Minquell Ramone – What Lies Between

Where did you grow up?

I was born in Amsterdam, spent the first 4 years of my life in London with my God parents. Then went back to Amsterdam where me and my 5 siblings were raised by my Mom.

What brought you to LA?

In 2000 Janet Jackson and her dancers visited Jake’s Dance Factory, I started dancing in 2001 and in 2002 Janet’s choreographer Marty Kudelka came back to teach workshops and I instantly connected with his style of dancing. Then in 2004 I went to Germany for a single workshop and got invited to join the whole European WhoGotSkillz workshop tour, during which a seed was planted. I need to experience dance at the highest level and the dance capital of the world was/is LA. So in 2005 I came out for a month to train at the dance studios and subsequently came back every year, until 2009. I finally moved in 2011.

How did you get involved with dancing?

As long as I can remember dancing has been part of my household growing up. Plus it’s a big part of my mom’s culture. But I think i really got involved with dancing in high school when me and 2 of my friends started our own very short lived group.

What made you decide to start teaching dance?

I started teaching after being invited to teach my first workshop in Zurich during the WhoGotSkillz tour. I ended up teaching next to Popin Pete, Suga Pop and Skeeter Rabbit, and I had no idea what i was doing really. Looking back that experience did teach me a lot about teaching and knowing your craft and its history.

Tell me about your Camp.

Loraine Day and myself run a international Dance Camp called LAtitude. It’s a 21 day intensive program, that prepares our students for the LA dance industry.

How is it different from other camps?

Our camp is different from other Camps because we offer a save environment for those who have never been here, and we guide them through the ups and downs to better prepare them. At the same time we offer them a structured program that forces them to self reflect and understand that all dreams need a plan.

Why did you start your camp?

We started the camp because it was something that we felt was missing in LA but also would’ve helped us when we first moved out.

What do the students get out of your program?

Students get a chance to learn first hand what it takes to make it out here and how top choreographers and working dancers did it before them. Most of them get their first ever head shots taken and we help them figure out what look works for them.

What do you get out of your school?

Seeing people truly believe that following your dreams is something very normal. I personally get the satisfaction of seeing our students grow immensely in 21 days, and every single one of the students become friends for life.

What did you do to start your camp?

We hammered out a program that was appealing to us as first time visitors to LA. From there we focused on our brand, the look and feel play a major role. Because that ultimately leads to how people perceive your brand. Our Logo was something that came naturally to me like it had always been in my mind, crazy enough it was exactly what my girlfriend envisioned.

We started a FB page and opened a twitter account, then our friends everywhere started sharing our page on FB and twitter and in 3 months we had a 1000 followers on both. I then designed our site to showcase what we represent and 6 weeks later we sold out on our first camp. That’s really all we did, because we already had all the connection we needed within the dance industry.

Is the school profitable yet?

After 2 of our camps our company started making a profit, and now 6 camps further we are doing really well.

How do you promote the school?

All promotions initially went through Facebook and twitter with support from all our contacts overseas. After that we made posters that we mailed to studios all around Europe and they posted them in their schools. Those two thing combined created quite the buzz.

Did you partner with anyone?

We just recently partnered with a local dance studio called Movement Lifestyle, and together we’re working on a number of projects for 2014. Our first one is the HOUSE, which is accommodation for dancers to stay close to the studio.

When you started, did you have the vision in mind of where you are now?

Initially we started with the idea of doing this as a part time project that we could do every year and it is now a fulltime business. I can’t say we saw ourselves here now, but at the same time we still have a vision of where we want to be. But i guess it’s fair to say that where we are now is definitely on the way to the vision we have in mind. But I got to tell you are vision is ridiculously grand. LOL! But as they say shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. or something like that.

How much does social media play in your business?

Social media is a promotional tool for us. We use it to promote new camps and showcase previous camps. We let people that love our product promote it for us. This way we create awareness of our brand everywhere where someone like our brand.

The core of our mission statement is “following your dreams” and in everything we post this is present. I believe that it resonates with our target group so much so that they retweet or share it and so on… also because dance is something universal and most of our choreographers are well known around the world, the backing of course helps our brand a great deal. Not sure if that answers the question.

How will you continue to grow the school?

Growth? I think we are successful because we focus on quality vs quantity, so when it comes to growth, i think that is our last priority or more of a consequence. We focus on improving our products, so much so that more and more people want it and in the pursuit of that, growth comes naturally.

What’s your best advice for anyone who is pursuing their dreams?

My best advice… i would say if it scares you chase it. Jump in both feet! The journey of chasing your dreams lies more within that people realize. The closer you get to it, the more you notice that you haven’t traveled much, but your perception has changed, your dedication has become more focused, you are more intune with your instincts and fear is not your enemy but your guide…

Research research research. The more you know about the subject the better prepared you are, then adapt the attitude of being ready for when success comes and you will have already become successful. If that makes any sense?

Here’s something that I found holds true everywhere, once you decide to follow your dreams, you get caught in a tailwind and as you progress your tailwind fades and you’ll start feeling the resistance of a headwind. If resistance is to be viewed as a force of nature, know that it is natural to experience resistance.

With that in mind, whenever the resistance picks up, know that you are on to something and if you push through that same resistance becomes your friend, cause once you’re through you feel that tailwind ten-fold. Like how they say that once things change for the better everything starts happening all at once, i believe this is a natural process and only those that are persistent make it through. Steven Pressfield says all this in a really nice way.

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live and the unloved life within us. Between the two stands “Resistance”…”

If you were to start again, with all of the experience you have now, what would you do differently and why?

I honestly wouldn’t change a thing, because every pitfall was needed to learn something I hadn’t realized yet. But in a world with time machines i would think bigger act bolder and work harder, because I now realize that there are no limits except the barriers we create for ourselves.

For example: I would say thing like I would love to be in a meeting with “So and So” but that will never happen. In this i’m limiting myself by denying myself the possibility to even think about certain things.

1 Comment

  1. by Michael J on July 11, 2014  12:19 pm Reply

    Minquell, thank you for the knowledge! I really am glad that I got to meet and learn from you.

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