Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer Hamilton.
Jennifer, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I started as a young dancer at the age of 4 in my hometown just 45min outside of Los Angeles. I fell in love with dance and continued my training and passion year after year. When I was 12 years old, my mom and babysitter would take me down to Los Angeles to train at some of the most sought after dance studios in the area! I would travel down into the city 4-5 times per week taking class all day long with amazing teachers, choreographers, and mentors and doing my schoolwork in between class or in the car back and forth from the city. It was at this time, when I was 12, I also began to work as a professional dancer and actress in the entertainment industry and booked my first “big” job as a guest star on a popular show at the time called “Kids Incorporated”. Shortly after that, I had met a teacher/choreographer (who still is very well known today) named Marguerite Derricks. She had taken me under her wing and not only was I a student of hers, I was a member of a dance company she ran throughout my teenage years. I then became an assistant of hers which then led to becoming her right-hand woman for many years.
I was given the opportunity to perform as a dancer in front of the camera on many film, television, commercial and live projects as well as experience the behind the scenes world of choreographing and creating. We worked on over 100 projects together and it was such amazing training and an invaluable education for me! I learned so much of what I know by being immersed in that world. When I was in my 20s, I began my teaching and choreography career and started to love that just as much as dancing. I realized I had a lot to share with others and I enjoyed being able to help younger professional dancers who would come to Los Angeles to “make it” and help to be a positive role model in their lives. I began to work more and more as a choreographer on film/television projects, teaching professionally to adults and celebrities in Los Angeles and embarked on many dance convention circuits as a master teacher around the country where I worked with many kids at all different age levels.
In my 30s, where I am now, I have not only accomplished a lot in my professional career, but personally as well…I became a mother. When we had our second child, I knew I needed to cut back on traveling as much as I was and put my focus and attention into my family life just as much as my career. I knew I didn’t want to stop choreographing/dancing/teaching and sharing my knowledge and passion with others who love this art form, but I needed to find a balance that worked for my life. That is when I decided to open my own studio for kids called The Floor Dance Academy in Los Angeles. It has become important to me to continue building a life and career with my passion, which is what I’ve always done. Becoming a mom also really made me see the need for kids to grow up in this city with a focus, passion and to have a sense of great life skills combined with physical capabilities they don’t even know they have yet. I want to make a difference for these young beings and leave a mark in their lives, just like someone did for me when I was a little kid.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t believe that anything good or successful comes without the bumps in the road. That is what makes the experience unique and rewarding for ourselves. A smooth road is quite boring 🙂 There are daily challenges I face within building up my own business, being a mom and a wife and finding time to balance it all. It’s challenging finding ways to promote your business when you are just starting and getting people to identify with your brand and vision and realizing that it’s not a one-size-fits-all world. Some people will like the classes and studio environment we have to offer for their children and some won’t. It’s challenging not being able to please everyone but you have to trust that your vision of your business will become what you make of it as you grow. I think if it ever becomes a smooth road, then I will be doing something wrong.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about The Floor Dance Academy – what should we know?
I am the founder, creative director and one of the instructors of The Floor Dance Academy™, housed in the Westwood/Cheviot Hills area of Los Angeles. We cater to children starting at age 3 up to 16 and offer jazz, ballet and hip hop classes at the present time. We are not a competition studio; we focus more on class, training and conditioning the mind and body. We are known for our great teaching and instructing style. Myself, along with all of our other instructors, are also working dancers and/or choreographers in the industry which sets us apart from a lot of other studios. I’m thankful to have all of the knowledge I have from my career as a professional dancer/choreographer, and to take that, share it, and educate the younger generation of up and coming dancers and artists.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
My ability to teach and to witness the results in the people I work with. Just because you dance or choreograph, doesn’t mean you’re a good teacher. It is a different animal and takes a different skill set. I have the ability and passion to convey a message through the language of dance in a way that people relate to and understand. I work with my other teachers on implementing these concepts as well. I also think that my history in the “business” and professional career has translated into so many other aspects of life other than just dance skills.
- Trial Class is $15
- Address: The Floor Dance Academy
10604 W Pico Blvd; Los Angeles, CA 90064
- Website: www.thefloordanceacademy.com
- Phone: 424-293-0861
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @thefloordancela
- Facebook: The Floor Dance Academy
- Twitter: @thefloordancela
- Yelp: The Floor Dance Academy
Vince Trupsin Studio