We had the good fortune of connecting with Mark “MARQUE” Figueroa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mark “MARQUE”, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Ive always found myself wanting to be expressive, always wanting to make someone feel good or better, sometimes even better about themselves. Music, art and dance have always been a part of my life some how, especially being born into a Puerto Rican house hold in the Bronx, New York. Art is EVERYWHERE. From walls, to trains, cds, people dancing and playing music on the street or at house gatherings. It’s hard to get away from and in a way it was all I knew. A safe way to escape the anxiety & depression that is the world sometimes. As a young boy I had always drawn, sketched, sung and danced for the family but it wasn’t until my Dad was diagnosed with a brain tumor that I found purpose in dance. Moving my body was a great way for to remove myself from the world for a sec. A time I could feel free, be whoever it was that I wanted to me. That quickly led to a newfound confidence in myself that submerged me into the arts at 16 years old. I found myself in many companies and school dance academies that led me to the world of teaching. It was then that I realized my impact on other people. My love for creation, imagination, sharing fun with my friends turned into a career path that changed my life forever. Being able to see someones face light up after they have an “aha!” moment or being the reason someone awakens a new confidence and unlocks hidden potentials just inspires me to keep inspiring others. I’ts like a recycling bin of endless motivation. Giving is how I am getting and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. Art is supposed to make you feel. Doesn’t matter what you feel because that comes with intention but “feeling” is how we know we’re alive. I want people to feel alive, rather than to merely exist.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
The thing that sets me a part from others is the fact that I am a Puerto Rican, openly pansexual man that takes pride in authenticity & inclusiveness. The world seems to be obsessed with putting people in boxes constantly but labels are for food and I want to be someone that considers himself to be a masculine but understands and shows people that it is okay to embrace duality & individuality, do things that aren’t part of the archetype or confined to any norms. How you feel, who you are, and what you do is all valid and the only one that can truly define us is ourselves.
Right now I am most proud of the fact that I haven’t given up on myself yet. The industry is HARD and it takes a major toll on the mental, physical and even spiritual health. This year alone has been a tornado, yet despite the struggles I have somehow managed to achieve so much, between choreographing for amazing artists like Ina Bravo, reaching milestones like having my music #4 on the LGBTQ+ UK Music Charts, all streaming platforms, and being able to to keep pursuing this entrepreneurial lifestyle of mine. I have honestly felt myself grow so much this year and I am truly excited to continue this growth as an artistic-entrepreneur. New music, more dance classes and so much more on the horizon.
Oh wow, that’s a tough question. How did I get where I am professionally? Determination, persistence, sacrifice, constant self-evolution and revelations. Being okay with hearing “NO” and finding ways to turn rejection into emotional armor. Not giving up on myself when family tries to convince you to. Finding ways to confront self doubt, taking social media cleanses, reflecting and being able to say “no” to things that don’t align with my growth. Not giving up on myself when family tries to convince you to. Staying true to who I am has gotten me pretty far. You have to have tough skin growing up on the east coast and working in the entertainment industry. 13 plus years of teaching + dance experience, now making music & acting when I can is something that is so fulfilling to me but it’s not always easy. You have to really love what you do to maintain a sense of happiness, to be able to endure the trials that will come your way. My advice to you is to make sure you’re doing things that YOU LOVE. It’s okay to change your mind, your career, your life at any given time. Life is a trial and error experience so why not make it an experience you LOVE and enjoy. Do things with PURPOSE. Feel it out. Like I said before, “feelings” are the difference between living
and existing. Create the kind of environment you want to live in and if you can’t then you keep pressing forward until you find a place you can plant yourself and grow. I want people to know that my brand and who I am is someone and something that welcomes to all walks of life. I want to be a safe place for people and support their growth. I want people to watch me and think to themselves “wow, he makes me feel great about myself and after interacting with him I feel like I can do anything I set my mind and heart to.” I want to be remembered as someone that created change. I want to be remembered as someone that cared deeply.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
With the shut down happening right now I would suggest some isolated beach and hiking time. Maybe Runyon Canyon and my favorite deserted spot in Malibu. Honestly the most fun thing for me right now is cruising on my long board with a Starbucks Frappuccino in hand. Long late night deep convos at Crave Cafe in Studio city. If classes were open I would say hit up a few of those. Get creative outdoors, maybe set up a shoot or something at FD studios and just kick it all over LA/CA.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Honestly I have to give a huge shout out to Marisol Colon (Mom), Tiara Hardy, Rene Lorenzetti, Lyrik Cruz, Jordan Watson, Leola Tracy, Millennium Dance Complex, Cristian Baretto & Brittany Van Natta to name JUST a few. These people along with so many other amazing individuals have either been my ROCK at some of the hardest moments in my life, inspired me to make decisions and take great rewarding risks, helped me believe in myself a little more and/or have given me opportunities that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to attain on my own. I am beyond grateful for people like this that keep it real and want nothing but the best for the people in their circle.
Other: LINK TREE LINK FOR VOTING ON THE CHARTS AS WELL AS FINDING MY MUSIC ON ALL PLATFORMS. BLOGS. https://linktr.ee/Therealmarque
NORMADY EUROPA ALYSSA STRONGARM CRISTIAN BARETTO