We had the good fortune of connecting with Maricza Valentin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maricza, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
There are a couple of things, one being, we are genuinely passionate about the art form in both teaching and performing aspects. Our consistency with our brand has created longevity with our students and I’m truly proud of that.
Another factor in the success of our brand is we’ve built a very welcoming environment that is magical. We are welcoming to everyone that walks through our doors. Some students take on dance for the social aspect. To make friends and build community. Some are working on building self-esteem. And others want the physical benefits that transform their lives while having fun. They get the opportunity to forget about their daily stressors by getting lost in the dance. We’ve had several students share these exact sentiments. It’s truly what our brand is all about.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As an artist, I pull a lot from my personal life and pour that into my choreography. I am very much inspired by my emotions. I’ve been told by others that they can see where I am in life emotionally by watching one of my pieces. I see a lot of potential in people as dancers even when they don’t see it themselves. I enjoy finding their strengths and teaching them how to use them.
As an entrepreneur, I have never been motivated by money. I strive to do what makes me happy and brings me joy every day. Teaching dance to people is my joy. I love that I wake up every day happy about going to work. While I teach, I forget about my everyday stressors and fill myself back up. Being a business owner always has its challenges. But my focus has always been more on what we can do to overcome them and never giving up.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Well, first, I’d most definitely bring them to one of our dance socials. We host bi-weekly socials at Latin Rhythms. It’s always a good time. I would take them to one of my favorite restaurants, Lula Cafe in Logan Square. The food is amazing! I also LOVE live music. So we would have to hit up a live set or concert somewhere in the city. And lastly, since I’m a business owner and don’t get to do it much, I enjoy some R&R. So going to the beach to sunbathe would be ideal!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I most definitely have to give a shoutout to my family, especially my mom and her partner. They have been there for me through the entire journey of Latin Rhythms and they are my biggest supporters. My partner, Rich, he’s been a big part of what I do day-to-day for LR. My staff over the years is a large part of LR’s success. Their dedication to dance and our business has been unmatched. My dancers from LRDC. And of course, our students! I’d also give a shoutout to the Latin dance community. The love they show our dancers and our business has been part of our success as well.
Most of the images were taken by Michael Mabbo.