Like many other Americans, Vicki Wang lost her job about a year ago.
“Finally a wave of layoffs hit me,” she said. “I had that initial shock and depression, but then it was kind of a blessing.”
The UCSB business economics and marketing major graduated five years ago and found a job in advertising, first in Goleta and later in her hometown of San Jose.
“I had a 9-to-5 and I got back into dancing because after work I had to do something to get my mind off of it,” she said.
Wang practiced ballet, Chinese dance and gymnastics, but chose volleyball, basketball and field hockey once in high school. When she got back into dancing about two years ago, it was like she hadn’t lost a step, Wang said.
“I just realized how much I missed it and I loved it,” she said. “It came back easily. I feel that people should have that outlet to do what they love and exercise.”
After the sting of her layoff dissipated, Wang realized it was a blessing in disguise; it gave her time to open her performing arts studio Sino West at 5718 Hollister Ave. in Old Town Goleta, she said. About two months ago, she took over the 3,000-square-foot space that used to be home to a church.
“Without doing dance, gymnastics and sports I wouldn’t have been as motivated or disciplined to create my business plan and go through the whole process,” said Wang, who endured many rejections but eventually found a loan through the Small Business Administration.
Current adult and kids classes include ballet, jazz, hip-hop, Chinese dance, acrobatics, salsa, Zumba, yoga, tai chi, qi gong, Shaolin kung fu and weaponry.
Sino West has a variety of professional instructors, including a State Street Ballet ballerina, a professionally trained dancer from China.
“I wish more people knew about the studio because they are very compassionate when they teach,” said Kendra Fong, who takes the Classical Chinese class and whose son participates in kung fu. “My teacher Dragon is such an artist. Just to watch him move is amazing.”
Five years removed from college, Wang didn’t expect to have her own business. Although some parents are skeptical because of her age, everything changes when they see how happy their kids are after a class, she said.
“I don’t feel that defeat anymore,” said Wang, who is hosting an open house at 3 p.m. Dec. 3. “I’m finally seeing the results.
“I get to see a lot of happy kids and adults, and that’s what makes me happy.”