Chat with Bonnie Lister Parsons, Founder at Dance Class Community Platform: School of SOS

SOS has created the world’s most empowering dance classes, connected through a global community and platform.

We are on a mission to empower a generation of women to believe in themselves, using dance as a source of strength, power and confidence that they can perform in all aspects of their lives. . We do this by being able to reach the mass market for the first time both online and in real life.

You can find an SOS class by…

Search for a local SOS class taught by our incredible certified instructors (whom we call BOSSES) through our marketplace
Subscribe to SOS On-Demand, where you can learn directly from the A-support dancers who carry the powerful moves of the artists they work with including Beyoncé, Lizzo, JLo, Rihanna , Dua Lipa and Little Mix, straight to your life room

Crucially, the same process is taught at ALL SOS live and on-demand venues, so whether you’re dancing in Melbourne or Brighton, you’ll get an identical experience at in the same time.

Then our students (who we call Queens) can practice the processes before and between live classes with a Grade A SOS choreographer who created it through registration. Sign our video on demand, creating a seamless matching experience.

School of SOS - YouTube

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

I started my career as a professional back-up dancer and I had the idea for my first business in between rehearsals on the set of the live show The X Factor. I wonder if any of the 20 million viewers at home want to dance like the artists and dancers they watched ‘on screen’, like I did when I was growing up. I did my research and couldn’t believe nothing like it existed, so I founded my first company, Seen on Screen, when I was 23 years old.

Seen on Screen continues to be in the media, and because I will receive requests from people around the world every year to claim SOS in their cities, I soon learned that the global demand for the experience SOS classroom.

However, despite our success as a brand and consistently selling out in London, the Seen on Screen boutique model that employs elite London-based studios and professional dancers has didn’t scale, so I started looking for new ways to scale the SOS experience. has become a top fitness trend in its own right.

Students also started writing to me telling me how SOS had changed their lives, so I began to understand that the SOS experience had the power to create an earthquake. This is where our mission is to empower a generation of women through dance, so every decision on how we will build a new, high-growth version of Seen on Screen is made. Working against the goal is how we reach the most people, at least in a profitable, empowering and inclusive way.

At the end of 2018, the master plan was laid out and the SOS School was established.

How has your sponsorship journey been?

I wish I could say it’s a positive thing, but as a female founder it’s not and it’s unacceptable that only 2% of billions of dollars are invested in startups. career every year is on the women’s team. Living by that statistic is testament to the resilience of female founders, and my journey is a living representation of that statistic.

I’ve started my funding journey promoting angels and VCs, but I keep getting feedback that we’re ‘too early’. I don’t mind (I’ve looked at it and researched their feedback to build our traction) but after two years of dealing with investor feedback, I see male founders without any issues. whatever traction we’ve built, raising millions of pounds. So I started asking, why am I ‘so early’, but they’re not!?

By 2018, I realized that if I wanted to raise equity, I had to do things differently. So I decided to launch a women’s ring despite being told that women don’t invest, women don’t like risks and the women’s offering would hold back my business. I’m so glad I decided to prove them wrong and have an incredible support team around me as we launched an all-female Instagram circle and raised £100,000 from a home group All-female investment for 2 weeks.

How has the company grown during the pandemic?

The pandemic has really been the catalyst for the growth of the School of SOS. The world has to adapt so quickly and everything goes online overnight, so that eliminates the need to launch a shiny, ‘perfect’ video subscription and means we can test the service our online offering in a truly inexpensive, lightweight way that greatly benefits our community.

Most importantly, we wanted to make sure SOS actually came to our community during an unprecedented time for everyone’s mental health, so 6 weeks of our digital classes in the first round of lockdown, which is free on Instagram Live. You can then catch up on on-demand live classes through a paid subscription to Patreon.

Our Instagram is up 1100% from the first lockdown and Instagram itself heard about my SOS and DM’d (surreal moment!) Ask to feature us in their schedule of Instagram Lives best in the world.

We took our instructor training courses online, allowing us to train instructors from around the world over a weekend to become certified SOS BOSSES. We even did an Australian language course for Australia from London, which allowed us to depart from Melbourne without ever boarding a flight.

Ultimately, the pandemic, and our response to it, has allowed SOS to increase our reach far faster and cheaper than we were able to do before COVID. As we say at SOS, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade!

What can we hope to see from School of SOS in the future?

In 2022, SOS will launch our custom-built dance tech platform our female CTO Leah Cohen (which we’re excited about) will kick off after our huge tour in UK and Ireland, visit 13 cities in 3 months, hit our first 100 certified trainers.

This platform will include a two-sided marketplace, allowing our BOSSES to manage their classes and our Queens to search their local classroom. This comes with our exclusive video-on-demand library, giving you a one-stop-shop for all things SOS.

In five years’ time, SOS will go global with life-changing classes on every street corner and on any device. Ultimately, our boldest goal, at the heart of everything we do, is to change the direction of equality faster because we exist.

If we do, the journey of SOS – with all the ups and downs it had to go through to get here, will be worth it and we’re on our way! Chat with Bonnie Lister Parsons, Founder at Dance Class Community Platform: School of SOS

Fry Electronics Team

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