Every dancer has a moment when they fall in love with dance. Take this picture as an example.
These dancers are experiencing that moment. Even the second child from the left, who appears confused and disoriented, is experiencing that moment.
I know this, because that confused child is me.
I like to think that Mon Rêve was born in this exact moment, too (even if I didn’t know it at the time — clearly I was just trying to figure out what “first position” is).
That picture was taken about 17 years ago, and every day since then, I have been involved in some aspect of the dance world. Whether it is dancing myself, supporting my younger sister, or teaching classes of my own, dance has been my constant companion.
As a freshman in high school, I started a ballet program for children with Down Syndrome. It began as a rewarding way for me to complete my community service requirement. However, what started as a 40 hour commitment soon turned into an — what I like to call — “8 years and counting” commitment. This program gave me a completely different perspective on dance. I saw the direct impacts that dance had on my students’ lives. Dance had blessed them with a hard work ethic, a respect for learning, and a kindness for others. It was about so much more than just dance.
My girls & me
I went to college for Mon Rêve, but it was unbeknownst to me until my final year. At that time, Mon Rêve was barely a concept, but more like a dream that had lit a little fire in the back of my brain. Understandably, the tears that I had shed over my econ and stats midterm grades had quickly extinguished that fire.
My amazing parents somehow convinced me to give my business major another semester and before I knew it, I was a senior in college. I enrolled in my first entrepreneurship class.
For our final project, we were required to pitch our entrepreneurial idea to our class. I remember my dad asking me how on earth I was going to differentiate my studio from all the rest. As I thought back to everything I had seen my own students gain from dance, the one word answer seemed so obvious to me… Character. In my opinion, this was what the dance studio industry lacked.
My first ever logo
For my final semester, I enrolled in a higher-level entrepreneurship class. On the second day of class, we were asked to pitch our concept. I remember meticulously matching my outfit to my Powerpoint slides. I listened as my classmates pitched — many students already had revenue or seed funding. All I had was the small Mon Rêve fire that had re-ignited itself, but this time, at the forefront of my mind.
I muscled my way through many more presentations in that class and discussing the Mon Rêve concept with strangers became second nature. For our final project, we were required to go through three rounds of pitches with eliminations after each round. Simply, my goal was to get through my first pitch without fainting. But I was not convinced that Mon Rêve and I could get to the second round — I figured that those rounds had been rightfully earned by my classmates with revenue and customers.
After somehow making it through round one (without fainting) and being voted to round two, I was perfectly content to not make it to the third and final round of pitches. I was happy to sit back, relax, and fan the flames of my own Mon Rêve fire. And yet, Mon Rêve somehow made it. I was set to pitch in the final round to a new panel of business professionals plus the head of the entrepreneurial program. How did my little studio idea manage to accomplish all of this? I thought to myself.
Our next class was our final class. Mon Rêve did not win the competition. Seeing as I was still just surprised to have made it that far, I was not upset. I had won confidence in myself and in Mon Rêve and that was so important to me. I remember that during the last class, my professor told me that I reminded him of that picture of a kitten that looks into a mirror and sees a lion. Of all the compliments that I have ever received, that is my favorite one. I suspect that it always will be.
A few days later, I graduated college. It was obviously an ending, but, more importantly, it was the “Mon Rêve beginning.” Everything about Mon Rêve is a true reflection of my heart, and I cannot describe how overjoyed I am to share it with you. I want Mon Rêve to give you everything that it has given (and continues to give) me… confidence, purpose, happiness, and more. Maybe it will even spark a little fire in your mind as well?
Cheers to you and to Mon Rêve,