We had the good fortune of connecting with Aubrey Ares and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Aubrey, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Owning a dance studio, people automatically assume that I work with kids. But my dance studio is mainly for adults and helping them empower themselves through dance. In 2014, I started dancing a style called Bachata. It’s a “Social dance” and is danced in local Latin dance clubs (a lot like salsa). There was something so beautiful watching people dance bachata song after song, and with a different partner every song. It was so astonishing that people would show up on Wednesday nights, week after week and dance until 2 in the morning. I started asking these weekly go-ers “ why do you dance” and the answer was always: because it empowers me, makes me feel good, helps me forget about the stress at home, helps me cope with a loss of someone. When I started to intentionally pay attention to the reason people dance ( and why I dance), I realized that dance genuinely changes lives. And from there, I created Empowered Movement.
Our motto is empowering lives one dance step at a time! And, I truly believe that. It’s been 5 years since I started Empowered Movement and in that time we have grown to be one of the largest Latin dance companies in Los Ángeles and Currently a 2x world bachata champions! Many dancers who join our studio join because they want to train to become a better dancer but they definitely gain so much more than just training. We strive to build confidence using dance as the method-and people blossom. Dance is the method and I’m so grateful to have the responsibility to continue to teach dance as more than just an extracurricular activity, we to empower lives and watch dancers grow through the hard times and the best times! And I hope one day the world will see dance the way we do.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I started dancing at 3 years old. I fell in love with music and loving it. It always felt so natural to me. After a few years, I competed in my first dance competition at 7 years old, and won! Looking back now it was just a little itty bitty competition but back then it was the confidence I gained to keep pursing it, However, my dad always said “ Dance is NOT a career. It’s a hobby.” So once I finished High School, I decided to give dance up and go into business at Arizona State University. But that entire first year of college I missed dancing everyday. And by the end of my second semester I decided to do some research for dance jobs and Los Angeles Laker Girls came up so I auditioned. I packed up my little 2003 red Saturn and drove from Arizona to Los Angeles. For whatever reason, I continued making the cuts and by the end of the audition week, I was offered the job to a be a Los Angeles Laker Girl. DREAM COME TRUE. I moved to Los Angeles and began working as a professional dancer. While dancing for The Lakers, I was introduced to Bachata, a Latin dance that is socially danced in clubs. I loved it! I enjoyed watching people dance not because they had to (for work like me) but because they wanted to. I started seeing dance in a different light as something that people could use as a way to emote and build themselves. In 2016, I started my own dance company. Our main focus was primarily bachata but because I had experience in other genres our dancers would train in those styles as well. That same year I decided to get back into the NBA/NFL world and became the captain of the Los Angles Rams Cheerleaders. It was an unforgettable season but only did one year due to my company expanding. In 2019, we built out first studio and won our first bachata world championship. I’m extremely proud of what my career has consisted of but it wasn’t easy. There were so many sacrifices made to be here, but I would not change any of it, The hours, the time, the money, the ups, the downs and times where I wanted to give up on having dance as a career made it worth it when the recognition became less about my accomplishments and more about “our” accomplishments. When u say “our” I am talking about my team of dancers who continue to believe my company and what it continues to do for them. I enjoy building others and that’s where my satisfaction comes from.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
My favorite place in la to eat is Tropicana Bakery in Downey, California. I love hiking the Hollywood sign. But I definitely would take people up to big bear for a little getaway. It’s so beautiful and peaceful while kayaking or snowboarding. And of course, I would go to La’s number one dance spot Stevens steakhouse in commerce, Ca!!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate a shout out to my very first dance instructor Wendy Baker. Talent Factory, Tempe,Az
My beautiful dance company Empowered Movement
Lisa Estrada, Director of the Los Angeles Laker Girls
Linkedin: Aubrey Ares
Facebook: Aubrey Ares
Yelp: Empowered Movement Dance Studio
Luis Edson Los Angeles Lakers media