NEW HAVEN >> Physical fitness trainer Marannie Rawls Philippe wanted more space for client workouts and Efraim Silva wanted to pay less rent for his capoeira and dance studio, so the friends decided to share a rented space for their separate businesses, a phenomenon Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce President Tony Rescigno expects will soon take off in the area.
“My sense is that this is going to happen a lot more. … It just makes too much sense,” Rescigno said. “Why not save on expenses? The good far outweighs any negatives.”
He said while there are some other small businesses that share space in the area, it’s really just starting to catch on as more companies, nonprofits and even churches consolidate.
“Economy of scale works,” he said.
The new shared space partners will hold a grand opening celebration of their separate businesses together at 7 p.m. June 23 with performances and demonstrations. Their studio is located at 315 Peck St., building three.
“I want to be around someone who loves what they do,” Silva said, noting his new space partner is an excellent physical trainer and excels in Capoeira. “I think it’s going to be an awesome addition.”
Rawls Philippe, owner of Elm City Coach, is a personal and group trainer of the “natural movement,” in which students move in keeping with how the human body is designed, by climbing, crawling, jumping. She uses the MovNat or Natural Movement training system.
“If we take care of ourselves, aesthetics come naturally,” she said.
Rawls Philippe’s clients work out mostly during the day and Silva’s classes are at night; together, they are getting more of what they want for the buck.
Silva owns Connecticut Capoeira and Dance Center. Capoeira, an Afro Brazilian martial art, is a high-energy cardiovascular workout that integrates other art forms, including gymnastics, martial arts and music. His business partner, Thelma Ladeira, teaches samba and belly dance.
The two met years ago when Rawls Philippe’s wife was taking capoeira classes. She, too, started taking a class and now their son, 4, is also Silva’s student.
“We can really grow here,” she said of the new space. Rawls Philippe said she’s actually paying more in rent than she was, but is delighted with the space and paying less than if she were to go solo.
Rawls Philippe came from a shared space with a Pilates and massage therapy business at 50 Elm St., but she wanted more space and easier parking.
Silva came from a huge studio at 1175 State St. that sat empty during the day and had no air-conditioning, which proved taxing on students during the high-energy classes.
Capoeira originated in Brazil where Silva is from originally, and was used by people enslaved there as a means to escape. When the martial art is practiced as a non-contact sport, as it is in classes, it looks like a dance.
The enslaved practiced in their spare time, as if dancing — to fool the slave owners — but when they tried to escape, they would initiate contact.
Rawls Philippe said it’s a good vibe all around. She loves how capoeira integrates all those art forms, and how Silva has brought the culture of Brazil to the school. His students are like extended family and it wouldn’t be unusual to end up at his house for a barbecue.
“What sets Efraim apart is the culture — they have this natural, happy-to-be-alive way and it doesn’t matter if you’re poor or rich,” Rawls Philippe said. She also likes the connection to Brazil because her father is French but lives in Brazil and is married to a Brazilian woman.
At their new studio, she has a room of equipment for training clients and a shared main room has a mirrored wall lined with drums and Brazilian instruments used in capoeira.
The biggest component of Silva’s business is performing with Ladiera on location, but he’s re-energized about the school aspect because of the pressure sharing space takes off him.
“I make my living performing. Now I have a different way of looking at it, having her (Rawls Philippe) and not wasting space all day,” Silva said.
A week into the new digs, Silva said of the smaller space for capoeira, “The energy is incredibly delicious” during classes.
The two said they have a great rapport — open communication — which serves them well in joint decisions.
Anyone wishing to reach the shared studio can call 203-535-1483.
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