Today we’d like to introduce you to Annabella Estrada.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Annabella. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was always a creative, for as long as I can remember. I began dancing when I was a child and when I hit my mid teens, I told my parents I wanted to be a professional dancer. At the time I was in a competitive dance team, dancing every single day and wanted to take my passion to the next level.
The next thing I knew, my mom popped me on a bus to New York City and I began to explore all the wonders the city had to offer and I started training at the Broadway Dance Center. I also took class at other studios in the area, went to auditions, participated in dance workshops, anything that kept my body in motion. I made my way into the “dance industry” side of things fairly quickly – dancing with top choreographers, many who became invaluable mentors in my career. As with many starry eyed dreamers who have made the pilgrimage to the big apple, I never became a working dancer. I was 20 years old and knew I had to make a life altering decision, leave that world behind, go back to college and get a job.
That job proved to be an amazing learning tool, I gained a lot of experience through managing a business. I was fortunate enough to land a gig assisting and producing events during the Sundance Film Festival, both in 2014 and 2015. I learned a lot about the business of the media industry – organizing panels, junkets and celebrity parties.
I always knew that one day I would revisit dance as it’s just so engraned in my DNA, it’s who I am, it’s how I express myself creatively. Those were the happiest days of my life, when I was training to become a full time working dancer– and those memories flooded back to me when I traveled to dance conventions and workshops. I went to conventions frequently with my dance team and then eventually decided to venture out on my own. I traveled all across the United Stated, attending different conventions in different cities. I told everyone that instead of presents for my birthday or holiday gifts, just sign me up for a conventions – and I would scrimp and save so I could drive, fly and/or get a hotel room for the weekend of the convention. I loved the convention circuit, it brought people from diverse backgrounds together for just one thing. Dance. A lot of dancers and their studios look forward to that one convention out of the whole year and for many, it is the highlight of the dance season.
I’m fascinated with traveling and consider myself a nomad. I like to take a lot of trips, commute every week or just pack up and move – which I’ve done a lot in my 20s. It has been a goal of mine to have a career or start a business that I can take ANYWHERE. Something that doesn’t hold me down in one city – and that’s when I decided to start my own dance convention. Something I can build, and pick up and do anywhere and I can even live alongside it depending on where it takes me.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Achieving your dream, when you come from a modest background, is never easy. I think for any young woman running a business completely on her own, it’s not going to be easy at times. Is it worth it? Absolutely.
I always have challenges and I greet them head on. I think what’s been the most interesting and the best way to deal with challenges is asking yourself, “what can I learn from this?” I developed an idea, brand, and business completely from the ground floor and funded it all on my own. I’ve succeeded a lot, but I have also failed many times. I’m grateful for those failures because I learned valuable lessons and consider myself a whole lot wiser and perhaps a bit more savvy about what risks are worth it and when to just walk away.
I moved to Los Angeles in 2017 from the east coast – and with that came a lot of challenges. This story is not new, I’m sure every bartender and front desk receptionist in LA will tell you the same thing. I moved to LA to produce Wind Up Dance Tour events, I just felt like the LA dance scene had a need for what I had to offer. Did that mean everyone was going to jump on board with my vision? No, not necessarily. It takes time to grow any new endeavor, especially when you have something different. I have an amazing team alongside of me and the positive feedback I have had from my tours always blows me away.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Wind Up Dance Tour story. Tell us more about the business.
In 2016, I started my very own convention, Wind Up Dance Tour. It’s an all-day dance intensive that offers an eclectic and unique dance classes that encompasses an array of styles. I feel dancers limit themselves or become single minded when it comes to dance. I know I definitely did. I had to push myself to take different classes to get out of my comfort zone and when I did, I discovered dancehall. Taking all the different dancehall choreographers and classes, it really helped me discover my identity as a mover. That’s what Wind Up is all about – creating a safe environment for dancers to gain knowledge for new styles and bringing culture into dance. A lot of conventions I attended were geared towards one type of dancer or one dance style – hip hop, jazz, contemporary. Wind Up offers those popular styles but then we throw in a unique class that you can’t get anywhere else! Usually, at our convention, this will be the dancers first time taking that type of class and they really push themselves and even find they can incorporate these new techniques into their own dance style. Wind Up Dance Tour has choreographers that teach – hip hop, contemporary, urban flow, contemporary Indian, dancehall, island fusion, ballroom, waacking, popping, there is no end to what we will add in the future! I feel it is important for dancers to get to know ALL styles of dance to have a rounded education and not limit themselves.
With dance also comes culture. A lot of the dance styles Wind Up offers is indigenous to where the style originated. When learning something new, it’s important to know the history of the dance. I’m a traveler and I’m fascinated with other cultures – their dances, their music, food and art. I really wanted to tie that infatuation into my business. Especially when I expand and go worldwide one day! Wind Up Dance Tour’s faculty travels with us from New York City and Los Angeles and they are truly some of the most talented dancers in the industry. When I book choreographers for any of my tours, I want to make sure it’s someone I connect with and they also believe in the Wind Up Dance Tour vision. We all believe in one another and want to make a difference through movement.
It makes me incredibly proud as a company at the growth I see from the dancers who attend my tours, the heartfelt messages I get the next day thanking me for bringing the faculty to the dancers. I’m glad I am able to share something special with dancers and give them a new opportunity and in turn, giving choreographers an opportunity to share their art and knowledge with the next generation. I’m sure the Wind Up Dance Tour faculty has been told the dreaded “No!” in the industry many times because they don’t have enough Instagram followers, or their style isn’t popular. I really want to bring love and passion back into dance – not caring if we are doing a video for social media, but dancers and choreographers who are dancing for the art and no one else.
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I think we can create our own luck. If you do good – good will come to you, right? Positivity is key. You can’t sweat the small stuff and you have to keep going, no matter how much you feel like giving up, you have to press on.
I know I am one of the lucky ones. I get to pursue what I love everyday!
- Website: www.windupdancetour.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/windupdancetour
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/windupdancetour
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/windupdancetour