By Hunter Mylek
Who is Laura Armenta?
Laura Armenta is an adventurous, driven, fierce, and resilient woman. Mexican-born performing artist, choreographer, movement expert, speaker, educator, holistic arts practitioner, martial arts lover, and diversified entrepreneur.
For those that do not know about Armentality, what makes it unique and how did you come up with this business idea?
Armentaltiy is my home, a tangible dream and my long-held vision! What Armentality Movement Arts Center is today, is the result of soon to be 25 years of evolution and transformation. Since I started in 1998, the organization’s name has changed a few times, and location has changed five times, but, we have definitely been pioneers in our offerings and programs.
Armentality Movement Arts Center is a place for creative expression, exploration and empowerment. Armentality Movement Arts Center is Diversity All Around!
Our Adult Dance Program is open for Professional and nonprofessional dancers. We offer concert dance techniques like Contemporary Dance, Jazz and Ballet, as well as a variety of world dances like West African Dance, Bellydancing and Afro-Caribbean Social Dance. Wellness Programs include Yoga, Thai yoga, Pranayama, EFT/ Tapping and more personalized services, and corporate classes. Our beautiful studio is an open space for other creatives, and movement artists to work, explore and thrive. Armentality’s rental membership program is an important and convenient resource for dance, theater, music, and multimedia artists to have workshops and rehearsal space with free-parking. AMAC is also a small performance venue where audiences have an intimate connection with the artists. We love presenting diverse artistic work at affordable ticket prices. Powered by love, AMAC has been inclusive, open-minded and diverse since 1998.
Can you tell us about your entrepreneurial journey and what it means to be a woman in the industry?
In my particular case, my personal and professional journey is a lovely and colorful fusion. Being an Immigrant has been financially, emotionally, and mentally challenging. Creating, building, and surviving all around with no initial network of support can be scary and devastating. I do have a chosen family and a great group of friends now – and I am grateful, but moving from Mexico City to Washington DC, later NYC and finally, Michigan has been a “curvy marathon”. Endurance and determination are key. Yes! I am stubborn and resourceful. But it has not been easy. As a minority, I have experienced diverse challenges, from language barriers and having to speed my understanding of rules and laws to run my businesses, to racist hurdles, and dealing with socially imposed labels. Today, I am proud of myself for having become a multilingual and multicultural individual/entrepreneur. Establishing that a Performing Artist is an entrepreneur is a task by itself. Plus, being a woman is another layer. In a way, it is a daily battle to demonstrate that I am intelligent and capable. I personally think the combo makes me a great multitasker. I’ve learned to speak up, stand up tall and occupy space. But, I have definitely dealt with sexual harassment and plenty of dismissive interactions. Since early childhood, I have always liked independence and freedom, whether it is financial, decision-making, or creativity. I know that to achieve said independence and freedom I need to be disciplined. Entrepreneurship is my independence and freedom and it is my “Queendom”. I love what I do and I walk my talk daily.
What do you have planned for Armentality in the future?
Oh! so many things got set back by the pandemic. I am not sure if I should dream again. But, here I go, and in no particular order. Start a new Dance Ensemble, but this time formed with performers from the POC community. I would love to have a larger space and design my own building. Host national and international guest teachers and creatives. And there is more…
What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?
First, ask themselves and understand why they want to be entrepreneurs because entrepreneurship is not “peaches and cream”. Have a good financial cushion for uncertain times. Because they will arrive. Finding the right circle of professionals to run things smoothly. I.e. accountants, lawyers, designers, etc. And, Jump in with passion, devotion, and lots of love and compassion for themselves.
To learn more about the Armentality Movement Arts Center and to check out what it offers visit the website