We had the good fortune of connecting with Liz Vacco and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Liz, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
I feel most passionate about what I’m doing when I am being creative. This has always been the case. I have a five year old daughter and recently, when I watch her play, I notice how she is so fully immersed in what she’s doing when she’s drawing stories or acting them out, creating characters or inventing a new song. I was the same way at her age and I feel like the love of creating in that way has stuck with me. Without that, it’s hard for me to imagine being truly invested in what I do every day. The other thing I love about a creative career is that it is hard for it to get boring. There are continuously new discoveries to be made and new ways to go about the work. Just watching another teacher or taking a class myself can give me new ideas of how to approach a lesson and then that allows for a new experience the next time I teach.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
My background is in dance, theater and education, so my dance classes and videos are informed by all of those disciplines. I get most excited about finding ways to blend them together and I have found that children respond with a similar excitement. While my classes introduce specific dance technique and skills, they also give students opportunities to explore and to apply the skills by telling stories through dance, engaging in dance games, and contributing to choreography. All of these activities support my students’ growth as learners and critical thinkers in general and, more and more, I like to emphasize this in my classes as well. Bring engaged in the arts is beneficial in so many ways and I want all my students to find how the arts are important to them. I feel this is different from other dance classes and studios that focus on technique and teaching choreography without leaving much time for exploration, application and individualism. From a business perspective, I have always struggled with social media and advertising my content. Those items always fall to the bottom of my to-do list, because, when push comes to shove, I’d rather focus my energy on creating a new dance story or fine-tuning a lesson. I know my business would most likely benefit from a more consistent social media presence, but I also have found that if I remain true to what I love to do, then the experience I am able to offer in my classes does a lot of the “advertising” work on its own. And I feel really grateful for the families who consistently sign up for my classes and for word of mouth which, ultimately, is the best way of getting the word out and keeping a business going strong.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I know when I travel I like to feel like a local so my go-to spots when people come to town are the same places I like to frequent regularly myself. Since I’ve always lived on the east side of LA, that’s where my favorite spots are. There is no doubt we would spend some time in Atwater Village, maybe on a Sunday when the farmer’s market is open. Then we’d browse at some of my favorite spots for shopping locally – Individual Medley, Runway Boutique, deKor, and Peas and Queues (which has a kind of secret entrance on Glendale). Maybe we’d take a class at Heartbeat House and then we’d grab a bite from Bon Vivant, Links N Hops or Village Bakery and finish up with ice cream from Wanderlust. On another day, we’d definitely check out Descanso Gardens which I love. We never miss their holiday events like the Enchanted Forest of Light. And for a nice, delicious but relaxed LA dinner, we’d go to Blair’s in Silver Lake. Then grab some drinks across Glendale at Edendale.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
To my daughter, Maeve, whose creativity and imagination fuels my own.
Nicolaas Bertelsen, Atin Mehra, Paul Antico