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Modern Tao Ke: Dorthee Li on merging passion and business

Who says that one has to separate passion from business? As they say, the best business is the one you are truly interested in. Take it from Modern Tao Ke Dorthee Li who merged her passion for food and good workout experiences, and innovated it to create unique businesses in the Metro.

Being an avid foodie, it is only fitting that one of Li’s businesses is related to it, hence one of her current ventures, Premier Food Choice. It is a flourishing food distribution company which serves the top food chains, top food processors, restaurant chains, supermarkets, and wet markets in the country.

As a fitness enthusiast, it is no surprise that Li also happens to be the Co-CEO of 808 Dance Studio, Manila’s premier boutique dance fitness studio. Situated at the heart of Ortigas, 808 Dance Studio is a go-to for anyone who wants an exciting and unique workout. You don’t have to be a seasoned dancer or a fitness buff to pay a visit in the studio, as persons of all shapes, sizes and dance experience are happily welcome to sweat their hearts out at 808 Dance Studio.

The 808 Dance Studio story

Being the Modern Tao Ke that she is, Li shares that the idea behind 808 Dance Studio stemmed from her love for a good workout session. Most fitness people would agree that as much as they love going to the gym or doing home workouts, it would be nice to have a change of pace from the usual workout. Li’s solution? Dance!

Moving your body to a beat is inarguably one of the most effective and fun ways to do a workout hence, the birth of 808 Dance Studio. “My business partner, Sofia, and I would frequent different boutique fitness studios here and abroad, when one day we realized no studio here was dedicated to elevating dance fitness. At that time we instantly knew we needed to create the first dance fitness studio for the Philippine market,” she shared.

808 Dance Studio’s mission has always been to “spread joy through dance and fitness” and is envisioned to provide and elevate the dance fitness experience in the country. 

If there was a challenge that Li faced while building her dance studio, it was retaining her mission and vision for her brand. “If there was any challenge in development, it was making sure the vision is translated to the entire customer experience: from the branding, the physical studio, the people, the actual fitness classes. Looking back, I’d say we did a pretty good job in bringing the unique concept to life,” Li said.

Today, 808 Dance Studio is one of the biggest names in the dance fitness industry in the country as it boasts of giving the full dance fitness experience. Whether you are a first-timer or a dance fitness enthusiast, you will certainly enjoy the 808 Dance Studio experience, complete with exclusive music mixes from 808’s in-house DJs, top dance fitness instructors, vibrant spotlights, surround sound system, shock absorbent floors and best of all, a very supportive community who’ll dance and cheer you on.


Being a Modern Tao Ke

Aside from 808 Dance Studio, Li also manages another business, Premier Food Choice which is a leading food distribution company in the Philippines. Juggling these two businesses and being an entrepreneur for eight years now, Li says that a smart balance between adaptability and steadfastness are very important in becoming a Modern Tao Ke.

With the constantly evolving world of business, Li advises aspiring Tao Ke’s like her to “Hold on to your vision, but also know when to adjust. Our world today is moving faster than ever before, so the best way to navigate forward is to stay educated and be constantly aware of the current times”.

Learning from your roots is also an essential to being a successful Modern Tao Ke. For Li, her family has been her source of inspiration as she emulates their character in her conduct. In fact, Premier Food Choice expanded exponentially into the leading food distribution company that it is today with Dorthee and her brother at the helm of the company. She adds, “I see great value in how our parents and the previous generations have done it, namely: there’s no substitute to good old hard work and consistency. It is about putting in painstaking and deliberate work, day-in and day-out,” she said.

Also staying true to her Chinese roots, she shared that she “always keeps her word, takes care of people around her, and keeps her feet on the ground”. These are guiding principles in her work life that was ingrained in her through her Chinese heritage.

For anyone who aspires to be a Modern Tao Ke just like Li, she shares important pieces of advice to get you jump started: “Go for it. Start now. The only way to truly learn is from experience. Be smart. Do deliberate work. Do good. Find good people to do good work with you. Once you’ve built something, know that you will keep adjusting your sails along the way and that’s okay. Keep learning from it and enjoy the ride,”.

Check out more of Dorthee Li and 808 Dance Studio by visiting their website ( You may also check them out on Facebook and Instagram (@808studioph) for the latest updates.


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