Keep Moving: Chicago’s Free Mvmt Shop

On August 11, Speed Mvmt took over our West Loop store in Chicago. What is Speed Mvmt, you may ask? We went straight to the source to learn all about it.

Meet Ashley, the instructor and founder of Free Mvmt Shop:

“I fell in love with dance at the age of 2 and, frankly, haven’t stopped since. All through my early education I danced in a Toledo, OH performance company where I truly established my foundation through amazing training. It was my first glance at life as a professional dancer and what that could offer. After attending a conservatory of performing arts for college in Pittsburgh, it was West Coast to East Coast to what I truly never thought — Midwest. Chicago became my home after I accepted a job dancing in a professional jazz company here. Several years of my life traveling the world, performing, teaching and doing what I love. It was incredible and set me up wonderfully for all that was to come. I explored other avenues outside of concert dance including theater, dancing with the opera, commercial gigs including the most insane of experiences, dancing for Beyonce… (That was actually a total coincidence! I happened to attend an audition, for whom it wasn’t disclosed. Once we got there, little rumors began that it was Beyonce. From then on I was dead set on booking that job, and I did. And they put my right off her shoulder. It was a dream. I did two shows with her and, as one could say, my dance bucket list was basically complete.

“When I retired from performing, I knew I wanted other things — a family, a business. Crazy, so young in life to say “retired,” but life shifts fast, especially when your career is such a physical one. Before I settled on Free Mvmt Shop, I knew I was interested in a physical space. That could have been a number of things ie. coffee shop, donut shop, dance studio, etc. I just wanted a place where people could gather and feel good. At the time I was teaching dance to corporate adults in their offices, and loved it. After every class, people always came up to me and asked me where they could replicate these 30 minutes of joy and movement  (many of them with zero previous dance experience) and I didn’t have an answer. It was in those moments that Free Mvmt Shop was born.

Free Mvmt Shop truly is a unicorn in the fitness space. There is nothing like it. We are truly a space in which people of all bodies and all levels can come to access movement equally. I specifically refer to dance as “movement,” because the word dance tends to intimidate people. People quickly disqualify themselves as dancers and they have an easier time identifying as a mover. Our studio is lively, artistic and designed to make you feel safe and at home. No judgement and inviting to all. That may seem obvious as something all studios stand for but, being in one of the most fitness-driven cities in the world, I can say a lot of spaces aren’t as committed to this approach. We lead with openness and from a place of kindness. Environment and feeling are of the utmost importance to us. Finding freedom through movement and your voice is empowering. And something that we believe you can carry into your everyday life. It’s more than just dance, yoga and cardio to us — we are creating a literal movement. And a new approach to wellness, self care, loving yourself. I’ts not fluff. The classes kick your butt and feed your soul. The music gets you hype and keeps you going. The community lifts you up and inspires you. “


If you are in the Chicago area and would like to check out one of Ashley’s amazing classes, check out the Free Mvmt website here.

For upcoming pop-ups in our nationwide Free People Stores, click here

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Sounds like a great workout! Thanks for the playlist too!

Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog