Today we’d like to introduce you to Joanna Galis.
So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in Miami where I trained as a competitive dancer from the age of four. My entire life was centered around becoming a professional dancer. Due to a skiing accident at the age of 19, I was unable to continue perusing that route and redirected my focus solely to teaching. I graduated from Florida International University with a bachelors degree in dance education. I had already been teaching since the age of 15 and it was easy for me to immerse myself into the education field. I started teaching at a studio in Montebello when I first moved to LA from Miami about seven years ago. At the time the studio had never had any type of competitive dance program so I dedicated myself to starting one and training the kids intensely. That was the beginning of this journey that would ultimately lead to THE ROYAL UNDERGROUND.
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?
It has definitely been a bumpy road to get to where we are. The kids I work with truly have an incredible work ethic. Their dedication to their craft is inspiring. After about four years of working with them the studio we were a part of closed their doors on us from one day to the next. We returned from a competition in May to a locked door and an email stating the studio was closing. So many parents lost money they’d invested into that season already and I lost my job. All without warning. I decided that I would not let the kids and parents down so I teamed up with one of the girl’s parents and we decided we would keep the kids together and start a new studio. Unfortunately, this would only serve as a temporary solution. Sadly this couple was not trustworthy and would leave us in a similar predicament about a year and a half later.
After the second time of allowing my fate and that of my students and their families to be placed in another’s hands, I decided enough was enough and it was time to take control and never again be in a position for someone to leave me in a vulnerable situation. I turned to someone I knew to be genuine and reliable, a friend and teacher who had already worked with the kids and myself at both studios prior, Ricky Royal. Ricky and I had both had so many negative experiences working for others that we decided it was time to create a new concept for dance education. A studio that held up an expectation for excellence. A place where kids would receive proper pre professional dance education and be exposed to the best quality training available. We wanted to keep our kids together and we new providing a secure and affordable program was imperative. We planned our vision out and opened The Royal Underground in 2018.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
The Royal Underground offers a pre professional dance education program as well as recreational dance classes. Our studio prides itself on celebrating our kids individuality as artists. We want to produce dancers that are well rounded in every aspect. For this reason we uphold a strict code of conduct. We want everyone who comes into The Royal Underground to feel they are being challenged and seen.
I’m most proud of the uniqueness of our dancers. Our kids work like no other. They put in the time and they put in their hearts. They are artists, athletes and storytellers. We strive to make our audience feel something always, and Ricky and myself feel so much pride when they do. We recently attended our first National Championship as TRU and had incredible success. We were honored as two time national champions and received two victory cups at Revolution National Talent Competition in Anaheim. A victory that meant so much to all of us because of the immense obstacles and sacrifices we have all made.
What were you like growing up?
I started dancing at the age of three and immediately fell in love with it. I was always a performer from a young age and loved to be on stage and entertaining. I was a hyper-focused kid. Meaning everything I did I wanted to do as well as I could. Put it this way, I was so focused on dance and school that I still to this day never learned to ride a bike!
- Address: 619 w Whittier Blvd
#200 Montebello CA 90640
- Website: www.theroyalunderground.net
- Phone: (323) 246-1034
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: the.royalunderground