Today we’d like to introduce you to Rafael Quintas.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Rafael. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I was born and raised in Brazil. Ever since I was ten years old, I had this dream of moving to America, originally to work in the movie industry. At 18, I applied for different schools in the U.S. through a program in Brazil and ended up going to Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO. I started as a Mass Communications major only and later added a Musical Theater major. Right before I left Brazil, I became part of a musical theater company. I had always loved singing and dancing and had taken voice lessons and piano lessons before, but doing the company made me fall in love with performing and the arts even more. The musical theater major required you to take dance classes and these were my first ballet and modern classes, I immediately fell in love, and after my first year, I dropped my musical theater major and added dance.
I graduated in December 2012 with both Radio/TV Production and Dance degrees. Through my dance training, I became fascinated with choreographing and teaching and found my calling in these two. I moved to Los Angeles right after graduation, at first, I decided to try the dancer’s route. I went to all major auditions, worked hard to get signed with an agency and took many classes. After many different experiences, I decided to focus on my teaching and choreography, and this is where I am today.
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?
The road has not been easy, especially as a foreigner. Being on a Visa is always a weight on your shoulders. Having to keep proving the government you’re good enough to be allowed to stay, which is something I still have to think about and plan out. It’s a lot of work. In the beginning, moving from college to such a large city was a huge step, and L.A. is a beast of its own. Between a lot of rejection, roommate issues, looking for work, it took me some time to finally get into the groove of things and start finding my confidence and pursuing my own path and journey. It’s a big test on anyone’s ego to keep working hard and not getting jobs or recognition. There are a lot of talented, hard-working dancers, teachers, and choreographers in this city. It’s easy to feel let down or discouraged, but the love I have for it has always been bigger than any challenges. I learned a lot from the obstacles and definitely was able to grow from them.
We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I’m a dance teacher and choreographer, and I have found the best way for me to make a positive impact in the world through my art. As a teacher, my focus is more than teaching movement. I want the students in my class to learn more about themselves. I always talk about expanding, physically and creatively. For me is less about what moves can I fit into this class for the student to learn but more what long-lasting effect can I have on these people after they leave? A lot of my teaching is focused on improvisation, which is basically free movement. In a society that is so quick to judge and label what is beautiful or ugly in my class, I like to get rid of those. Dance and movement are natural to the human body and has been a part of society since the early days of humankind.
My goal is to get people to discover their own organic, genuine movement. To stop labeling their movement as “wrong” and just start learning, researching and being inspired by all possibilities. This is the kind of thinking I want the students to take home with them, to explore new ideas, to stop judging themselves and others, to be inspired by anything and everything around them. I am Reiki certified and always include a meditation in my class, there’s a connection between our mind and body that is very important to any creative process. Improvisation can make some people nervous, but I make sure we are at a good mental place before we start moving.
Becoming more trusting of ourselves, letting go of any doubts and fears, taking a moment of gratitude for our bodies and health. I strive to create a supporting creative environment for exploration and growth. I cater my class to the students, to whatever age or level they may be, and even though I focus a lot on creativity, I still make sure to point out proper technique. What sets me apart from other dance teachers is I not only work on movement but creative, positive thinking. I want each student to feel their most powerful, so they can believe they can go out there and make a difference in the world. I always end my class with a saying: Be kind to all people, even the ones that are not kind to you, maybe your light will make them be kinder to the next person. Be kind to all beings. Be kind to our planet, help anyway you can, a small pebble still makes a ripple, and always be kind to yourselves.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
One of my proudest moments was definitely getting my regular class at EDGE Performing Arts Center. EDGE has been open since the early nineties and I remember seeing so many dance videos from those classrooms as a young college student. Once I moved to L.A., I took countless classes at EDGE only dreaming of the day I could be a teacher there. Eventually, I finally applied and started subbing classes until in 2016, I got my own time slot every Friday 1-2:30 p.m.
- EDGE classes – $16
- Privates – $75+
- Website: www.rafaelquintas.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/rq5678
- Other: youtube.com/rafaelq88
Plastic and Streamers pictures: Paula Neves, Screenshots from videos by Ade Producoes