A 12 year China veteran, Oksana Krupikova is the Founder, CEO, Head Coach and Gymnastics Program Director at BodyLab Dance Center in Shanghai. Born in Kyrgyzstan while it was under the USSR flag, the Kyrgyz-Russian is an accredited instructor, certified by the USA Gymnastics University National Governing Body (NGB) in Rhythmic Gymnastic, and has more than 15 years coaching experience under her belt.
We caught up with her to hear about her journey.
For people who don’t know, what is BodyLab Dance Center?
BodyLab Dance Center is an international lab with three locations in Shanghai. We offer offline and online classes led by professional and qualified full time coaches.
We specialize in rhythmic gymnastics, hip hop, jazz, contemporary, yoga, fitness and other premium training programs, offering recreational and competitive dance classes for children aged four to 16.
We also have yoga and dance/fitness classes for adults.
How did BodyLab come about?
From the first days when I arrived in China, learning Chinese, an idea came to me – to share my knowledge as a professional gymnast. So I started step-by-step, teaching rhythmic gymnastics.
I noticed that I had a different approach to teaching than other dance instructors in this field, probably because I majored in management. I realized that there was a high demand for dance classes that were approachable, fun, while also providing great results for clients.
In the beginning, I just taught by myself, but as the business grew, I added more instructors, and BodyLab Dance Center became a reality!
So now I combine my two favorite things – managing and coaching.
You studied at an Olympic Reserve School – how was that?
It was a hard and intense experience that changed my life, my personality and the way I live. I learned how to sacrifice myself for any achievement that needed to be reached.
We were raised under a strict discipline: waking up at 6am; training six hours a day; following a special diet; studying daily subjects as normal students on top of it all (math, literature, languages and so on…)
We weren’t free to do whatever we desired; we weren’t allowed to live as our peers – we had a special program.
During that time I suffered a serious injury to my spine, but I couldn’t give up at that moment because I was on the way to finally getting my Master of Sport in rhythmic gymnastics.
Those 11 years were definitely intense, but I don't regret that; the experience helps me during my current life, whatever I’m doing: after failure, keep training – there will be a better result.
Only through good preparation and a clear target to reach can you achieve your goals – in sport, but in life too. Don’t forget to believe in yourself, never lose motivation and vision, and never give up!
Why should children learn to dance?
Dance classes can help a child develop work and learning skills that will help set them up for success for their entire life. Dance classes can increase a child’s flexibility, range of motion, physical strength and stamina.
As well as promoting overall health, enhanced development in these areas can help kids with sports and other activities at school and beyond. Dance is a highly social activity; in a dance class, children learn how to work as part of a team, developing a greater sense of trust and cooperation.
Attending dance classes also allows children to learn self discipline and time management. As they get older, a dancer must learn how to balance school, dance, extracurricular activities and their social life.
The benefits are numerous.
What is your most popular style of dance at BodyLab? And which is your personal favorite?
As I am a professional gymnast, our school is very popular in rhythmic gymnastics. But I love dancing and I learned dance for many years, so have developed hip hop, jazz and contemporary in our school as well.
Contemporary dance is my personal favorite; a style of expressive dance, it combines elements of several dance genres including modern, jazz, lyrical and classical ballet.
Contemporary dancers strive to connect the mind and the body through fluid dance movements. That’s why I like it.
What can people expect from your summer camps?
Dancing is such a great option when it comes to overall health. With all the physical movement – jumping, balancing, bending – dancers are getting a full body workout with every routine. During our summer program, a child will receive a beneficial aerobic workout, along with improved strength and flexibility.
And, of course, our students experience a great deal of learning. The dance routines they are expected to memorize – which include correct timing, facial expressions and being in sequence with a team – encourages dancers to become better overall learners.
Enrolling them in a summer dance camp not only means they will meet new friends, but these new friends will all typically have a common interest.
The summer season is a time for your children to explore and try new things. Enrolling your children in BodyLab summer dance program will create moments and experiences they will always remember.
So, even if dancing isn’t a career path for your child, the memories they will create and the courage they gain by challenging themselves to try something new will last a lifetime.
Have you had to adjust your business model in response to the COVID situation?
As soon as I realized this was going to be a long term closure, we immediately transferred all of our classes to a virtual platform.
Luckily, we had experience from 2020. We followed our set schedule and were able to provide something for the kids to look forward to, a sense of normalcy and a schedule to follow.
We also opened our class to all dancers that were registered – so a dancer taking gymnastics classes could also take contemporary or hip hop. We really tried to keep them active and connected.
Any exciting plans for the future?
Yes, I’d love to keep growing BodyLab Dance Center .But first we need to recover after this pandemic.
3 BodyLab Locations
Lujiazui The MAYFAIR 陆家嘴公馆·张杨店
No.2, 1/F, Building 3, Lane 1550, Zhangyang Lu
021 5058 0559
159 0048 4206 (Manager: Nicole)
2/F, 70, Weifang Xi Lu, by Pucheng Lu
021 6890 8929
157 1308 0602 (Manager: Summer)
FOR A310, 2108 Yanggao Zhong Lu, by Fangdian Lu
13818047724 (Manager: Cindy)
Contact BodyLab by email at email@example.com and follow them on WeChat by scanning the QR code below: