This interview with Juliette Nieves-Becker of Reaction Dance Company is part of my 2021 Autumn Adventure Tour‘s Entrepreneur Interview Series. This trip promotes small businesses along the East Coast, shares interviews with my past and current clients, and highlights my upcoming business mastermind.

Transcript:

SPEAKERS

Juliette Nieves-Becker of Reaction Dance Company, Megan Taylor Morrison

Megan Taylor Morrison  

Hey everyone! I am here in Brooklyn, New York. I’m ready to chat with Julie Nieves-Becker about her Reaction Dance Company. I love Julie. She’s one of my private clients and an amazing woman. I’m going to get out of the seat so she can get in the seat!

Megan Taylor Morrison  

All right, tell me your favorite color.

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

Pink

Megan Taylor Morrison  

Tell me your favorite song to dance do right now?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

Mi Gente? Probably not. That’s the first song that popped in my head.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

Your favorite thing about your husband, Richad?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

He’s so fluffy.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

Ready to go?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

Yes.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

For those who are unfamiliar, what is reaction dance company?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

Reaction is a dance entertainment company. We do so many different things, but our main premise is to show diversity through dance — representing different cultures through dance through bollywood, salsa, hip hop, Latin, and others.

Julie performs during Hispanic Heritage Month

Megan Taylor Morrison  

That sounds pretty badass. What inspired you to found it?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

People tend to think of Western art as some amazing thing. And that it’s the only thing that’s amazing. I wanted to bust the myth that no dance style has technique unless it’s Western (like ballet, contemporary jazz, or whatever). All dance styles have technique, strengths and things that people need to learn in order to show a certain aesthetic.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

That seems right in line with a lot of things that Reaction does. It’s more than just a cool company that does amazing performances. It makes political statements through its work. Describe how you’ve leveraged this ensemble to facilitate important conversations.

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

We recently debuted a show called “We’re All Immigrants.” America’s immigration history has actually been pretty bad and wonky. It’s a disservice to anyone who isn’t white, essentially. I’ve had plenty of dancers who were part of my company who either came from abroad, or maybe they came from an immigrant family, that felt the story of what is going on in immigration should be told.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

The new shows called “We’re All Immigrants.” What do you hope people most get through the show?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

I want them to understand what it really takes to be an American citizen and the history. There’s a scene where we go back in time and show what it was like for groups in like Ellis-Island times. There was no such thing as an illegal immigrant. You could just make sure you passed a random test and you needed to be healthy. Where we’re at now is, like, “it’s illegal to come because you’re fleeing from your country or there’s a disaster.” It can take 10 years to get to apply for asylum. And that’s just your green card. It could take another 10 years to be a citizen. And sometimes it doesn’t even work because you don’t have access to money or you don’t speak English. The citizenship test used to only be in English. We highlight this in scene called “The Gameboard of Citizenship.”

Megan Taylor Morrison  

Reaction Dance Company is a brilliant way to embrace things you really care about. Another thing I think that our viewers will be interested in is that people often say there’s no money in the arts. You found various ways of making money. Tell us about how your your various income streams.

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

One of them is assemblies in schools where we talk about diversity. It’s a great thing to teach kids about dance and diversity through hip hop — something they know — and how it changes in all the different countries.

Then, we have events. We do like bar mitzvahs, belly dances for 50th birthday parties and more. It’s really fun.

We also do like shows like the one we were just talking about. This includes We’re All Immigrants and our recent performance for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Finally, I’m creating a course on dance entrepreneurship and am waiting to finalize a contract to teach dance entrepreneurship.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

When you focus on the arts like you have, you develop expertise. You know what it means to run a dance business. Remind me when did you founded Reaction?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

I was a junior in college. Almost seven years ago.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

So you are an incredible dance entrepreneur who is making a living of this. People are interested in that expertise and willing to pay for it! You’re not just making money by dancing, but also finding ways to monetize all the work you’ve done to become a savvy, artistic entrepreneur.

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

Exactly, And I’m sure some of the other questions will bring up how that came about.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

What advice would you offer to young artists who are interested in taking the entrepreneurship route? And in particular, what mistakes did you make early on that you can help them avoid?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

You just need to do it. You need to launch a beta product. You don’t have to put a lot of money into it. Whether that’s teaching your first class or filming a video of you dancing, sending it to people, and seeing whether they’d want to take the class based off that video. If you’re open to feedback, you’ll begin to learn what people want.

Get support right away, even if it’s a friend who you’re bartering with so they’ll make your video. I waited a little too long to get more people to help me out. That will bog you down because you will have less time to work on the creative aspect.

