6 S H A D E S of⎿ATTE🔮

So here we are, Thursday's here and feeling ready for TGIFriday. Well not here in the DANCE world of San Diego! #teacherthursday👯‍♀️is putting a spin on the usual Q&A. Instead, we are going to let the story of choreographer and teacher Latte Dot be told through her pictures and dance videos.

We sat down for a phone interview with LD as she was wrapping up a walk with her dogs who wouldn't let her sleep in on her day off (dog owners/lovers out there know the feeling), and she was still in great spirits ready to tell us a little about herself both personally and professionally.

As a dancer here in SD, I haven't been able to dance for half a year due to an injury, so Latte's pop-up HEELS class was my intro back into the dance world, and the intro couldn't have been more perfect and with the right teacher.

The environment she sets is so warm and welcoming. She sets a mood light with appropriate music for the vibe of the room, then transitions us into a seriously deep stretch (something a lot of teachers don't do any more). Before we began learning the piece, she took us through a series of foundational steps known as positions for heels (thought only ballerinas did that!).Then the real sauce comes out, and damn can girl not only teach, she can DANCE! We are so excited to share the different S H A D E S of LATTE with you San Diego. There are so many fun ones to choose from, but we decided to fill you in on our favorite 6. Oh and, you won't want to miss what her real name is (we would have never guessed it on our own).

1. S H A D E S of moving to SD and overcoming obstacles🔮

From SF ➡️SD, LATTE got into SDSU, craving structure with school by day but living life GO-GOing by night for a year mixed with partying. Took a DANCE detour for 5 years, school was her FOCUS. Her boyfriend’s friend = life coach, asked to use her as a client, “diving into why I stopped dancing. I said 'screw it, I’ll take class.' Took at Facility Dance Studio and shortly after began teaching CONTEMPORARY." Her obstacles = 1. Focus on school conflicted, and 2. Thinking it’s too late.

“Galen Hooks in June inspired me to follow my dreams. I went in with a different perspective. After it was done, I left with an opening of my world. I super highly recommend it. If I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it all out. When you immerse yourself, you really G R O W. People need to see you- can’t sit on your talent.”

2. S H A D E S of most proud SD accomplishment🔮

This Past year, LD “launched first BEYOND BASICS workshop, a technique based focused workshop with Fern Ruiz (jazz technique) and Hector Kramer (ballet), alongside different instructors. [Incorporated] barre, strength exercises, heels, technique. I feel like there is not enough technique and foundation to G R O W in. I loved bringing instructors together.”

“People felt that they learned something. That’s HUGE to me. There were exercises you can do at home, helpful tips. Love working with different instructors. So AMAZING. I want to do that again before I leave.” - Latte Dot

🔮FUN FACT: You won't believe what her real name is. Can you guess? It's Taylor Williams! Latte was a nickname that was created by her uncle at 12 years old. She didn't like going by Tay-Tay, so her uncle got creative and said "what about Latte?"

3. S H A D E S of teaching🔮

“Modern is good for exploring your body [holds a degree in modern]. Oh my gosh honestly, with contemporary, I’ve always been comfortable. I was trained in ballet and modern growing up, choreography in college; comfortable with contemporary. HEELS👠loved heels culture. It made me grow as a woman. I used to beat myself up, but it’s not about how they’re dancing and you’re dancing, heels is how you FEEL. I’m in tune with how I’m feeling.”
“I feel sexy and cool in my heels. I’m artistic, wanting to explore my movement in that style. Both are really different, but both EMBODY who I am as a person; serious and passionate in contemporary, cool and trendy in heels. It kind of worked out. Contemporary and heels fight each other. Contemporary goes full out. Heels is smaller and more subtle. I have a hard time in my own choreo.”

4. S H A D E S of focus and elements in her classroom🔮

"I want to create a vibe to help dancers tap into themselves. The green light [in the piece above] something sexy about it with a Netflix and chill vibe. The song is smooth with bass. Everyone loves bass. Jeremih produces good songs with his melodies. It helps to have a song that people know. It’s a sexy song."
"Oh my gosh-honestly, I’m at a point of trying to get my name out as a choreographer and artist. Contemporary is more for my students, heels is more for me. I want to highlight that I can do other styles. It’s a way of getting my art out there, showing who LATTE is."

🔮Fun Fact: Did you know Latte used to be a catholic school girl!? (alright guys I know what y'all are thinking! Sorry she's taken). "I’m always a very modest person, not sexy in my everyday (we disagree!). I went to a catholic private school, it’s hard for me to get there. I want to make myself a little uncomfortable, that means I’m growing. Push yourself a little each time."

"YAASSSS!!!! Right. That’s the stuff that makes it sexy. Watching videos from LA, I ask myself, ‘what are they doing that I’m not doing?’ I’m working with heels instructors and in tune with body work as a ballet and modern teacher. I was taught really good technique, it makes a difference in dancing, it’s the icing on the CAKE. Icing is the technique on top, it brings it home. Having technique and foundation prevents injuries and makes dancing so much clearer and sexier."

5. S H A D E S of V I S I O N🔮

“You know I’m a teacher first and foremost, it’s 100% my responsibility to teach and grow and supervise. If I see anyone struggling, I am not doing my job right. I’m a student as well. If I learn as much as possible, I’m able to come back and bring as much as possible. I fill my cup before I fill theirs. Teacher first, Student second.”

🔮Fun Fact: Have you noticed LD uses fun "lingo" to her illustrate her classes? We asked why that is- “I’m dyslexic, I need visuals, some sort of metaphor to try to convey what I’m trying to express, descriptive words let me tap into that. NO one understands what ‘be flowy sexy’ means. EXTRA words make a difference. Get your head in that head space. Make it count.”

6. S H A D E S of glam and fun🔮

“Ohhh where would I travel? Honestly, I would love to lay down somewhere tropical and chill. Somewhere like the Maldives, and JUST LAY DOWN. I do so much. I would love to just hear the ocean, take it all in. Blue ocean, warm water, I’m down for that.”

🔮Fun Fact: When asked what her fave feature on herself was, she let us in on the big secret: “What do I like SELF? I try to like more and more everyday, it’s a good exercise. I struggled with body image. I look at myself and try to find something new every day. I like my nails today, they're super cute just got them done. Makes me feel good about myself. Tomorrow might be something else. Maybe my legs or something, we’ll figure it out.”

Latte is a shining example of dancers who go through struggles, but works through them coming out stronger with a solid game plan to support her vision. She showed us how she struggled with thinking dance was over, letting outside factors such as partying get in the way of focus, working through dyslexia, and coming out stronger by sharpening her weaknesses and playing on her strengths. She fills her cup first to be able to pour into ours, and we are so thankful for everything she gives to the dance community. Find Latte on IG @Latte_dot and DM her for Private Lessons, or catch her schedule at The Facility Dance Studio. She throws in a pop-up class at times so keep your eyes peeled for more training opportunities.