We had the good fortune of connecting with Sara Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sara, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
What makes me happy is expressing myself through dance, sharing energy with my community, and passing on all the lessons I’ve learned through dance and life with younger generations who are beginning to navigate through life themselves. I believe that the key to living a happy life is to trust yourself, to let your intuition lead you to where you are meant to be, while doing something that fulfills you and being surrounded by people who support you and believe in you too. I think what makes me happiest in my own life is uplifting others and helping them to find their happiest life as well.
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.
Dance has always been the love of my life. I started taking classes at 4 years old and I can remember my little-kid brain immediately registering it like, “woahhhh… this is something special. I LOVE THIS.” And so, I never stopped. I continued to train, taking every local dance class/workshop/intensive that I could get my hands on. I went on to join my high school dance team and eventually collegiate dance teams. I began teaching kid’s dance classes when I was about 16 years old. It was then that I found sort of a passion within a passion… teaching something so dear to my heart to the next generation. I immediately loved working with kids and continued to teach at the studio where I grew up training. Although I was also pursuing a professional dance career which gave me so many great opportunities dancing on TV shows, concerts, and even living in China for 6 months, my heart always brought me back to teaching.
About 6 years ago, the owner of my studio said she was planning on retiring and asked if I would be interested in buying the business from her. I immediately said yes, knowing that this would be an exciting new chapter in my life where I would get to expand on my passion for dance and working with kids. Since then, owning Impact Dance x Wellness has been such a huge blessing in my life. Being able to share my love for dance with my students and seeing them grown into incredible people has been nothing short of amazing.
Being a business owner of course, has come with many challenges and I’ve learned so much about running a business over the years. However, I feel like the biggest challenge I faced was finding the balance between giving energy to my business and fulfilling my own personal dance goals. For so long, I wasn’t training or pursuing any of my personal aspirations because I was afraid of being “selfish” and feared that it might take away from my ability to run my business. If I’m being honest, all of that was a cop out and a way to convince myself that I didn’t need to go for my dreams, when really I was just afraid of failing at them.
As years went by, I would constantly feel this longing to dance poke at me. It took me a while but eventually I couldn’t deny it any longer. I knew in my gut that I needed to explore my own dance career. In 2019 I joined Culture Shock LA, a non-profit Hip Hop dance organization dedicated to Dance Education, Community Empowerment and Professional Entertainment. In August of last year, I started the “Doing Daily” challenge inspired by my favorite podcast, “Words That Move Me” by master mover and creator, Miss Dana Wilson. Through this challenge, I do one creative thing everyday, no matter what. This challenge has allowed me to flex and strengthen my creative brain so much and has been a huge source of inspiration and discovery within my own dance teaching. The past few years that I’ve been listening to my intuition and taking time to do what I love have been so fulfilling. I immediately felt something shift within me and I knew that I was on the path to feeling truly happy within my life.
And so, I am no longer a believer that you must choose ONE thing to dedicate all your energy to. Instead, I now believe that with practice, time management and lots of balance, it is possible to dedicate your time to more than one thing you are passionate about. I now believe in the idea that you must fill your own cup first in order to love others better. Since filling my own cup and pursuing my own personal dance goals, I feel like I have much more love and energy to give to my students. I feel that through rekindling my relationship with dance, I’ve been re-inspired and re-fueled to pour that love into my studio and to those around me. I have nothing but gratitude for my dance journey and where it’s taken me so far. I look forward to continuing on my path with love and light, and seeing what the future has in store.
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?
If my best friend were visiting from out of town, I’d definitely take them to Brunch somewhere in Downtown LA, maybe a rooftop restaurant like Perch or Ace Hotel. I’d also take them to LACMA, Venice Beach, and maybe some hiking trails. If it were pre-Covid times I’d definitely take them to see a show at the Pantages or possibly to Disneyland. 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’d love to dedicate this shoutout to my beloved Impact Dance x Wellness. To all my staff, students and families: you guys are such a joy to work with and I’m so incredibly blessed to have you in my life.
Another huge shoutout goes to the very funky Miss Dana Wilson and her amazing podcast “Words That Move Me.” I’ve been a longtime fan of Dana’s dancing, and the past year I’ve been lucky enough to learn so much through her Podcast, taking classes from her and being a part of the online community that she’s created, Through the “Words That Move Me” Community, I’ve connected with dancers all around the world and have gained so much support, inspiration and friendships.
I’d also love to shoutout my team, Culture Shock Los Angeles, a non-profit Hip Hop dance organization dedicated to Dance Education, Community Empowerment, Professional Entertainment, and the preservation of Hip Hop culture.
Photos by Ryan Walvoord