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I Hope You Dance: Mimi Jasperson runs award-winning hospitality brand using business instincts and ballet


Alison Bailin Batz   College Times

Mimi Jasperson’s parents enrolled her in ballet and tap classes when she was 4. There was no turning back for the Chicago native.

“Wow, talk about love at first sight, or more specifically at first toe tap,” says Jasperson, who now lives in Scottsdale.

As a teen, she successfully auditioned and joined Ballet North, an Illinois dance company for young ballet dancers to learn technique and focus on the classical ballets like “Swan Lake” and “The Nutcracker.”

“At 15, I also began studying what is called post-modern contemporary dance, and then the famed Horton and later Graham techniques, for those who are dance aficionados,” Jasperson says.

It was dance that brought her to the Valley in 2009.

“I was accepted into Arizona State University’s acclaimed fine arts program to study dance performance and choreography,” says Jasperson, who would find her next great loves over those next four years in school. 

First, she found Zachary Jasperson.

“Yes, I married my college sweetheart. And, then there was that final love as well,” Jasperson says.

It happened during her senior year, when she took a job as a cocktail server in Scottsdale for extra money. That “part-time job” changed her life.

“This is going to sound a little odd, but as I moved up the ranks in the hospitality world, I started to make the connection that an efficient bar is not unlike a perfectly choreographed dance,” Jasperson says. “There is a beautiful rhythm to it that captured me within my first few months behind the bar.”

One of her favorite parts of this new “dance” that she was learning: the art and science that goes into mixology.

“Here I am, just credits into graduating and thinking I had my entire life planned out. Then—bam!—a new passion exploded within me,” Jasperson says. “I know they say life happens when you are busy doing other things, but I never thought this would be me.”

So, though she did finish her degree, she doubled down on her passion for hospitality, growing through some of Old Town’s greatest hospitality groups. She earned a position with Maya Day + Night Club in 2017.

“I joke that there I began my master’s degree, because it was the education of a lifetime in all things mixology, management, service and even the psychology of people both in front of and behind the bar top,” Jasperson says.

Jasperson leads the Maya brand—its Day Club, Nightclub and winter Clubhouse at Maya concept—in Scottsdale, helping drive the cocktail, dining and entertainment menu seven days a week.

“Clubhouse has been one of my babies,” says Jasperson, who helped develop the idea with her team over the past 24 months.

For those unfamiliar with the brands, every spring and summer, Maya Day Club is the biggest Vegas-style pool party in Arizona. Then at night, the space transforms into Maya Nightclub, which brings top entertainers and DJs from around the country to the desert.

“Clubhouse is the new kid on the block, really launched in earnest this past fall. It’s come together like a perfectly planned production for us,” Jasperson says. “Imagine the world’s greatest backyard party. Now, imagine it 10 times bigger and better.”

According to Jasperson, the 14,000-square-foot, dog-friendly space required them to fully (and safely) cover the Olympic-sized pool that usually lives on property, as well as reimagine every detail, ingredient and even artwork and menus at Maya from top to bottom.

“In place of the pool, we’ve built a treehouse-themed bar, which specializes in shareable cocktails, beer cocktails and food meant to be enjoyed with friends,” Jasperson says.

But that is only the beginning.

Cozy furniture with a nod to Americana takes over the space. Jasperson and her team also brought in more than two dozen flat-screen televisions so fall sports can be enjoyed by guests at all times. Beyond the flat screens and football-themed activities and specials, there is pop art on nearly every wall, all begging to be the background of a selfie or photo opportunity with friends. Those having a date night will be impressed as well.

“The Lego wall is an early favorite,” Jasperson says.

There is also a comic strip room, according to Jasperson, featuring floor-to-ceiling comics one might see in a newspaper as well as foosball and air hockey. There are also giant-sized Jenga games on picnic tables throughout the venue, and several cornhole games as well as shuffleboard, Ping-Pong and oversized Connect Four. Finally, there is also a concession area in addition to the traditional menu with cotton candy, popcorn, waffle sticks, hot dogs and street tacos.

Clubhouse at Maya is open seven days a week and offers brunch on weekends through at least the end of March.

“Come see me and my ‘troop’ in our greatest dance yet,” Jasperson says. CT


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