dance like their favourite pop stars, taught by the top pro dancers who work with them. Our instructors are handpicked talent (regularly seen on screen) who dance for artists such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, Meghan Trainor, Little Mix, Zara Larsson, Alicia Keys and at events including The BRIT Awards, The X Factor and the Victoria’s Secret Show on a regular basis.
At SOS, we don't want to just teach a good dance class. We want you to leave inspired and empowered to be the best version of you, both inside and out so you can achieve things you didn't previously think were possible.
You can take SOS classes in London, Manchester and online! In addition to our timetabled classes we run super fun hen parties, 1:1 sessions, first dance classes, specialised events and of course, mega cool partnerships which is how we came to team up with New Look!
The Beyonce classes sound fab, what do you love about them?
I'm Beyoncé's biggest fan. I love what she stands for (empowering women), her music, her dance moves... everything! I also love that her music has such a strong message to women that they can be anything they want to be as this embodies what SOS is all about as a company. You leave your day to day 'you' at the door, literally let your hair down and morph into Sasha Fierce. I don't care how uncoordinated you think you are - a SOS Beyoncé session will have you strutting, slaying and whipping your hurrr like Bey in no time!
What would you say to someone who is a beginner when it comes to dancing but wants to try your class?
I would say, don't be scarred! It's totally natural to be nervous for your first class. So many people are when they come to Seen On Screen for the first time, but it's our job as teachers to help you, answer your questions and to make sure you leave feeling on top of the world. I also tell students that no one cares if you make a mistake so there's zero pressure to be dance perfect! Seen On Screen is all about having FUN while finding a form of exercise you love... See you in the studio :)
NEW LOOK TRY OUT THE BEYONCE WORKSHOP
Last month 30 of our staff members popped down to the RADA studios to get a masterclass with Elliot Bodman, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry. Learning the routine for Flawless, the group busted their best moves before going away with a New Look sports bag filled with goodies!