Can you tell us a little more about Sleek Technique and the inspiration behind the business?
Flik - Sleek Technique Ballet Fitness was the inspiration of myself, Flik swan and fellow professional dancer and lifelong friend Victoria Marr. As we came towards the end of our professional dance careers, Victoria and I were looking for the 'what next'. We knew we wanted to create something together and for it to be in the field of what we knew and loved so well - dance. So we worked very hard to put together our concept of what an authentic ballet fitness method should be, taking all the parts of ballet technique that dancers have used to shape their distinctive physiques for many years and layering it with current fitness knowledge.
Victoria - We researched other popular fitness methods both in New York and London. Often being on the road ourselves, we had many brainstorming sessions together over Skype. This was 9 years ago but that was a bit of a lightbulb moment; why not deliver our ballet fitness method to women anywhere, anytime, the same way, online? We were the first to do this in the UK.
Sleek Technique was inspired purely with a woman's body in mind, to refine and develop strong, long lean muscles with no bulk. Nearly a decade on, we haven't looked back, going on to create our pre and post natal Baby Sleek TM series, launch our most popular Sleek Ballet Bootcamp TM workout and collaborate with other wonderful female led brands.
Victoria - Having developed a love for dance and trained from such a young age, first at Elmhurst with Flik and then at the Royal Ballet School, ballet is truly in my veins. After nearly 20 as a professional ballerina, the technique coupled with the artistry of ballet is everything that Sleek is about for me. Strength and grace. I also love drawing on ballets I have danced myself like Swan Lake and Giselle to create new workouts.
Flik - I was a professional dancer for 20 years, with all the hours of training and performing that requires. I thought I would lose some of that strength and stamina when retiring from my career. But I can honestly say that through co-creating Sleek, I have taken all the best parts of my career with me and I feel in better shape and more confident in myself as a woman, business owner, mother, and human being than ever.
What’s it like being in business with your best friend?
Victoria - As well as a lifetime of friendship and supporting each other in our careers, we have also seen each other through teenage breakups, house moves, weddings, the arrival of babies and 9 years of business together. I count myself incredibly lucky to have a friendship like this in my life, let alone for that same friend to be my business partner.
What have you found the biggest career challenges to be?
Flik - It’s safe to say that neither Victoria and I were technically gifted on computers at the start of Sleek! We’ve had to learn a lot about the techy side of Sleek Technique as we go which has proved interesting to say the least. But the highlights are plentiful. It really is so rewarding when a stranger tells us the great things they’ve heard about Sleek or when we see our clients transforming their bodies and gaining strength and confidence with each workout.
Victoria - A history like ours makes building a business together so much easier but it's not all lunches and chats by any means! You have to have an equally high work ethic and make lots of sacrifices along the way. I feel that we have the best balance now that we have ever had.
What 3 words would you use to describe Sleek?
Authentic, effective, achievable
What are you most proud of?
Flik - Our ability to make a little mark on the ballet fitness and online fitness world by being innovative enough to go online 9 years ago!
Victoria - Making a success of what we love and helping other people to feel more body confident, try or rediscover dance in an environment they feel comfortable in.
What advice would you give your younger selves?
Flik - Drink more water!
Victoria - Enjoy the journey
What are your greatest sources of inspiration?
Flik - This will sound very mushy but my Sleek co-founder and fellow professional dancer Victoria Marr is honestly an inspiration to me. She has real balance in her life, how she balances motherhood with running a business, how she eats, how she exercises with Sleek Technique and in how she relaxes and takes time out for herself… All of which give her that beautiful ballerina body and glow and why so many women see her as an inspiration to looking and feeling great.
Victoria - Friends, family and Sunshine! I am lucky enough to count some wonderful human beings in my close circle, including Flik herself. These adventurous, strong, creative, caring people from all walks of life give me balance, perspective and always inspire me in different ways. I am a warmer weather lover and always function better in the sunshine. I have more energy and all the foods I love to eat grow bigger, tastier and in more abundance.
What keeps your motivated – both personally and with Sleek?
Victoria and I definitely practice what we preach and keep our bodies fit, supple and healthy with our Sleek workouts. We’re in the studio five days a week but often for as little as 30 minutes – you don’t need a gruelling exercise regime to get into and stay in great shape, just one that you love doing to keep you motivated. With Sleek, the motivation comes from our Sleek community. We see our Sleekers grow in physical and mental confidence, strength and grace from their first Sleek class. That makes every bit of sweat worth it for us!
How would you describe Sleeks brand values?
Victoria - We were both unwavering on staying true to our roots when we created Sleek - that’s why it is so grounded in authentic classical ballet and training. We keep that authenticity throughout our brand and are proud of its history and future alike.
Flik - Dancers are naturally artistic people who need to be dedicated, honest and resilient all at the same time. Victoria and I plough all of these attributes into Sleek’s values and you can see that shine through in our Sleek community and the long time our clients stay with us.
What would your advice be for someone starting out their ballet/and or fitness journey?
Like most of our Sleekers, even if you have never done ballet before, Sleek is an incredibly effective way to workout, based on the techniques we used to tone and strengthen our bodies as professional dancers for years. The benefits really are vast and available to everyone - aside from getting you in great, dancer body shape, Sleek has a strong focus on muscle symmetry, good posture and injury prevention. Follow our 28 Day Beginners program to start your Sleek journey and you will learn all the movements and techniques correctly and see and feel how your body refines and shapes as your confidence quickly grows.
What’s next for Sleek?
We are very much enjoying collaborating with Kiki and look forward to sharing that with both our communities in the coming weeks and months. We're also hoping to return to the US next year with our new Sleek Ballet Bootcamp TM class and growing Sleek both across the channel and here in Europe. It’s exciting that the world is slowly coming back to itself so we have big things in the planning for when it does! Neither of us like to sit still for too long...