We had the good fortune of connecting with Yesenia Serratos and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yesenia, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I believe taking risks are always a win-win game. Regardless of the final result, in the end there is a learning experience and a most important one, it will take you one step closer to your goals. As a Professional Dancer you are constantly trained to take risks, just being a dancer you are taking risks for an audition, a job, even performing! My biggest risk was to move to another country to follow a dream. Coming from Mexico to the United States, without much money and speaking very poor English. You need to have a plan, and you can plan, but in the end you have to take things as they come and make the best of it, day by day with new challenges! I did, and now I speak fluent English, I have built a dance career I never imagined, I have experienced and learned so much, and looking back to the journey makes it all worth it. I have grown and developed a dance career as Dancer, Instructor, Choreographer and now as a Director of a new project, Soho Dance Youth Program. We should allow ourselves to make mistakes. You will never know until you take your own risk. Always follow your heart and have no regrets.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I have loved dance since I was 8 years old. One day at school I was being forced to participate in one of the festivals, that’s when I realized that being onstage with a big audience (whole school of parents). They were clapping as our music started. At that moment I felt everyone’s energy, they were so happy watching us. It was an amazing feeling coming from my soul and a very magical moment for me. I was born in Mexico, my parents are from Jalisco MX. and dance/art wasn’t an option besides going to school and studying to go to College one day. I had to wait 10 years, to make my own decision to dedicate my life to dance. Meanwhile, my sister and cousins had to deal with my imagination, and I would choreograph dances with them! Since then I realized that dance was my passion and teaching was a gift. I loved teaching and creating, I have mastered the art of communicating dance to any levels and any age. I would say, my biggest challenge as a dancer has been starting dance at 18 years old, It is not what we typically see in a dance career. I used to think that was my limitation. It was simply my story and my journey. I realized that we are assigned to give something positive to the world. Sometimes we don’t get everything the way we wanted, and we concentrate too much on that. You just have to look for another way, and realize how far you have come from where you come from. Soho Dance LA has become my home, my studio, a place to create. We are developing a community to not only learn how to dance but also to bring positive energy, make new friends, have a new challenge, a new experience. We want our community to feel like home at Soho Dance LA. We have two locations, Sherman Oaks and Westwood. We teach all levels and all ages. We believe dance can change lives. I’m the creator of Soho Angel Dance Company, designed for all women to experience the magic of performance, but also to develop confidence, to learn something new, work as a team and feel challenged while having fun! My new project Soho Dance Youth Program is for all kids, ages 6 to 18. Nowadays we need to encourage our youth to interact socially, build their confidence, get off their phones, get up and dance! I believe dance is a great discipline to have in their lives, whether they want to dance as a hobby or to develop a dance career! We offer both options at Soho. I love kids and I believe that what we give them at an early age is what will form them for the rest of their lives.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
When my best friend comes to visit me, we must go to the Hollywood Sign, from Hollywood Lake Blvd., take the official picture, that’s a must if you are visiting LA. Since you are around the area, the next step is Hollywood Blvd! You must walk and take a picture with your favorite star at the Walk of fame! One of many favorites is with Charles Chaplin, walk to the Chinese Theater and why not The Dolby Theater, where the Oscars happen! Next walk is around Sunset Blvd, I would say stop at any restaurant if you are hungry or a bar for a drink, for example The Den on Sunset or Rock and Reilly’s. Cool and fun places. Then later I would have dinner at Chateau Marmont. Then go to Universal City Walk, night time is fun to go there and see the lights at night and big screens. Get some ice cream at Ben’s and Jerry’s. Another day, prepare for an early morning to the Griffith Observatory, start with the hiking from there to see the Hollywood Sign from a different and closer perspective (if you are a fan of the Hollywood sign, like me), visit the museum and enjoy the LA view. Then get ready for a walk to the Rodeo Dr and explore Beverly Hills, take a nice walk and enjoy the area, then visit and take a seat at Beverly Gardens Park. If you are a Minni y Mickey fan, take a day for Disneyland! Let’s go! Definitely visit Warner Brothers Studios in Burbank, then stop by Downtown Burbank and eat some Sushi or Thai food, there are great restaurants, like Octopus Japanese restaurant, not feeling like sushi? try Porto’s Bakery & Cafe. It’s delicious. Downtown LA must be visited day and night, you must see Concert Disney Hall, try to get a ticket to see the LA Phil! Walk to the LA live, Staples Center, later go to a restaurant rooftop like Perch or Bonna Vista Lounge, great view and the restaurant rotates 360 degrees! Since I dance Salsa I would take my friend to go to a NightClub, check out El Floridita, close to Hollywood, a small and interesting cuban restaurant, live band and they have great mojitos. Take a day for Santa Monica Beach, walk to the pier, get on the wheel of fortune to enjoy the sunset view, walk to 3rd St Promenade, explore and enjoy this wonderful city. LACMA museum must be visited and the lights at night! Another early day to Venice Beach and then later have some food at The Grove, farmers market or Cheesecake Factory, both are great! One of my favorites; The Getty Museum, another day to take some time and enjoy. If we are feeling like night life, let’s go to Downtown Long Beach, have a drink and some food at Cafe Sevilla. Must see a show at the Hollywood Bowl, hopefully there is one of your favorite artists, even if it is something new! The experience will be incredible!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Throughout my life there’ve been many people that have given me so much in the process of my dance career. There are also books that have been a big impact in my life, one of them is, Sophie’s World from Jostein Gaarder, is a way to see life philosophically.