Over this whole adventure with Step x Step, I have come into contact with some amazing people! Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be friends with dancers I have been watching for years! Most of these dancers I have met have been really great aquaintances and there are others like Riquel who I consider to be good friends! The reason I say that is because we have supported each other through a lot of events and have some great conversations about life. We also both have a HUGE place in our heart for the state of Idaho, where Riquel was born and raised.
Born and raised in Twin Falls, Idaho and taking the leap to LA after high school, Riquel still travels home quite regularly to give back to the place that gave her the foundations! I went to college in Eastern Idaho and have friends who went to school with Riquel, so it made for an easy conversation when we first met. I have seen her dedication with dance, Dream Believe Achieve, and RO Studios, so I am super proud to know her and help spotlight the things she is doing! I mean to come from small town Idaho and creating a group called, “We Are Heroes” then audition and win America’s Best Dance Crew Season 4 – that is truly a movie script in itself!
Thank you for doing this interview Riquel and we wish nothing but success for 2013!
*Give us a quick background on your dance experience in Idaho before LA
My Idaho dance experience was very much a studio kid. However Idaho suffers with the lack of Hip hop and I didnt have ballet so I am still to this day catching up on a lot of my extended technique. But I feel the best teachers/dancers/choreographers are always students for life anyway:)
*What made you take the risk of jumping to LA?
I took the risk of moving to LA because the 1st semester after High School I did what society says we are “supposed to” do and I went to college. I had a full ride so it would have been easy to stay the whole year but after only 1 semester I knew that was not the classroom I was meant to be in. I had quit dance my Junior year of High School to play sports so it had been a while since I really danced but I knew in my gut I was meant to pursue my dreams and LA is the best place for that.
*What was LA like when you got there?
LA and specifically the LA dance scene has changed so much just in the few years I have been here. When I got to LA obviously my sheltered Idaho life was broke so I grew up fast and had to become very open minded. Tried new experiences but most of all I stayed in the studio ALL the time and when I wasnt in the studio I was working to pay for my training and the high expenses of LA life.
*Tell us about how We Are Heroes came together and the ABDC experience?
We Are Heroes started with Hero and I. She saw my choreography and then asked me to do a carnival set with her where the ABDC casting director saw us and told us we need to audition. We originally auditioned with a different group of girls but they didnt have working green cards. So MTV moved on and literally 1 month before the show was to start they called us and still wanted us so Hero found the new girls which I had never met before. So for us the ABDC experience was different from most crews. Because most crews are life long friends or have been dancing together prior to ABDC. But obviously everything turned out exactly how it was supposed to! I wouldnt change a thing and the ABDC experience was the most challenging but BEST time of my LIFE!
*When did the idea for RO Studios come? How did it come together?
The idea of RO Studios came in January 2011. I lived alone in a 2 bedroom house and even though I LOVE performing I really love teaching and choreographing and studying all areas of my craft and the entertainment world. So it started with the idea of turning one of the bedrooms into a dance studio. Which I did, it had mirrors, hard wood floors, and a private entrance. That is when I decided I need a name, I turned to my Facebook friends to help narrow it down to ROS ;). Then it grew into much much more than just a private “studio”. It is now a concept, a business, a company, but more importantly an idea and a place to grow and inspire and to live the life you have imagined whether you are a dancer or not. That is where the motto DREAM BELIEVE ACHIEVE came from.
*Tell us about Dream Believe Achieve
DBA.. is exactly what it says but yet its soooo much more than that;)
As i mentioned it is for all walks of life and ALL ages! It is for big and small goals. To sum it up … It is to teach people and challenge them to 1)DREAM = find something you are passionate about or want to accomplish 2)Believe= stand by yourself have faith in your vision no matter what is done or said by your surroundings and 3)Achieve = dont stop until you get it or until you realize your vision was brought to life if not by exactly what you had in mind by something better.
*Do you feel there are misconceptions with women dancers today? Either commercial or underground?
I think there are misconceptions out there of female dancers but I choose to pay it no mind. And its good you mentioned commercial or underground because those are 2 very different things! Not all dancers understand the difference and should study up 😉
*Do you feel there are misconceptions about dancers making the leap to LA? What would you advise them?
DEF misconceptions about dancers moving to LA. I would advise 1st to people #1) know the reality of the LA dancer life. If you have to work a normal job to get to where you want to be thats exactly what you should do. A lot of dancers live broke and do many jobs for VERY cheap which makes it hard for the community to ask for what we really deserve. Also as I mentioned the dance world has changed and grown even since I moved. It is good and bad. Its AWESOME because the dance world is growing into the mainstream world. It has gotten sooo popular but it also makes many many auditions cattle calls where Everybody and there mom is there haha. However it is a beautiful thing that so many people want to pursue it and see the beauty of dance.
*Tell us about some of your upcoming events? You’ve judged WOD, went to China, etc…
Up coming for me: I am still at the Emmy awards I work there half of the year and absolutely love the fun events I get to be a part of. I currently am choreographing for one of Randy Jacksons artists, Grace Valerie. When she has shows I get the dancers and sets ready. In between shows I work with her weekly on artist development. I am judging World of Dance CHICAGO! Which I am very excited about at the end of Novemeber:) I also am teaching a Master Class at Pro Dance Elite while I am in Chicago and choreographing for Bartlett High School Hip Hop team. Im crossing my fingers my choreography gets them 1st at this years competition;)
And I am scheduled to judge HHI 2013 !!
*Any shout outs?
I have to shout out you and Step x Step! Also to We Are Heroes and everyone involved at ABDC and doing press for us like Pac Rim, Blogging Best Dance Crew, And Sthanlee for awesome pics! I want to Thank Howard and Karen and Myron Martin the creators and people in charge of HHI and WOD for putting me on. And lastly every single person that has believed in me and supported me before during and after ABDC. Everyone who has ever taken my class and or hired me;) AND of course EVERYONE that wears and reps ROS DBA gear from riquelolander.com/store