We had the good fortune of connecting with Melody Afkami and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melody, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind my brand is the messaging. Sure, it’s a high intensity dance fitness class that will burn around 400-700 calories each class, but the physical aspect is hardly emphasized. I’m more interested in helping students accept and embrace themselves for who they already are. I believe that dance is extremely healing, but only if you are willing to let go and be present. Dance has a powerful ability to get to the truth of where you are, and if you’re open to it, it can be a very cathartic experience. I want everyone in class to feel seen and most importantly, I want to remind them of their power within, As humans, we tend to be overly critical of ourselves, and my mission is to help people be more gentle with themselves. Some fitness brands focus on physical results and that is great, but this isn’t a workout class that’s only focused on getting you abs or a bigger butt. I enjoy those kinds of workouts too, but the fitness industry is already saturated with various workouts labeled “Get Abs in Two Weeks!” and that’s just not where my passion lies. My dialogue is all about fixing your inner thoughts and owning where you are. True health starts in our minds so I’m passionate about helping others celebrate themselves from the inside out. I believe this has been the key to my success and impact.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m most proud of the positive impact Melody DanceFit has had on others. I’ve received messages from people who said my words in class inspired them to leave an abusive relationship, negotiate higher pay, start a new career, and most importantly, that they just feel happier in their own skin. What sets MDF apart from others, is that it’s not just about being happier and positive all the time, it’s about accepting the beautiful duality of light and darkness, then having a dance party to celebrate it. Fitness shouldn’t always be about grinding so hard that you repress your feelings or staying so positive that you end up being toxic to yourself. I wanted to create a space for people to get a great workout that wasn’t focused on the physical. Another aspect that sets MDF apart is the philanthropy behind it all. Since the inception of this brand, we have donated a portion of profits to an amazing nonprofit called Dress For Success. I wanted to give people a reason to donate & dance at the same time. It wasn’t easy starting my company, because most people were confused as to how I could make it a full time job. Most instructors had separate full time jobs and teaching was only a part time gig. While I had some skeptics I also had great friends who encouraged me through each phase. My best friend was the one inspired me to become an instructor and was constantly helping me spread the word about my classes. Ultimately, I overcame the challenges by simply continuing my work and staying consistent. I want the world to know that Melody DanceFit is not just about fitness or dance, it’s more about letting go of all the pressure you put on yourself and letting go through movement. Most importantly, I want everyone to know that no matter what they may think, they can and should dance all the time!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many individuals who helped me build this incredible community, but my biggest mentor has definitely been my father. Growing up, he was an executive coach/motivational speaker for various large corporations and I remember sitting in on his seminars as a 10 year old. While my memory is vague, what I remember most is how much he energized the people in those seminars. He would teach to groups of serious CEO’s/managers and then make them do these silly exercises to get them out of their comfort zones. By the end, it was as though every participant was different, more open, more talkative, more alive. I thought it was amazing how even 10-20 years later we’d run into someone that took his course and remembered him so well. While I do something much different, my passion of getting others energized and inspired is rooted from seeing the positive impact my father’s career had on others.
Greg Fulks, Erick Yanez, Abbey Grimes, Nico Loayza