When Tiffany Taylor, our NJMOMpreneur of the week, became a mom, she knew her demanding schedule as a professional dancer and a teacher wouldn’t allow her the time she wanted with her baby girl. Figuring she wasn’t the only new mama looking to squeeze in a little workout with a baby in tow, she had an idea to combine the best of both worlds: Boogie Woogie Babies. The combination couldn’t be more perfect—think mommy-and-me music classes with a big dose of dance and fitness for moms, hosted by a mama who (true story) used to play Elmo on Sesame Street Live’s national tour. We sat down with the South Orange mom to chat career shifts, her passion for the arts, and her favorite Jersey spot for a killer crabcake sandwich.
Tell us about your background and how it led you to start Boogie Woogie Babies.
I have been dancing since I was three and trained in all areas of dance—tap, ballet, jazz, hip hop, African, Bollywood, lyrical, and gymnastics. In my career, I’ve danced in several music videos, performed in numerous shows, belonged to a tap and Bollywood company, and was even a dancer on a national tour for Sesame Street Live as Elmo (yes, this was excellent training for working with babies). I’ve been teaching dance since I was 17, working for several studios and school programs in North Jersey and NYC. I’ve also been a choreographer for competition teams, artists, and some freelance projects.
Three years ago, I had my daughter Skyler, and I was struggling with my schedule. It was tough for me to juggle teaching, a fitness routine, a new baby, and everything else. One day I just figured I could bring all those worlds together and thought of a dance class with moms and babies that would get everyone moving. By creating Boogie Woogie Babies, I was able to work with my newborn daughter by my side, and also do all the things that new moms do—meet other moms, work out, and bond with my baby.
What are the classes like?
The classes are 45 minutes of dance for a baby and their big person. Besides dancing, there’s singing and playing, and it’s really energetic and fun. The moms can sneak in a workout, and the music is upbeat and lively to get everyone participating. I’ve heard moms say that our class is different from other baby classes they have tried and appreciate that they get a chance to get up and move. I love hearing those comments because it reassures me that what I’m doing is useful and needed and motivates me to keep going.
Does your daughter like to dance? How has she shaped the Boogie Woogie program?
My daughter loves to dance. Skyler is my business partner and trusty assistant during class, and she’s already learning how to lead a classroom. During a class, she collects props and will take the lead in starting certain songs and dances. Watching Skyler grow up and age out of the baby phase pushed me to team up with a few dance friends to form Beyond The Boogie Dance Company. It allows the Boogie Woogie babies, who are now preschoolers, to continue their dance training at a more advanced level, all the way through high school.
How have you adjusted your business throughout the pandemic?
Before the pandemic, we would schedule classes at local libraries and community spaces. When the pandemic started, we went virtual in partnerships with local libraries. We use Facebook Live, Instagram, and Zoom, and we’ll continue to do virtual as long as it’s still needed. Over the summer and with the good weather, we’ve held in-person classes at Waterland’s Park in South Orange. We have each person stationed on a socially-distant mat, wearing masks and taking all the COVID-19 precautions.
What causes are you passionate about supporting, and how has Boogie Woogie Babies allowed you to participate in those?
I am very passionate about the arts and children being active. Boogie Woogie Babies has allowed me to introduce the art of dance to them at their level. Even throughout the shutdown, I was still able to reach so many babies and their moms virtually. I am happy that for at least a half-hour, I gave them a space to exert some energy after being stuck in the house and expose them to different types of dance.
I’m also passionate about helping new moms. We recently were part of New Jersey’s 3rd Annual Black Breastfeeding Week, hosted by Perinatal Health Equity. We taught a virtual class during their kick-off to get everyone moving and excited about the week’s events. I breastfed my daughter, so I understand the commitment, joys, and woes that come with that. I am always down to support any groups offering guidance and spreading the word about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Tell us about some of your favorite local NJ businesses and why you love them.
I love BBE Fitness based out of Frenchtown because I can get in a quick virtual work out before I start my day. Baby Please Birth Services has amazing birthing classes, and my husband and I felt so secure and prepared for Skyler’s birth after taking them. And Inkosi Cafe in South Orange has a crab cake that makes your eyes roll to the back of your head—you can get it either as a sandwich or a salad.
What do you wish you knew about being an NJMOMpreneur before starting your business? What advice can you give to budding NJMOMprenuers?
I wish I had known more about the basics, like how to form an LLC. Boogie Woogie Babies started as a class, and over the years, has morphed into a business, so I’ve had to adapt. My advice is to be very observant of people who have experience running a business and don’t be afraid to ask questions to improve on what you’re doing. I know I’m always learning as I go on this journey.