Åsa Fornander is not only a fantastic dancer, she is also a concept developer of world-famous dance classes. Starting off as a dancer Åsa Fornander found her way to combine her dance background & knowledge with her passion for the fitness/health industry and created her own business out of it.
Back at the beginning
Åsa Fornander is a trained dancer who struggled with anorexia at a young age but fought herself out of it by finding her happiness and energy in the fitness and dancing environment. In 2001 Åsa Fornander got signed by NIKE as a NIKE MASTER TRAINER and ever since she worked full time and established herself as one of the most hired and most popular profiles in the dancing and fitness world.
In 2008 Åsa decided to move to NYC to follow her dreams, she worked as an instructor and dancer at Broadway Dance Centre, all that to train her dancing skills and educate herself. Not long after that she even won the ”Golden Heart” as the group fitness instructor of the year.
After developing and training herself into the best dancer, Åsa Fornander decided to move back to Sweden and conceptualized one of the most world-famous dance classes called AfHo (Afro House). Her classes have become so successful, that she now has over 400 instructors in that concept working for her.
"I’ve worked hard, in a super competitive business - and I’ve created something unique and found a way to live my dream AND created several working opportunities for others, both in Sweden and in the US"
Turning your passion into a business, have you always been entrepreneurial?
I think I’ve always had the entrepreneurial and creativity in me I think – but I haven’t had the courage and confidence. I remember my first event that I did, it was just one simple class – for a special event and I was so nervous to be in charge of it all by myself.
Can you describe your dancers?
It’s a bit of a mix – females & males, completely different professionalities – but what they do have in common is that they like to take care of themselves.
Even if they have a super important and busy job – they make time for their passion or interests. It’s people that know the importance of having something/somewhere where they can get a ”release” that helps them be even better versions of themselves in their everyday life. They are not at that level that they feel forced to work out. Instead of being a ”must do” it’s more like a hobby..a passion.. and they chose a way of working out that they enjoy doing. It’s a lifestyle.
How can one find your business?
I have a website – asafornander.com where you can read about me, my weekly classes and events, and of course my concepts, my retreats, and travels. I do most of my PR in social media, Instagram and Facebook – and in my classes. The most efficient way – by far – is when the people that have joined me for an event are spreading the word because they liked it. It’s my own mission to become better on marketing strategies.. It’s not my favorite at the moment.
What sacrifices have you had to make to start a business?
Most sacrifices are about social life, obviously in different ways. For example, when I started working like this – a lot of weekends and evenings/late nights – I lost several friends. For example – most weekends I often travel to different events/workshops etc. and I always have to turn down invitations to parties or dinner.. and after a while I stopped getting the invitations – so I remember one weekend when I actually was home and available – everybody was busy and no one asked me – or had time for me.
However – these days, many of my friends have similar time-rhythm and we make it work. I might have fewer friends, but they are close and real friends that understand how it is to work a lot.
How do you get unstuck creatively?
It depends on what area – if it’s about creating a choreography it’s all about the music.. I LOVE music – and I love to be updated with new music. If I feel something I can create. Overall I get inspired and creative by learning, never stop learning – and that can be traveling, it can be my own practice/training, it can be attending a workshop.. it can be going to concert or show.
"Creative things makes me creative. "
How would you describe your work style during the days?
It can be very different from day to day.. which is one of the things I LOVE about my work. If I’m in the process of creating a new release to one of my concepts it’s kind of intense, and long days that takes a lot of energy.
Since I teach classes I have these time slots that are remaining the same from week to week – which is good. It helps me if I have a lot of work with something I still need to go and teach that class, and when I teach I have to be present. I can’t really think of something else. I believe that helps me focus – and being more present in my other tasks as well.
My days are dynamic – it’s a different kind of work in different places, which means it both contributes with a lot of energy, but it also takes some. I can get overwhelmed sometimes when it’s a lot- but I never ever get bored.
Tell us about your proudest achievement?
I have a few moments that I’m super proud of – and one of them is when Crunch gym brought in my concept and launched it as a new concept earlier this year. Between 2008-2011 I managed to get a working visa for the US, a 0-1 visa, which is a visa for a special ability. I got it as a dancer and spokesperson for the fitness industry.
During that time I worked at a Crunch gym in New York City – where I got to launch my signature class called Tribal House Party. When I got back to Sweden i conceptualized the class – and made it a legit group fitness concept which is AfHo – that I’ve already mentioned. When the biggest gym chain in Sweden (and the Nordics) brought it in a few years ago was a very proud moment. I and my Master Trainer went all over the Nordics and we trained over 200 instructors in one month and the whole launch was great. But when Crunch also wanted to bring it in last year – it felt like the circle was closed. Back to where it all started. We’ve had three pieces of training in the US, NYC & San Fran – and when they launched it in February as ”Tribal House Party by AfHo” it felt like it all was meant to be.
What is your greatest fear, and how do you manage fear in general?
It was a great fear when I started to involve other people in my business. For example – AfHo again, my first concept – it’s like my baby. I’ve worked so hard with it – to develop it into a concept – there’s a thought behind everything. How to perform it, how to teach it. The energy in it. I know it all – obviously – since I’ve created it. And then to let go of the product for other instructors to teach it. And what if they didn’t understand my thoughts and ideas with it…and what if it fails – that was scary. I guess the fear in it was to let go of the control..
I try to challenge myself every day – in a different way since this is still a fear in different situations. To bring in people that work for me and with me – like my master trainers that present and educate in the different concepts.. I know that they are awesome, but it’s still scary to see someone else educate my concepts. And at the same time, it’s super cool and a true honor.
Do you believe in destiny or do you think you can control your fate?
A bit of both I guess. I do believe that universe has a plan for us – and those (most) things happen for a reason. But I definitely think we can manifest and work for things to happen as well. A determination is an underestimated power. I sure do believe in talent, timing, and destiny – but I also think that hard work and determination can create miracles.
If you had one piece of advice to our readers to those just starting out as a business owner, what would it be?
To concentrate on the things you’re good at. I know that we have to do a bit of everything in the beginning – but as soon as you have the possibility – lay out the things you don’t like/not are good at. Instead of being totally drained by trying to do everything – save your energy for the things you’re good at – and are supposed to do. Just like you should surround yourself with people who support you and allow you to shine – be the same to yourself. Allow yourself to shine.
Check out her website to find more about her trainings http://asafornander.com