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The duo behind Mount Pleasant’s Formation Studio is working to bring Vancouverites together on and off the dance floor.
The living room is where connection happens: Saschie MacLean-Magbanua and Roman Magbanua agree on that. But the “living room” in question isn’t some cozy residential abode—it’s the airy, plant-filled common area inside Formation, the pair’s dance-fitness studio. Formation launched in 2019, though its two founders have been fostering community through movement for almost a decade (and you don’t have to have a background in dance—or even fitness—to be a part of the team). “Whether it’s your first time or you’ve been dancing for 15 years, we really focus on fun,” says Roman.
Dance fitness might be Formation’s main move, but this East Van studio is about more than breaking a sweat. Instructors introduce themselves to every participant, connection cards and table games prompt conversation in the common areas and partnerships with nearby businesses (Taco Tuesdays with Tacofino Ocho, sunset classes on Pavilion Cowork’s rooftop) bring the neighbourhood together. Their clientele ranges from university students to retirees, and folks often come in groups with friends, family or co-workers. That said, signing up solo is just as rewarding: “Even if you come in and you don’t want to socialize, you still walk away with a sense of community because you have that psychological experience of moving as one,” says Saschie.
For more info on classes and workshops, visit: theformationstudio.com
What’s your favourite conversation-starter?
R: “What lights you up these days?”
Your fave place to hang with friends?
S: Walking in the forest.
Your social superpower?
R: Asking the question that needs to be asked.
S: Making people feel comfortable invulnerability.
New friend turn-offs?
R: Does not reciprocate questions.
Describe your community in three words.
S + R: Welcoming, fun, strong.
What song is getting you moving lately?
S: “Just Fine” by Mary J. Blige.
R: “They Don’t Love It” by Jack Harlow.
Favourite post-workout snack?
R: Fried chicken.
S: An Almost Chocolate smoothie from Juice Truck.
Best part of your job?
R: Solving problems.
S: Being able to connect with so many people and seeing how proud of themselves they become as they grow.
What’s your fave class being offered right now at Formation?
S + R: Our Power class just got a revamp and it is killer. It’s inspired by the classic step classes that were popular in the ’80s but we’ve updated it to be a full-body workout and to use hip-hop music.