Founder & Director, Live2Dance Seattle
An MBA in finance, a dance lover, a doting mom, and an immigrant building an empire in America, Deepali Jamwal wears many hats. But the one she embraces truly, is that of a community leader.
Deepali is not just a dancer and a dance studio owner, for the impact of her business on every member associated with her venture, Live2Dance, goes farther and beyond. With a mission to create a home for those away from home, she has built a sanctum for those dealing with anxiety and stress in a new city.
If you walk by Live2Dance on most evenings, you’ll hear music pumping and see students smiling and dancing together. Once you go inside, you will find that Live2Dance is not just a dance studio but a community and a family. Home to nearly 600 students, Deepali founded the studio to use the power of dance to build a community.
“When you’re an immigrant in a new city, it’s really hard to find people who look like you, who think like you,” says Jamwal, adding, “Most immigrants are far away from home. I wanted to create a space where the feeling is, ‘You’re new? We have a community of 600 people to welcome you and become your family’.” Deepali experienced this firsthand when she moved to North America from India in 2011.
Over 10 years later, Deepali’s love of South Asian culture, dance and community have been the key to Live2Dance’s success. Deepali credits much of her dedication to her family’s army background. “My father served in the Indian Army for 36 years. We lived in Army Cantonments, moved every couple of years, made new friends, stayed connected with old ones via letters, and had a diverse social circle in general. We were raised with pride and fearlessness and imbibed a sense of community from early on.”
After completing her MBA in Finance, Deepali began her career in Corporate Finance for Infrastructure and Commercial Leasing. Although she loved preparing extensive financial models for infrastructure Projects – she knew that there was something special with Live2Dance that needed her attention full-time.
However, as an immigrant, she faced multiple failed attempts to get a work permit. Finally, after years of effort, she was able to open the doors to the studio in October 2019 – but COVID-19 had other plans. Just like several other small businesses, Live2Dance was forced to shut down and Jamwal lost the dance studio, despite every effort to pivot services and keep the community engaged.
After many months of heartache and uncertainty, Jamwal was able to find a new space and pull the resources together to rebuild Live2Dance from scratch. The very community that she had built, now came together stronger to build out the new space. Her mantra, “You grow a community, and that community will grow you”, came true.
Today, Live2Dance is the largest Bollywood dance group in Pacific NorthWest.
Live2Dance has helped hundreds survive the pandemic and navigate through life’s challenges. Most importantly, it has enabled immigrants to settle down in a new city, fight anxieties, deal with homesickness, and lead a happier, stress-free life. Upon reading her google reviews, many people credit their survival in the US to Live2Dance. Many students say that Live2Dance is the reason why they’ve stayed in Seattle.
“When the mother of a student tells me that for the first time in 10 years her daughter is not on anxiety medication because of Live2Dance, that to me is the ultimate sign of success,” says Jamwal with pride.
One of her website testimonials from a student named Mounica Sirineni reads, “I moved to Seattle 2.5 years ago with no friends here and now I have more than 50 friends. This can happen only at Live2Dance.”
With a motto of ‘People First, Business Lasts’, Deepali is an inspiring entrepreneur. She manages operations, administration, scheduling, social media, branding, promotions, and accounting for the studio. She also teaches and choreographs and is a mom to two young kids.
“My husband and I split responsibilities, but it is not always easy. Thankfully, I am blessed with a supportive family and a dance community that is always willing to lend a hand. I try to laugh as often as possible, and always lean on a hug or a cup of coffee for an extra boost of energy,” she tells us.
Her husband, Ashish Chauhan, describes Live2Dance as a microcosm of global communities packed tightly together.
With a passion journey that transcends continents and decades, Deepali has emerged as a leading dancer-choreographer with the power to create an inclusive community, thousands of miles away from home.