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Meet Karol Moreno

Today we’d like to introduce you to Karol Moreno.

Karol, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
Well, I grew up in Mexico and since I was very little, I developed an interest for the performing arts in general. I would always find the opportunity to put on a show for my family to entertain them, whether it was a comedy sketch I had prepared, a dance routine I had choreographed, or a music concert. I always enjoyed expressing myself this way. I was very passionate particularly about dance and when my mom saw my potential and how natural it was for me she immediately enrolled me in dance, cheerleading and gymnastics classes. So during my whole childhood, I trained and competed all over the country. I was the happiest kid. I moved to the US when I was in college, I went to UCSD and I graduated with a double major in Visual Arts and Dance. I really enjoyed my time in college because I was able to explore different styles of dance such as Hip Hop, Ballet, and Contemporary, but there was something about Latin Dance that completely captivated me and I knew that was the style I wanted to do for the rest of my life. After I graduated, I moved to Los Angeles, where I have been working as a professional dancer.

Besides doing Salsa, I was also part of an international dance company for a long time, The Lotus Dancers, which focused on Belly Dancing and I had the opportunity to perform for several middle eastern artists. I’ve also had the opportunity to work with the magician Shahrooz as a dancer and assistant in several magic shows. I’m currently a Salsa dancer, instructor, choreographer and competitor and I travel with my dance partner to different Salsa events and congress around the country to teach and perform. I also own a business, World Dance Apparel, a successful dance costume and apparel brand, and I can’t wait for all the dance events to open up again so we can bring our beautiful designs to our clients.

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?
Definitely not easy, it has never been easy. Me, like most dancers and artists in LA know how hard it is to do what we love for a living. It’s always a hustle. Always working hard to get that gig among the huge competition and making sure we are compensated what we are worth. It has never been easy from a financial and emotional perspective. I moved to this country by myself and have worked really hard to be where I am. I remember one particular moment in my life when I was little when me and my family were struggling a lot. I grew up in a poor household, raised mainly by my mother alone and there was a period of time when she couldn’t afford the bills and we had to live without electricity and water for a long time. Food was priority so the little money my mom had was for that. I was very depressed from watching my mom struggle so much and I wanted to give up. The motivation was gone. I wanted to drop out of school so the cost of my education wasn’t another headache for her but I knew I had to keep going and hope that everything was going to get better. It slowly did. It was never a smooth road and it still isn’t but I have been blessed enough to have a family and friends that have always supported me in everything I do and that keeps me motivated to keep working hard. Like they say, hard work always pays off.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I am a professional dancer and I specialize in Salsa and Bachata. Me and my partner, Javier Campines, get hired to teach and perform at different Salsa congresses throughout the year all over the country. We also coach and choreograph for dance teams in LA as well as teams in other cities. He has a company here in LA, Clave y Tumbao, and I’ve been part of the company as well as co-directing some of the teams for a long time now. Our biggest challenge, however, is definitely competition. We train every single day to get ready for the biggest competitions of the year, one in June and one in January. There are competitors from all over the world and they are all amazing so creating a winning routine is definitely a big stressful challenge but I honestly love it. I live for it. I can not express how passionate I am about competing.

And as a company, what I am most proud of is the fact that when somebody, whether a solo dancer, a couple, or a team comes to us for coaching or for choreography, we truly care about them and give them all we have. A lot of dancers come to us for coaching for a competition and at that moment, we honestly forget about the money and business side of it and really dive in and help them as much as we can. Our artistic side comes out and we put all our effort and soul so that they can do amazing, and all of our students have either won 1st place or placed Top 3. And that is also what sets us apart from others. While some instructors might only see the business side of this, we actually care about the learning, that our students get the most out of it, whether it’s a group class, a private lesson, or full training for competition.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am not sure if I totally believe in the word luck. I feel like our actions dictate our future and that we create our own path. I think hard work pays off. I think perseverance, commitment and passion have played a very important role in my life and business, not luck.

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Image Credit:

Guido Budani, Gaby Soufo

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