BYU ballroom dancer Logan Barnes collected donated dance gear to make it available to other dancers at an affordable price.
“I started dancing when I was about 5 years old,” Barnes said. “My dad danced at Rick’s College, now BYU-Idaho, and he had a friend who started a ballroom program and he put me in it. I’ve stuck with it since then and I’ve just loved it.”
In the fall of 2017, Barnes came to BYU on scholarship for the BYU Ballroom Showcase Company. By fall of 2018, he made it onto the BYU Ballroom Touring Company.
“I just love it,” Barnes said. “It’s amazing, getting to do something I love every single day.”
In 2020, Barnes watched as many of his students were affected financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I was teaching in a studio when COVID hit, and I had a lot of students who had to quit because their parents had lost their jobs, or other financial issues,” Barnes said. “I felt bad. Ballroom is the best and I wish everyone had the opportunity to stick with it.”
One coach who taught with Barnes introduced him to a student of hers whose family was being heavily affected by the pandemic. The student’s father had been diagnosed with cancer, and his mother had lost her job.
“She was sponsoring him and helping him out for free, but he needed dance gear,” Barnes said. “She asked if I had any old pants or shoes, or anything I could give him to help out.”
Happy to help, Barnes reached out on social media and asked if anyone had gear they would be willing to donate. The massive response he received sparked the idea for Impact Dance.
“I kind of started this whole thing on accident,” Barnes said. “I initially just meant to help out one kid, and then it exploded.”
Barnes said he received a massive response to his social media call. Dancers from all over Utah, as well as Idaho and Arizona responded, offering to donate shoes, costumes and other gear.
“We even had some local businesses that participated, they gave us some pairs of brand new shoes,” Barnes said. “It’s awesome the response we’ve gotten, it’s been a bit all over the place.”
The enthusiastic response Barnes received was beyond what he had expected. Barnes found creative ways to keep up with the hoards of incoming gear.
“I was living in this little apartment, so I had to use my car and under my bed as storage,” Barnes said. “There was nowhere to walk, the floor was covered in shoes.”
What started as a favor to one student turned into a business for Logan Barnes and his wife, Jennifer Barnes. Logan continues to find shoes, costumes and other gear that are no longer in use, and makes them available to dancers at a significant price reduction.
“I’m trying to make it as cheap as I can,” Barnes said. “I know how expensive dancing can be, and I know that the money keeps a lot of people from participating, so I’m trying to remove that barrier the best that I can.”
The business has been a big undertaking. Jennifer Barnes reflected on how the business has affected their home.
“We found different ways to store them around the house, we used to have to store shoes in the corner of our living room!” Jennifer said. “We have a lot less stuff now than when we first started, so we’ve been able to consolidate it to about five bins.”
Dance has played an integral part of their lives both individually and as a couple. As well as being life partners and business partners, Logan and Jennifer Barnes compete together as dance partners.
Both of the Barnes’ majored in dance; Jennifer graduated in April 2022, and Logan is set to graduate in April 2023.
“We actually met through dance at BYU,” Logan said. “We had a ballroom choreography class together, and we’ve been hanging out every day since then.”
Many of the individuals involved in Impact Dance have been college students, both as donors and customers. Malaya Keeler, a BYU student currently taking Social Dance 180, shared how glad she was to hear about Impact Dance.
“I wanted to learn beginning social dance, and I’ve just been wearing tennis shoes, which are kind of hard to dance in,” Keeler shared, “I knew ballroom shoes can be really expensive, and I didn’t feel great about spending $60 or more on a new pair of dance shoes, so I was very happy when I found out I could get shoes here for a lot cheaper than that.”
Moving forward, Barnes hopes he will be able to continue helping people get involved in the sport that has meant so much to him.
“Getting to help out has been really rewarding, and so much fun,” Barnes said. “Dance is too fun to be this expensive.”