Startup Interview – ArtPerUK

ArtPerUK is a dance academy that was created to share Peruvian culture with the wider community in London and the UK, through the art and enjoyment of dance. They offer Peruvian folkloric dance classes that are representative of the three regions of Peru: coast, mountains and jungle. We believe that dancing is a great way to keep fit, meet people and explore different cultures. We don’t just dance, we take you on a journey through the culture and history of Peru through several detailed choreographies. We run classes both online and in-person, as well as corporate events for several clients both big and small, where we perform at their commercial shows.

ArtPerUK burst onto the UK dance scene in mid-2019, offering Peruvian folkloric dance classes that are representative of the three regions of Peru: coast, mountains and jungle. The company was founded to help people keep fit, meet people and explore Peruvian culture through dance.

Not just a dance group, it takes people on a journey to learn the culture through detailed choreographies and witness the colourful dance costumes that come with each dance. ArtPerUK started as specialised dance class, but has since expanded to perform at corporate events, including the International Maritime Organisation in Central London

With the 200th year of Peruvian independence approaching, ArtPerUK is heavily promoting its dance culture to raise awareness of Peruvian culture in the UK, and get more people across the UK and beyond to participate in its initiatives, to keep fit, have fun and dance…

Who Are The Brains Behind The Brand?

The company is the brainchild of Katherine Tinoco Reyes, a Peruvian immigrant who came to the UK in 2017. Katherine used her business acumen to professionalise and develop this idea into an organisation, by setting up subscription packages and creating a loyal base of clients, and then built up a website by herself using a free service, then oversaw the marketing of the group, both the website, and across social media, doing much of the work promoting the business by herself.

After she started ArtPerUK, she set up a core team to be able to assist in her endeavours, her husband Andreas helped her with the marketing efforts, and her group of friends, Estrella, Minntzi, Monika and Roxanna formed the core base of her dancers who take part in professional shows and support her behind the scenes in research, supporting the events, video edition, leading some classes, etc.

What Is The Mission Of Art Peruk?

To help people stay fit and healthy, both mentally and physically through dancing, and working to create community spirit amongst our dance groups.  We are more than just a typical dance studio, we want to take people on a journey of colour, history and culture, so they have fun and are immersed in the culture of Peruvian folklore while keeping fit and having fun.

Why Dance?

Dance is Katherine’s passion, and what she excels at. It is also a great way to have fun and keep fit, and what makes ArtPerUK unique is that it combines the fitness and fun of dance with the colour, vibrancy of Peruvian culture, where students learn the meanings behind the dances and clients get to see the wonderful colourful and meaningful costumes that go with each dance.

What Was Your Inspiration To Start The Company?

Having come to the UK in 2017, Katherine set out looking to join Peruvian and Latin American dance groups in London, however, she did not found any dance groups that met her requirements and expectations so she started her own group. At first it was just a few friends dancing for fun, and it soon morphed into a fully fledged dance group. Katherine loved to dance and was a dancer at one of the major Peruvian dance associations, where she would dance on stage to audiences eager to watch and enjoy the spectacle of Peruvian dance. The opportunity to do what she loved in a market like that in the UK, where Peruvian dance was almost unheard of, really motivated her, and wanted to set up a group where Peruvian women could dance, socialise and share their culture, as well as showcasing it to the wider community in London and the UK.

With People’s Habits Changing So Much In The Last Year, Have More People Become Interested In Dancing?

Lockdown came at a really bad time for ArtPerUK, when we were just starting to expand our physical classes, and were attracting interest through free trial dance classes around South London.  However, “every challenge is an opportunity”, Katherine said, and when lockdown was implemented, ArtPerUK switched to online classes, and suddenly we were able to attract several clients to the classes. Online classes also allowed us to attract clients from outside of London, like Germany, Japan, USA, etc and allowed us to expand its client base beyond physical constraints of having to be present in a certain place.

Are People Finding It Useful As A Form Of Online Exercise?

Absolutely!  Lockdown meant that people wanted to keep fit and maintain social contact, and that is what ArtPerUK offered. While in lockdown ArtPerUK launched more than 151 online dance lessons private and public, created several online challenges and driving awareness and participation. Ironically lockdown also made some things easier, by allowing people to dance from the comfort of their own home and not have to travel, which actually helped get a lot more participants.

Like many businesses having experienced life online, when lockdown restrictions ease, ArtPerUK hopes to continue a hybrid model of online as well as physical classes, as its proven that it can work perfectly well, if a bit different online. Currently we are running online dance lessons once a week and we will have our first live event in the 24th July where we will have 2 hours of dance workshop and a peruvian food tasting experience afterwards, tickets are available now on Eventbrite:

What Do The Next 5 Years Have In Store For Art Peruk?

It’s been an amazing almost 2 years so far, and we are hoping to continue our growth trajectory upwards. We’ve got several events planned, including some big events later in the year with Queen Mary University of London. ArtPerUK wants to expand its client base of dance students for our regular classes, and also expand our corporate client base.

ArtPerUK has invested substancial amounts in bringing the authentic costumes for the dances from Peru, so clients can receive a really special colourful dance experience when they hire ArtPerUK for their events. We’ll continue to invest in our costumes as we grow, and this will allow us to increase our choreographies that we offer. We really hope that in 5 years time, we’ve been able to scale into a big dance academy, with classes not just across London, but with specially trained teachers across the UK offering our unique, fun and exciting dance classes.

How Can We Find You?