“Suddenly we had a way to reach women globally and provide them with a great workout regardless of where they were in the world.”
- Victoria Marr, Co-Founder of Sleek Technique
I’m so thrilled to be showcasing how close friends and professional ballet dancers Victoria Marr and Flik Swan came up with the concept of Sleek Technique – a total body fitness method based on authentic ballet technique to hone, tone and strengthen your body like nothing else.
In the below interview, Victoria and Flik share the journey they’ve been on to style a career they LOVE and enter the world of entrepreneurship….
Tell me more about your career(s) before launching Sleek?
Victoria: Flik and I met as bright eyed eleven year olds at full time dance school. We often had a giggle at each other across the barre in ballet class but by age sixteen we were firmly focused on our chosen paths. I went on to train at the Royal Ballet School and far from the warm environment of junior school with Flik, it was pretty cold and hellishly competitive. I was one of the lucky two girls that year who got a contract with one of the Royal Ballet companies and at age eighteen I started my professional dance career. I quickly began to rise through the ranks and as First Soloist, I have spent the last seventeen years touring the world in beautiful production from Swan Lake to Sleeping Beauty and everything in between.
Flik: I had a life changing break when I was ‘spotted’ by an agent at seventeen years old. They signed me on the spot and I was lucky enough to go on to have a dream career in shows including A Chorus Line and Chicago in the West End and with companies from the RSC to Sadlers Wells. During this time I also began choreographing and coaching professionally and also gained a First Class Honours Degree in Literature which remains one of my proudest achievements, second only to my dance career. Vicky and I have spent many an evening in the front row watching each others debuts and enjoying each others success over the years but never got to work together… Until now!
What inspired you to create Sleek?
V: Throughout our careers neither Flik or I suffered with any injuries. I put that down to a combination of well practiced technique and the extra fitness training we did. Even injury free, a career in top level dance is relatively short and always wanting to finish at the top we had both already begun to think about the what next? I had qualified as a fitness trainer while still dancing but found it dry and was keen to combine it in some way with what I loved; dance.
F: I felt it was only natural to use what Vicky and I had spent so many years perfecting and after a phone call in June 2012 we decided to do something together. Vicky took a trip to the States to look at other dance workouts out there and distilled a lot of what worked and what didn’t. On her return we began to develop our very own technique designed to shape, tone, lengthen and strengthen a woman’s body dancer style!
V: Sleek technique is a great method that really works but the real twist is in it’s delivery. Often both on tour with shows, Flik and I did a lot of Sleek planning via Skype and in the search for a way to bring Sleek to as many women as possible, Flik had Light bulb moment about delivering our classes online. Suddenly we had a way to reach women globally and provide them with a great workout regardless of where they were in the world.
Setting up Sleek must have been very different to your career(s) as professional dancers, what would you say was the biggest challenge was for you?
V: I hate sitting still and I am terribly untechi. I have to go to a fair share of meetings now and work a lot on a computer but if I can do it, anyone can.
F: I can second Vicky’s ‘untechiness’ but we’ve come on quite a way since the early days… I think!
What part of the journey have you enjoyed the most?
V: Working with a great friend and equally strong and vibrant woman. We often still have a cheeky smile at each other in a meeting and both of us often say we couldn’t have done it with anyone else.
F: Absolutely! I work with one of my lifelong friends, we have creative control and mutual respect, enthusiasm, discipline and goals. It’s a perfect combination. The response we get for Sleek never ceases to make me feel on top of the world too.
What’s the big dream?
V: To build an online community of Sleek women globally who love to workout together in a fun, effective, convenient way.
F: Sleek is building and growing everyday, I want that to continue and for me the sky is the limits!
What advice would you give to other women who dream of starting their own business?
V: There are so many steps to take from the idea of a business to the actual formation of one. Doing it on your own gives you freedom to call all the shots but can be pretty lonely. For me, having the right person to work alongside, who is equally invested in the end goal and I can bounce ideas off, is they key to success.
F: Believe in your idea or product, there’s no room for genuine doubt. Be patient, it takes time and commitment to get things off the ground but nothing is impossible if you put the graft in. And speak to family, friends and contacts around you – it’s rare that people won’t want to offer advice and support if you ask for it.
What’s your favourite quote?
V: “There are no small parts, only small actors”. To me it says, make the most of every opportunity.
F: From my mum: “Always do the washing up before bed… You won’t want to face it in the morning.” She’s right.
What- if anything- would you have done differently in hindsight?
V: Going from my final farewell performance on stage on a Saturday night straight to full time on Sleek the following Monday was a bit of a double edged sword. I underestimated the sense of loss after finishing such a long and happy career in what was my first love. On one hand it was great to have a new challenge to throw myself into but in hindsight, a bit of time out wouldn’t have hurt.
F: I’d have started Sleek three years ago! That said, with the growing trend in virtual fitness our timing was pretty on the nose.. Any sooner could possibly have been fruitless.
If you want to find out more or to try one of SleekTechnique’s body shaping LIVE classes or workouts click here.
Or contact Victoria or Flik on email@example.com
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