We had the good fortune of connecting with Monique “MO” Dutton and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Monique “MO”, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?

I have the best quote and I live by it. The quote reads “You’ve got big dreams. You want fame. Well, fame costs. and right here is where you start paying in sweat.” Debbie Allen. Mrs. Allen is my all time idol. Not just in entertainment but in life. I respect how hard she works, loves and pushes everyone to be their best self.

This quote means to me, you have to work hard, work at your craft and never give up. You don’t get what you want for free or without a challenge. The quote means the work you do, the work you put behind your goals is how you will become successful and attain your dreams. I couldn’t imagine walking into a professional dance audition without training. Without, early mornings, late nights, blood, sweat, tears and joy of practicing my craft. That just doesn’t happen. If you put in the work, respect your dance educators and put in equal efforts, anything is possible. I am living proof of that.

What I like most about the quote is that it is real. It’s not sugar coated, its real. Often times people tell you what you want to hear. However, the hard truth is… if you want to excel at something you have to put in the work. Period. It’s that simple. I know right now it may seem like I am only referring to dance but I am not. This quote works with everything. School, work, family and your everyday life. For those things I just named… I give it my all.

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.

In 2008, I decided to get back into the dance and entertainment industry after graduating with a Psychology and Sociology degree from Northern Arizona University on a track and field scholarship. I auditioned and made the Arizona Rattlers AFL dance team, the Sidewinders. After my first season I auditioned again and the Leauge had a shutdown. I ended up moving back home to  California to pursue dance. My mentor Aisha Francis was in the beginning stages of starting her very own dance competition and convention called Starstruck. At the convention I was an assistant dancer that helped choreographers. This is where I was discovered by MSA talent agency and immediately signed with them. I several dance and acting gigs here and there but o wanted more out of my career. I knew I enjoyed my time on a team so  I auditioned for the Phoenix Suns Dancers and Phoenix Mercury Hip Hop Squad in 2009. Throughout my 3-years with the Suns, I was asked to choreograph new and fun jazz, musical theater and hip hop routines. I also went on two international trips during my time as a Phoenix Suns to Barcelona and Hong Kong. During the same year being signed to MSA agency.  I had the opportunity to audition for Michael Jackson during the This Is It tour in Los Angeles and later that year, I was a featured dancer in the posthumous film of the same name This Is It.

Towards the end of my NBA career as a dancer I began doing my own choreography for various artists such as The Miracles, Montell Jordan and Bell Biv Devoe, to name a few. Additionally, I have also assisted with the nationally known Manhattan Dance Project with Justin Timberlake’s choreographer Marty Kudelka and Step Up star Misha Gabriel.

My first coaching job was with the NBA Phoenix Suns Dance Kids in 2014. While coaching, I continued to teach at several dance studios in Arizona. The following year, I took a trip to San Francisco and made the legendary Oakland Raiders Raiderettes. This is also when I got engaged.

In 2016 I accepted the job as the Dance and Entertainment Manager for the Minnesota Timberwolves & Lynx. As the dance and entertainment manager I was able to oversee all the performance groups for the Timberwolves and Lynx. The performance teams range from The Pups (ages 6-14), 612 Hip Hop Crew, Senior Dancers, 1st Ave Breakers, and the Timberwolves Dancers. I was also the first coach in professional sports to have two world renowned choreographers Matt Steffanina and Dana Alexa come to teach a workshop that sold out in less than 48 hours.

I also enjoyed my time going on a television show called My Mane Problem with celebrity hair stylist Dr. Boogie. You can view it on WeTv or on AllBLK network and apps. I was talking about the struggle of a dancers hair and appearance in the Pro Dance Industry. Come to find out it happens in so many parts of a person life. With interviews, jobs etc.

Currently I am Spirit Team Coordinator at Benedictine University in Mesa Arizona.

I have a passion for training dancers for the professional dance & entertainment industry. Along with choreographing for pro sports performance teams. This is what I would like to do more of in the future.

My passion and expertise for dance and performance electrifies her students in classes and workshops globally. I am known for turning up the heat and bringing magic into classes and dance teams. And as an educator, I will turn you into the dancer you want to become.

Has my journey been easy, no! but that’s the drive I have and I will never give up on my dreams. I have so much more to accomplish. I have learned to never take no for an answer. The saying goes, if its meant to be it will. I strongly believe that. There is something much bigger waiting for me. I can’t wait to find out what that is. Until then, I’m going to continue to work hard, learn my craft and be an tool for all wanting to put in the work.

1 important lesson I have learned is move in silence. Never tell the world what you have planned or what you plan to do. You have to go for it and once it comes to light. Then and only then you can let the world know what you have been doing or just accomplished. It took me awhile to fully understand this but the hard truth is. Not everyone wants to see you succeed or shine. You have to be your own light that shines bright!

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?
When my family and friends come to visits we are first going to go to Matt’s Big Breakfast in Downtown Phoenix. Now there are many locations but this location is the first and the best. Then maybe I’ll suggest going on a hike to Camelback Mountain or A Mountain. Lunch we will go to Bliss Rebar they have one of the best Mac and Cheeses. Evening plans I love going to Copper Blues Live to check out a comedy show or hear live music. The food and drinks there are amazing. I love sports, so going to a Suns game, Cardinals game, or even a Diamondbacks game are always exciting. Also our college teams are super fun. Going up north to Flagstaff, NAU Northern Arizona University Homecoming weekend is one of the best in the world. I know this because I am a alumni haha. It also snows in Flagstaff. Yes yes it snows in Arizona. Which is a great place to ski. Who would of thought you could ski in the desert. My favorite date night spot is called Timo. Their food is delicious, flavorful and their peach cobbler dessert is the best I ever had. Other yummy restaurants Grassroots Kitchen, Hanny’s, Olive and Ivy, The Jackfruit and Joyride to name a few. Going out we love going to High Street because there are funs bars with live music and you can walk around. It’s a great place to people watch. If you like wine you could take a tour up to wine country in Cottonwood, Arizona. Lastly, in the holiday season we love taking the kids to Illumination to see holiday lights. Now, since the pandemic has started we have ate out. However, we are looking forward to doing more things in the New Year.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

There are so many people and organizations I would like to shoutout… first and foremost is my loving family. My success starts with my mom and dad. Because of them I was enrolled in a very competitive dance studio called Bre Dance Studio. My older brother Andrew Young who was a football star at Michigan State University pushed me to max in sports. Because of him I was ran track, helped train and coach me during the off season. With his help and motivation I received a full Division ! Track and Field scholarship to Norther Arizona University. I went on to become a Triple and Long Jump All American and qualified for the 2016 USA Championships.

My husband Matthew Dutton made the ultimately sacrifice for me. He left a city he loved and never thought he would leave to help me follow my dreams of being a NBA coach in Minnesota for the Timberwolves and Lynx Entertainment. For that I’m forever grateful. Thank you so much for loving me, being the best father in the world and supporting all of dreams over the years.

Furthermore, three former professional dance coaches… Amy Jo Wagner for the Arena Football the Rattler Sidewinders Dance Team, Kari Doan with the NBA Phoenix Suns Dancers and Jeanette Thompson with the NFL former Oakland now Las Vegas Raiders Raiderettes Cheerleaders. These three women have shaped and molded me into the dancer, choreographer and coach I am today.

To all of my friends who have supported me to this day. I love you all so much!

If you are looking for a choreographer or a teacher for a master class. Book me. I’m excited to work with more teams and studios of all levels in the New Year.

I have a lot of fun this coming up this year. Stay tuned…

Website: Moniqueayoung.com

Instagram: moniquey3

Linkedin: Monique Dutton

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.