The Daily Northwestern

Hip Circle Empowerment Center relocates to bigger space on Howard Street

Chloe Hilles, Reporter

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Evanston’s Hip Circle Empowerment Center, a studio offering dance, fitness, empowerment and a welcoming community for women, has relocated to a larger studio space on Howard Street.

The studio moved from its original location on Washington Street to 727 Howard St. on Sept. 4. Malik Turley, the studio’s executive director, said she hopes to reach more diverse clientele in the new space.

“(Hip Circle Empowerment Center’s) goals are to empower all women and girls and specifically wanting them to believe in their internal strengths, their beauty, their worth of attention,” Turley said. “Essentially helping women see how strong and awesome they are already in spite of all the messages of the contrary they get from out in the world.”

Turley said she opened Hip Circle Empowerment Center in June 2010 because she was not finding the kind of fitness she wanted out in the world. Turley added that she was inspired to create her studio to incorporate dance into fitness for those who identify as female.

“I was inspired to create my own environment where it would be the way that I wanted it in terms of being positively focused rather than negatively focused, focusing on what I could do rather than on the things that were still emerging skills or maybe needed work,” Turley said.

Hip Circle Empowerment Center offers a variety of classes — from the typical yoga and pilates to more unique classes such as belly dancing and “coworking circles.”

Fay Bomberg, an Evanston resident, said she joined the studio when she finally worked up the courage to take a fitness class. After that, she continued to go back and eventually joined the board as a “Change Instigator” when Hip Circle Empowerment Center became a non-profit organization, she said.

Bomberg said one of Malik’s mantras is “you are the mistress of your own mat.”

“You do what you are comfortable doing, what your body can do,” Bomberg said. “You don’t have to do what the person next to you is doing.”

Political science Prof. Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, a board member of Hip Circle Empowerment Center, said she became involved with the studio two years ago when she was looking for a gym in her neighborhood. Hurd said she has become more involved as a board member, helping organize, publicize and fundraise for the studio.

“The center (offers) not only fitness, but also community building activities,” Hurd said. “(They provide) a space for women and girls to feel comfortable no matter what they look like, no matter what their fitness level is or their jean size is.”

Turley said Hip Circle Empowerment Center relocated not only for more studio space but also to attract a wider demographic of women in south Evanston and Chicago. The studio is near a bus line and the Howard El stop, and Turley said she hopes this will broaden access to their services.

“After several years of providing these services, (we realized) that the only people who were able to access them were people who had enough resources,” Turley said. “That limited access to a whole huge population of women that I felt were just a worthy of the work we do as anyone else.”

The relocated Hip Circle Empowerment Center will be hosting a public ribbon cutting on Oct. 18 at 6 p.m.

Email: chloehilles2022@u.northwestern.edu

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