And don’t be afraid to invest. You might think “I don’t have any money.” Well, you will have some money and if you use it to invest in your business, people will take you even more seriously. Then, you’ll get more money out of it.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

We were just talking about this. You described you made the investment to get great pictures for Hispanic Heritage Month. Tell our listeners about that.

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

We did a show recently and the photographer felt a little out of my usual budget. But when I looked at the pictures that he did for other people, they looked absolutely fantastic. They made the movement come to life. And, for a dancer especially, your pictures are what sell you. If you look magical because someone took awesome picture of you, people are going to buy from you. Consider this versus them thinking “Oh, these photos are a little grainy”

Megan Taylor Morrison  

What are the most important lessons you’ve learned about business in the last year?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

I’ve worked through some limiting beliefs about what I can have and what kind of support I can have. I’ve learned I need more support and better support. I’ve paid for some support, but I’ve also realized I can offer things besides money to those who support me. For instance, I found interns who wanted to learn dance entrepreneurship skills. I’ve become more comfortable in investing in myself, and got my new website up! I’ve challenged the notion that I will need to be in one place.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

What I hear is you need to identify your limiting beliefs and then go from there.

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

Yes, exactly. You need to figure that out first because you discover you’re thinking “I can’t do this,” but you realize you don’t know why you think you can’t. Once you figure out why you think you can’t, you’re like, “Oh, wait a minute… I can do that.” You realize the thing that tells you “no” is some little voice in your head leftover from when you were a kid or whatever.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

This is the perfect segue to talk about your experience in private coaching with me. What was that experience like for you?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

Eye opening. A lot of growth. It was very easy to talk to you about my limiting beliefs. I felt safe enough to share them and then we could debunk them. I learned how to reframe a lot.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

Did it challenge you?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

To see things in a new light? Yeah, any growth process does. In order to go forward, you have to see what you saw before and challenge it.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

If people listening are interested in private coaching, how will they know if having a coach is right for them?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

Know what you’re looking for. Do you just need to know what an LLC is and how to do your taxes? This is so much more than that. This is for a growth-oriented person. Want to identify your limiting beliefs? And how tp break those down? Coaching is a little more abstract, but it leads to practical changes.

Also, find somebody that feels like they’re on the same page with you. Maybe they’ve leveled up a little bit more in their business practices, but you feel comfortable talking to them about it. Choose someone who has similar values or similar ways of being that you aspire to.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

I love that. If you just want to know how to start an LLC, or how to do your billing, these are things that you can either Google or find free resources about. Working with a coach is much more holistic than that.

So what was it like to work with me specifically? Because there are a ton of coaches out there, and they’re all awesome for the right client. Who would you tell people that I am as a coach?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

You’re for someone who walks to the beat of their own drum. You were a great fit for me because you are a dancer. You understand that professional life, essentially. I felt like you had a personal connection to me and art. I feel like you can really relate to anyone very artistic. I also know now that you are multifaceted and have clients who are focused on solar energy and other areas. You’re versatile. You listen really well. You feel safe and there’s no judgement.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

A lot of people ask me about what they’ll get from the coaching experience. What are some of your biggest wins and accomplishments from the coaching experience?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

I started my Dance Entrepreneurship Fellow Program where people work on my business while also getting skills that they can use to grow their own dance company. That means I’m way more supported than I was before and have more time to work on Reaction’s creative endeavors.

Becoming comfortable with investing in myself came after the coaching ended, but it’s because I broke down some of my scarcity mindsets during our work together.

I began putting myself “out there” more with marketing. I got more gigs. This is actually the best year for Reaction. We made way more money.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

You’re also a member of my virtual co-working community. Tell our viewers what that experience is like for you.

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

Sometimes as an entrepreneur, you feel alone. You’re by yourself if you don’t have a team or if you’re working a lot from home. Sometimes it feels like you can’t bounce ideas around and the collaboration aspect isn’t there. If you have a community of like-minded entrepreneurs, you can meet up with them and have accountability. You network with them. One of the members did my website!

Megan Taylor Morrison  

What’s your been your favorite part of being in the group?

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

I think it’s making new friends. My husband and I randomly ended up in Maine housesitting for one of the other members. He invited us to do it and I was like “Sure. I’ll take my free vacation!” And then half the community ends up at his house with us and we have this wonderful night together! You make great friends who are as growth oriented and you learn from them.

Megan Taylor Morrison  

Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Julie, for sharing your brilliance with us.

Juliette Nieves-Becker  

Yeah. I enjoyed this.

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