Looking for a Zen-like, quiet place to practice yoga and movement? Nike Olabisi’s soon-to-launch movement and wellness space will not be that place.
“There are thousands of places to go for slow flow that are cool and calm,” says Olabisi, founder of Nola Movement. “This space is about fueling your fire. If you’re going to come in and give me and my team 50 minutes of your time, I want you to leave feeling fired up.”
Olabisi plans to deliver that experience via a three-pronged model: “move, flow, and HIIT.” The “move” piece will encompass dance fitness classes such as Zumba, hip-hop, and Brazilian rhythms; “flow” will include power yoga and strength classes; and “HIIT” will bring in high-intensity interval training with Strong by Zumba. Donation-based morning meditations will round out the initial offerings, according to Olabisi.
“We’ll start with a limited schedule of eight to 10 classes per week, and as the community creates the demand, we’ll grow,” says Olabisi.
Olabisi leading a rehearsal with her samba troupeThe Nola Movement founder is no stranger to getting the community moving and grooving. Since 2009, Olabisi has been teaching Zumba all over Northeast Ohio, or as she says, “everywhere from big-box gyms like LA Fitness to YMCAs to churches to local community centers.” In fact, Olabisi left her corporate job at Swagelok in 2018 to focus full-time on Nola Movement, and she sees a dedicated space as the next logical step.
“I’ve taught so many places, but I always knew I wanted my own space,” says Olabisi. “Every time I pick up and teach somewhere new, I have to unpack Nola Movement. I want a space where I can create a consistent experience for my members, instead of them bouncing all over town to follow me.”
In bringing her vision to fruition, Olabisi has partnered with entrepreneur Melissa Garrett to house Nola Movement at UNBar Café, a coffee house and nonalcoholic bar slated to open on Larchmere Boulevard in January.
“Melissa and I are very much aligned on wellness from the inside out,” says Olabisi, who also resides in the Larchmere neighborhood. “It’s a mixed-use space that will be dedicated to events and activities with a purpose to improve the mind, body, and soul.”
Olabisi’s programming will occupy one side of Garrett’s space, while the UNBar Wellness Café will be based on the other side. Olabisi says she’s grateful for the low overhead that being based inside UNBar provides, and she's also buoyed by the success of a recent Kiva campaign that helped her raise $5,000 in funding.
“It took me out of my comfort zone, but the experience felt really in alignment with my belief in my community and how they’ve always shown up for me,” says Olabisi. "Every time I succeed, I'm winning for every single person who has been cheering me on this whole time."