Fine Arts Meets Fitness at Grand Jeté


When Shannon Boswell walked across the stage at the University of Alabama, she knew she was leaving her undergraduate days behind, but not her dreams of dancing.

SEO queen by day, dance warrior by night. That’s how Boswell balances her two passions post-college. The training she received has opened more than a few doors, and the latest one really raises the barre.

A Time for Dance

Boswell has been teaching dance classes to high school students for some time now at Birmingham Southern College. When she’s not teaching, she enjoys trying out barre studios around town.

While taking a course at Grand Jeté in English Village, the instructor was taken aback by Boswell’s graceful flow and impeccable form. She pulled Boswell aside after class and offered her the chance to become a part-time instructor at the studio.

In the weeks that followed, Boswell started training three times per week at Grand Jeté. It was important for her to build up stamina and practice doing the workouts while talking over a headset. After all, one of her biggest jobs is to be an example, so it’s important to not be out of breath!

Boswell enjoys being able to put her own spin on the workouts and the interactive element of tailoring the workouts to the level of the class. She is finishing her training as a co-teacher through April, and she will begin teaching the second week of May.

Trying Out Grand Jeté

While Boswell has tried quite a few barre studios, for her, Grand Jeté is the most authentic to ballet.

“The workouts here are based on ballet, yoga, and weights, with a little cardio thrown in,” Boswell said.

If you don’t have a dancing background like Boswell, the good news is that it’s not necessary for these fitness classes. You’ll work on mastering basic ballet movements, building strength, and learning a bit of dance terminology along the way. It’s also a great energy boost, with workouts choreographed in time with pop favorites.

For those who like a challenge, bear in mind that the workouts change every three weeks at Grand Jeté. This means you have a limited amount of time to master each move, so consistency is essential.

“Most of all, the discipline you learn in dance will help you in work and in all other areas of your life,” Boswell said.

Boswell will teach her first solo class on May 9. Get with her on details if you’d like to give it a try!

The Secret to Mastering Your To-Do List

To-do list

To-do lists are something we are all familiar with at Strong. Many of us have them digitized, even automated. And while these methods do keep us on track, they may not be the most efficient.

The Ivy Lee Method

In the early 20th century, Charles M. Schwab was president of the Bethlehem Steel Corporation and one of the most successful men in his industry. Always seeking ways to improve, he called upon productivity expert Ivy Lee. Today, Lee is remembered as one of the founding fathers of public relations, but he was a master of business and efficiency even outside of that.

When the two men met, Lee needed only one thing: 15 minutes with each of Schwab’s executives. He promised Schwab that he would owe him nothing that day. Instead, Lee asked that he wait three months, then pay him whatever he saw reasonable. Schwab ended up writing Lee a check for around $400,000 in today’s money.

So, what did Lee do in those 15-minute sessions that generated such impressive results?

Mastering the To-Do List

This simple method helped Schwab’s company to achieve peak productivity.

  1. Before you leave at the end of the day, write down the six most important tasks you need to accomplish the next day. Stick to only six.
  2. Arrange these items in order of their true importance.
  3. When you arrive the next day, focus on the first task on the list. Keep working until task 1 is complete, then move on to task 2.
  4. Continue moving through the list, moving any unfinished tasks to the next day.
  5. Repeat this process for each working day.

Applying the Method at Work

Now, you may be wondering how such a simple method could be applicable to an environment like Strong’s. It appears that the simplicity of the list is actually one of its most valuable features. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed with a myriad of tasks, not knowing where exactly to begin.

The Ivy Lee method gives you a starting point at the beginning of your day. You don’t have to waste time deciding what is most important or where you should begin. Instead, it has already been done for you.

Inevitably, things will come up, and hot items will find their way onto your plate. Deal with them as they come, and once everything has cooled down, return to your list.

Not every methodology works for everyone, but this is one simple strategy to keep yourself focused and not succumb to the myth that is multitasking.