“There’s an added element of openness and a bond that goes beyond just a workout class. It’s not just a dance class now. It’s true community.” – Kara Vasseur, MiSFIT Dance Fitness
At each month’s meeting of CreativeMornings/Charlotte, local creatives are given HUG micro-grants of $250. HUG stands for “Helpful, Unfettered Gifts.” Creatives can apply for HUGs for for-profit or non-profit projects underway in the Queen City. HUGs can be used for everything from boosting social media posts to buying materials to booking event or rehearsal space. Charlotte Is Creative has committed to distributing 250 HUGs to celebrate Charlotte’s 250th anniversary.
In November, Kara Vasseur was awarded a HUG Grant for her project, MiSFIT Dance Fitness. She’s got an incredible story to tell … so let’s let her tell it.
BISCUIT: How long have you lived in Charlotte?
KARA: I’ve lived in Charlotte for about three years now.
BISCUIT: What’s MiSFIT all about?
KARA: MiSFIT is a hip-hop inspired dance fitness class with pop-up events all across the Queen City. At its core, MiSFITis about making fitness accessible. It’s dance fitness, so it doesn’t have to be exact. And, classes are always less than $10, so it’s affordable.
Because we call it “misfit,” the baseline assumption is that you not only aren’t expected to be like everyone else. We actually hope you won’t be.
BISCUIT: What led you to create MiSFIT?
KARA: I think the big myth of fitness is that you have to be a certain type of person to be a part of the community. I felt like a true outsider the first time I walked into a fitness class, and I still felt that way when I started instructing fitness classes.
My intention each time I teach is to a combat that notion aggressively. I started MiSFIT because I wanted to create spaces across the community where people — all people, any people, every people — can express themselves and find the joy that comes from letting go and being free from this idea that you have to measure up.
BISCUIT: Why does Charlotte need MisFIT? What is it giving people that other efforts were not?
KARA: To be honest, when I started this thing, I wasn’t sure how successful it would be. All I thought was, “I feel really alone in the fitness world. Maybe a few other people feel the same way.” I was completely and utterly floored with the response, and the outpouring of “I feel the same! I thought I was the only one.”
In some ways I’m sad there are so many misfits, but at the same time — how freaking cool is that? That we’ve all been here with each other, that we had enough people to start a movement and we all had no idea? I think MiSFIT hasn’t just been about having fitness classes. It’s created an idea to stand behind, which is so badass.
BISCUIT: Why does MiSFIT matter to your dancers?
KARA: I’ve been teaching dance fitness for about six years, but MiSFIT is something completely different. There’s a joy and a freedom I see in my classes that I didn’t before. There’s a positivity and confidence that I hear from the people who come to class. I think it’s one thing to say, “Let loose and have fun!” in a dance class. It’s something else to say, “I see you and I’m like you and we’re doing this thing together—now let loose and have fun.”
There’s an added element of openness and a bond that goes beyond just a workout class. It’s not just a dance class now. It’s true community.
BISCUIT: What did you use the HUG Grant for?
KARA: MiSFIT will soon be MiSFIT, LLC. We’re incorporating this thing, and I’m off-the-walls excited.
BISCUIT: What is your New Year’s resolution for MiSFIT? Where do you go next?KARA: The theme for MiSFIT in the new year is “New Year, Be You.” And, we’re spending 2019 not trying to change who we are, but live fully into it. I’m trying to pull together more events that are collaborative or that support other local Charlotte businesses. We’re also hoping to pop up in new places. We’ve been in South End, NoDa, Plaza Midwood and Sedgefield, but we want to keep going.
BISCUIT: How can the creative community support you in 2019?
KARA: I’m always looking for creative collaborations and community partners. If you want to work together, let’s do this thing! Beyond that, just stay weird and live into yourself 2019.
Watch Kara in action! Video courtesy of SweatNET CLT.
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