We had the good fortune of connecting with Paula Bearden and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Paula, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
My thought process was that I had to take a stab at creating my childhood dream. I knew that if I got too old and hadn’t at least tried to start a dance company, I would be disappointed with myself. After I had my daughter in 2017, there was a fire within me to really go after my dream of starting a dance company but I was afraid that I would have trouble getting back into dancing and teaching, I had doubts, I had not worked for a dance company in over 2 years, would someone take me seriously? I decided to start slow, I did private dance lessons with small groups here and there and joined some classes myself, just to get back in the swing of things. I told myself that while I have this fire, to go after it, I may as well do this now before I get distracted doing something else or caught up in whatever life throws my way. I gave myself a deadline of starting in the fall of 2018 and in September I went to the Dallas County courthouse and filed my DBA.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
With Zeal Dance Force Dance Company, I am striving to develop well rounded dancers. Dancers who’ve got attitude and can leave it all on the floor in a hip hop battle, but can also be graceful and do an amazing arabesque or a grand jeté. The majorette stand battle style dance or “bucking” is very popular right now, it’s all over TV and pop culture, and I love it- I was a majorette in high school, but that dance style isn’t mostly what we do. I was not sure when starting my dance company if I was going to bring in a lot of interest but a lot of my dance parents wanted to enroll their kids in something different. I am proud of the formal dance training (ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop) that I had and I wanted to bring that to my community. Lessons I learned along my journey is that if you are passionate and confident about your art no matter how unique or different it is customers will flock to you and will learn to appreciate it too. I think there is a market out there for anyone willing to put in the time and effort to share their gifts.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I’m a foodie so all I have is food places: A few of my favorite eating spots are: Stratos Greek Taverna- In Dallas, TX off of Northwest HWY, they have a dance floor, there is belly dancing going on all around you and the food is amazing. This is a good place to hang out and have food and drinks. The Island Spot- in Bishop Arts District- Great drinks and food, sometimes they have a DJ on Friday nights as well. Hatties- in Bishop Arts District, good for lunch or brunch, its a cute quaint upscale place to eat. Café Brazil- many locations, this is a great first date place, not too expensive and great food. Another great brunch place or late night place to go to after the club. Sankofa Kitchen- in Dallas off of Camp Wisdom Rd. across from Redbird Mall, this is a great place for breakfast, lunch , and dinner. Amazing vegan options, and if you don’t eat red meat this is the place to go, most of their meat dishes are made with chicken or ground turkey. Jonathon’s- in Bishop Arts District, OMG the best brunch place I have ever been to.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have so many shout outs. First to my wonderful husband Quaon Bearden. It takes a lot of sacrifice and patience to be married to a business owner, who is also a mom and wife. When I am working he’s at home taking care of our little one, he never complains. The second shout out is to my old dance teachers who taught me everything I know, Etta Jamison who is my dance mom and Christina Hawkins Jamison who gave me that push I needed before starting, I called Christina with my doubts and she quickly dismissed my doubts by saying, “once a dancer always a dancer, that doesn’t change when you become a mom’, I’ll never forget those words. Shout out to my cousin Michael Graham, who is the successful owner of Signature EvenTX a special events entertainment company (also featured in Voyage), put more fire under my butt by saying, “just start, everything is not going to be perfect, you will learn things along the way.” I have a great business mentor who does all my marketing for me, so shout out to Nate Standifer with Business Marketing and Mentorship. As a mom who juggles three jobs most of the time I had to learn that I can’t do everything on my own. Nate helps me with marketing strategies, social media posts and just overall advice. Last shout out is to Cassandra Hughes owner of Living with A Heart to Dance Company, she is the current owner of the studio I rent out. As a dance company owner herself she could have seen me as competition, but instead she helped me in recruiting dancers and was open to collaborating. It means a lot to have someone like that in your corner! Business owners have to stick together!
High 5 Digital Tiffanie Jones Nathaniel Standifer Angelica Mitchell