Hi there, and Happy New Year! I took a little hiatus from writing due to holidays, recitals and life in general..but i'm back! I'm so excited to share my beliefs on work ethic, dance and life through blogging. I've had a few requests from On Pointe parents to share how I got my start, and became so passionate about dance, so that's what i'll be sharing today.
I'm Cristina. I'm 34 years old. I've been married to my husband, Bret, for nearly 9 years (fun fact: Bret named On Pointe Dance Studio). I live in Riverside and grew up in Chino, California. My family has always been very entrepreneurial. My grandparents on both sides were immigrants. I think there's something to that old school immigrant mentality. They worked crazy hard to make a life for their families and i'll never forget the stories from my ancestors, they are embedded into my brain and my being. My grandparents and parents always enstilled the value of hard work, integrity and honesty into my siblings and I. Not only did they tell us, they showed us by their own example. I have always been very passionate about volunteerism/ community and absolutely love the art of dance, all arts actually, AND working with children. I recently discovered that I can't have children of my own due to various medical issues (don't worry, i'm okay). While that is a private part of my life, I'm sharing because it's part of my story and I truly believe it's been a blessing for me. I believe that God has a plan for everyone and I absolutely love working with children and being at the studios. Being the Type-A that I am, I know having my own children would take away from my time at the studio and events and I love what I do...so it's a win, win in my book! Thank you for sharing your precious children with me and all of our On Pointe staff. We absolutely love working with them and you!
I started dance as a young child, like most little girls do, when my mom put me in combo class at a local dance studio at 3 years old. I danced recreationally for a few years and stopped dancing to play other sports. I played soccer and softball and was a Girl Scout pretty consistently and dabbled in karate and tennis. I've always been really active and love trying new sports/ activities. While I wasn't really a natural at any sport, I've always loved challenging myself and working really hard so I become competitive and played travel softball and on a few different All-Start teams. I started dancing again when I was about 8 years old and haven't stopped since! I took a few recreational classes and got serious in junior high when I auditioned for my studio's competition team. At this time I was getting pretty serious in dance and softball and had to choose one...I chose dance! I think it's so important for kids to try different sports. My mom was never a "dance mom" and my parents were always so supportive of me. They encouraged me to try different things...always finishing a season, but as with karate..it wasn't for me and I didn't continue after my first season. It's really important to teach your children to follow through with a commitment, then if they don't have talent with that activity or their heart isn't in it, try something else.
Since I was a small child, my parents always encouraged to find something I love and figure out how to make a living at it. I've always wanted to open a dance studio..I didn't know how or when just that I always had a vision of teaching children to dance. Before and after classes at my studio, I would stretch and condition on my own and even make up mock class schedules. When I went to high school, I auditioned for my school dance team (Don Lugo High School in Chino) and competed and performed as a large, medium and small group member and as a soloist my junior and senior year. After high school, I attended Fullerton College for two years where I was on Pep Squad. We competed in dance at regional and national competitions and cheered at football and basketball games. After transferring from Fullerton College to San Diego state, I auditioned for the dance team there. I'm going to be honest. I had a horrible audition and didn't make the team. I forgot choreography and completely froze. I was devastated. It ended up being a blessing in disguise because my major was really impacted at San Diego State and I couldn't get a lot of classes I needed to graduate, so I transferred closer to home to Cal State Fullerton where I earned my Bachelors degree in Communications with an emphasis in Public Relations. While going to college, I continued taking dance classes and taught at various local studios. I worked at a chiropractors office as an assistant, at a local bath shop and taught dance. Yes, I had three jobs and went to college full time. While I have my flaws, hard work isn't one of them. I've always been really hard working.
After graduating, I still taught dance a few hours a week, but I decided I should use my degree and got a corporate job at a Public Relations firm dealing with Real Estate events. It was not my cup of tea. While I loved planning events, the job was boring to me. After a year, I branched out and found a job at the Girl Scouts of San Gorgonio Council as the marketing specialist. I truly loved this job...planning events for kids, while working with a fun team and making a difference in the community was my jam! I don't think I would have ever left..except a year into that job, I got laid off. It was right when the market was taking a downturn and they let quite a few of us go. Again, I was devastated.
I started working for my family's business doing book keeping and continued teaching dance and volunteering in my community. After a while, I noticed a local Norco dance studio had closed and there was no dance studios in the city. At 24 years old, I thought this is the perfect opportunity to open my studio! A lot of people thought my husband "bought the studio for me". We both laughed at this idea. While he has always been very supportive in my ventures, this is something I wanted to do on my own. If it didn't work, I didn't want my husband to resent me for losing his money. I have always been a saver, so I poured my savings into my first studio. The rest is history!
Do you have a topic you'd like me to talk about? Please message me at Cristina@onpointedance.org and i'd be happy to share!
My first dance recital picture...somewhere between 1987 & 1988.