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Meet Kristelle Monterrosa of Dancing Souls in The Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kristelle Monterrosa.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Kristelle. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I’m a multicultural performing artist and producer who strives for authentic expression in my creative endeavors. I’m currently directing, Dancing Souls a feature documentary about an injured dancer’s battle with depression, which leads to an unlikely and emotional journey across three continents, to save the dance she loves and… herself.

I grew up a Navy Brat, to an American-Salvadorean father and French Mother, my parents met in Puerto Rico during their post-graduate studies in Marine Sciences. At age 12, I had performed internationally in Spain, France and the US; by age 22, I had produced and co-directed Medea Tango, a tango-contemporary dance show, winner of the National Patrimony Award of Argentina. As a flamenco dancer for twenty years and award-winning choreographer, I have trained in Spain, Chile, Argentina and California with Anselmo de Jerez, Merche Esmeralda, Rocio Molina and my influential mentor Alicia Morena DiPalma. I have performed at ‘The Morgan Stock Theater’ in Monterey, CA, ‘The Broad Theatre’ in Santa Monica and ‘Microsoft Theater’ with Mario Reyes from ‘The Gipsy Kings’. I recently starred in the “Hispanic Heritage” award-winning short, The Fare, as well as award-winning plays, ‘Sideways the Play’ and ‘Femmes A Tragedy’. Rex Pickett, author of Sideways said: “Whatever you might be considering her for, know that she will devote herself to the project with unflagging and uncomplaining passion.” In 2015, I produced the web series Manic Adolescence, currently in post-production. In 2016, I performed forty shows with the L.A. Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl and I continue to teach, perform, produce and direct in Los Angeles.

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 not been a smooth road. It’s extremely rewarding and terribly taxing to be a self-employed artist and filmmaker.

But…I’m doing it. One day I’m on set working 17hours and generating income for 10 months of rent, another day I’m juggling my teaching, auditions, storyboarding and grant writing for my Documentary. It’s a daily unknown and the only security is keeping my self-esteem healthy, creating space for mental and physical health and being grateful for every opportunity that presents itself.

The greatest struggle as a performing artist is that I am my own business and when I’m injured or sick I cannot provide the services I want to. Injuries have been my greatest challenges. Dancing Souls was born from my ACL injury in Dec. 2016 when I tore my ligament completely and could not dance for over a year. Dancing for the last 20 years has been not only my career, but my healing space for total surrender. Losing this space really affected my psyche and moral. This is why I decided to make Dancing Souls.

Another struggle has been dealing with inappropriate coworkers or bosses. As a female performer, there’s often an unspoken subtext to conversations, an insinuation that you will “do all kinds of things” for work. I’m very proud of how I’ve navigated this. When in doubt, I ask myself, “Is this for my greatest good?” “Will I feel proud and empowered about this decision?” then I act. I’ve realized that taking time to listen to my intuition the most important thing I can do.

Another struggle is financial stability, finding sources of income that are more stable than booking TV roles or winning grants. Flexibility, adaptability and creativity are all key factors to balancing my Acting, Flamenco and Directing/Producing of Dancing Souls.

So, let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Dancing Souls story. Tell us more about the business.
I’m my own business. As an artist, my currency is my creative approach to the different jobs I take on. Whether I’m producing and directing my documentary or whether I’m teaching children self – empowerment tools through Flamenco and sharing my personal story, I am committed, 100% to what I do.

As a multicultural third culture kid, growing up in Europe, Puerto Rico, mainland US and South America, my greatest asset is adaptability and kindness. I treat everyone I work with the way I like to be treated. It’s not easy, I make mistakes, but I constantly try to better myself as a human being, I think this sets me apart. My constant desire to grow and learn.

Director Amelia Mulkey said of me “Her passion is like a gun you can fire at anything and get beautiful results. Her sensitivity to movement, story, and emotion make her an unmatchable thought partner…” I’m proud of this, that the feedback I receive is that I am dedicated, have impeccable work ethic and my sensitivity as a human and artist serves my work.

I’m extremely proud of my first steps as a director, the discomfort of trying something new and failing is so very humbling yet I try and try again. I believe in my mission, my desire to help others rise, especially our youth. I want them to feel empowered, supported and connected to each other. This motivates my every move with Dancing Souls, I’m pouring my heart and soul into this film.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I’ve been told I’m lucky. I’ve won a car in a raffle, I’ve performed with my dream band from when I was a child, I’ve booked a National Campaign that was on TV worldwide for over 5 months. I’ve also fractured my elbow, struggled with the same health issues for years, continue to live paycheck to paycheck.

The way I see it is, my mind and my life and body are the only things I can control. I generate positive encouragement for myself on a daily basis to keep me energized and pumped for the constant job-seeking my work involves. I work out, I meditate, I eat healthy. I live my life doing the best I can with myself and with others. If I get “lucky” and something works out great. If I get “unlucky” and something doesn’t great. I’ll probably grow from the later and become a more authentic human, which at the end of the day is my greatest goal. Authenticity in all creative endeavors and my personal life.

Summarized – Luck is definitely when preparation and opportunity meet, Seneca got that right.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Brandy Menefee
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
Colin Arndt
Roma Martinez

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