House of Eights

Dancing to Success

We all have passions. But what if you could turn that love into a business - doing what you love and making money at the same time? It’s that very question that drove Abady Alzahrani to follow his passion for dance and open House of Eights Dance Studio.

House of EightsAlzahrani moved to Halifax in his teens and didn’t start dancing until his early 20s. “Growing up in the Middle East, there were never any male dancers. It wasn’t until I moved to Halifax for university that I decided to give it a try and take a class.”

He fell in love instantly, and dance became a major part of his life. With time, education and exposure to different styles, Alzahrani knew dance had become his life’s passion.

For years, Alzahrani worked as a part-time dance teacher across Halifax, while also working at a marketing agency. “I was teaching 10 classes a week, on top of my 9 to 5 role. I was growing in my marketing career and as a dance teacher. I just reached a point where my lifestyle was becoming too demanding —mentally and physically. Eventually it got to a point where I had to pick one. And I wasn’t going to let go of dance.”

In September 2018, he started preparing his business plan. Shortly after, he quit his full-time job and launched House of Eights in January 2019.

As a personal CUA member, Abady had always had a great experience with day-to-day banking services. When he decided to take the plunge into entrepreneurship, he knew he wanted CUA on his team to provide the financial guidance he needed.

“CUA was very good at telling me what to do and what I needed. As a first-time business owner, they took the time to listen to my concerns and answer any questions I had. They referred me to a number of different organizations and resources that helped me hit the ground running,” reflects Alzahrani.

Today, less than three years later, House of Eights is Atlantic Canada’s leading centre for drop-in dance. Unlike traditional studios, Alzahrani’s dance studio welcomes dancers of all levels and there is no commitment to a minimum number of classes.

When asked if he had any regrets about starting his own dance studio, Alzahrani was quick in his response. “I have no regrets in terms of quitting my job and jumping into it. The biggest thing I learned during that timeframe is that business is a lot like dance —it helps to have a good teacher or mentor, but at the end of day, you learn the most by doing.”

We’re proud of the work we do to support businesses starting, growing, or adapting in any environment. Learn more about our flexible commercial banking services, including account and financing options. Are you a CUA small business with a story to share? Email to connect with a member of our team.


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