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My Workspace is a new regular feature profiling Lakeland residents through conversations about their work and workspace. The first conversation is with Freddie DeJesus and Jennifer Davis, co-owners of Ultimate Dance Center, 3234 S. Florida Ave., which celebrates its grand opening Saturday with refreshments at 5:30 p.m. and performances at 6.
Define what you do in 25 words or less
Freddie: I teach dances. I choreograph dances. I like to use dance as a way to bring people together.
Jennifer: My job here is to be a motivator and I’m here to encourage my little ones.
Freddie: You’re very nurturing.
What kind of workplace is it?
Freddie: A dance center, not a dance studio. A dance studio is a room. Our center has three dance studios. It’s a place where people come because they love dance.
Where do you spend most of your worktime?
Freddie: At the center. I used to drive around a lot. It’s important to have a centralized location.
What in your workplace shows off your passions?
Freddie: The studios.
Jennifer: I feel that what shows off everyone’s passion at the studios is this beautiful color of red.
Freddie: (to Jennifer) The branding. You have been super passionate about pushing our logo, our apparel. Our kids are going to be proud to be here.
What project are you excited about?
Freddie: I’m excited about the variety of classes we’ll offer. We’re going to be home to different companies. There’s my own company, the FrediDanceProject. Also, Bella Vixens Dance Company will be rehearsing out of our space, as well.
Jennifer: I’m a big part of the competitive side and I’m really excited to see that part grow. There are competitions all over the United States.
Freddie: We’ll have a competition team. Jen is going to be the director of our competition team.
What’s your most important work tool?
Freddie: (Hesitation … Jennifer answers) His presence, his smile, his energy.
Jennifer: (Hesitation … Freddie answers) You have a really good sense of team effort and patience. You observe people’s energy. You’re team oriented. You can keep the team united.
Apple or Android?
Freddie: I have an iPhone now. I crossed over this summer after I dropped my Android.
Favorite productivity tools
Freddie: Spotify and YouTube. Music and videos are important to what I do. We used to go to the library to get music and watch videos of dance.
Jennifer: Listening. I like talking with other people. It keeps my head going.
Freddie: You’re a great communicator. You should have been in journalism.
Tip for keeping organized
Freddie: It’s called a Patty. (Patricia Kenoly is the dance center’s administrative assistant.)
Jennifer: It’s a Patty. I’m pretty organized myself, but our organizational secret is Patty.
Favorite diversions on your mobile
Freddie: Social media and Spotify — I’m always listening to music.
Jennifer: Facebook and Snapchat.
Favorite information site
Freddie: I use Facebook for information, and I also use theledger.com.
Jennifer: YouTube. It’s a good way to get information about the arts and find music.
What do you usually wear to work?
Jennifer: Sweatpants. Tanktops. Jazz shoes.
How did you prepare for what you do?
Freddie: I studied at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Broadway Dance Theater. I trained professionally for six years and I had a professional dance career for over 20 years. And I meditate every morning.
Jennifer: I’ve been a dancer since I was 2 1/2. I started at local studios here. It’s always been in me. I learned so much when I went to Harrison. I’d never seen modern before.
Freddie: Another part of your training has been all the conventions you’ve been to — Monsters of Hip Hop and Co. Dance.
What book, TV show, movie or music has captured your imagination lately?
Freddie: To prepare for classes, I’ve been listening to a lot of children’s music — classical. The composer is Karen MacIver, and the album is called “Kindergarten Kids.” As somebody who has been teaching at a very advanced level of dance for so long, now I’m engaging with the beginning experience. I’m engaged with developing a young person into a dancer. I’ve also been listening a lot to a local band named Copeland and their album “Ixora.”
Jennifer: I would have to say “American Horror Story.” I actually kind of like doing creepier style dances at times. Dark can be inspiring to me. And Lady Gaga is on there.
What’s your favorite leisure activity?
Freddie: Watching TV. Two of my favorite shows are “The Voice” and a Spanish soap opera called “Celia” on Telemundo; it’s about Celia Cruz. My mom got me into it.
Is there something you’re working on that makes Lakeland a more livable community?
Freddie: We are working on creating an environment that makes dance all inclusive and being accessible to everyone from babies to grandma and grandpa. (Here’s a list of dance styles the center teachers.)
What about Lakeland makes you excited or has you worried?
Freddie: I don’t worry in Lakeland. I lead a worry-free life here. I moved to Lakeland because I wanted to be worry-free. I worried my whole career while I lived in New York City. I’m excited about Lakeland. I tell people all the time I’m excited about living in Lakeland. The town is growing every day. People are moving here from all over the world to live this quality of life. The weather couldn’t be better that it is here. I meet new people all the time. And I want to be a part of the growth.
Jennifer: I was born here, so I’m definitely excited to hear from people who are excited about what we’re doing and getting to watch moms and dads come in and bounce around with their kids.
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