Franki Floro: The Mover And Shaker

GA 19 | Dance Fitness

 

Franki Floro is transforming the dance/fitness world. She teaches Hip Hop, Broadway, Bumpin’ Burlesque, and Flashback Groove. Her classes are packed because they’re so much fun. She welcomes all ages and all abilities. She comes with the hardest of choreography and the most encouraging of spirits. She’s knocked down the notion that great dance classes are only for professionals. She brings all the skills and none of the intimidation which is why people are crazy about her. Her music is fantastic and you’ll definitely want to follow her playlists on Spotify. She’s built a dance community and an empire from scratch. She knew she was meant to dance at 9, having never danced before. She demanded she compete one year later and has never looked back. She teaches all over the country, she judges competitions and, when she’s in LA, her classes are where the party is at. For everyone. All are welcome.

Listen to the podcast here:

Franki Floro: The Mover And Shaker

Franki Floro is here and I’m so excited. I love her. She is a dance teacher extraordinaire all over Los Angeles. You can take her classes at LA Dancefit. You could also take her classes if you’re a member of Equinox in West LA. I believe it’s the West LA one. She’s the best hip hop teacher. She makes it accessible and fun and awesome for everyone, no matter your age, ability, how you feel that day. You will get in her class and you will sweat. The music is phenomenal. She packs the house with good reason because everybody wants to go and be part of the party. I hope you like our chat with Franki Floro.

Franki Floro, I’m so happy that you’re here.

I’m so happy you asked me to be here.

I had to work up a lot of courage because I take your incredible dance classes, but I don’t know you personally, aside from I love you as my teacher. I’m so glad that you said yes. Now, I’ve learned that we have a connection in Alexis Cara.

We do. She was a dance teacher of mine in college towards the end of my two years there. I did the theater program at AMDA, American Musical Dramatic Academy in LA and Hollywood. One of her best friends, Chryssie Whitehead, was one of my teachers for the whole time.

She’s going to have a baby and then when she’s back teaching, we’re going to go take her class. I get to call my spot behind you. Thank you, Flora. Do you teach all over Los Angeles?

Yes, I’m actually primarily now just at a studio, LA Dancefit, which is great. It’s an awesome studio. I’m there seven days a week. I teach every day. I’m there and then I teach at Equinox once a week.

Are you at Moore Dance?

I am not anymore. I’m just at LA Dancefit and I’m teaching at Equinox once a week. Shout out to Equinox for those benefits.

I’m mad because I can’t take your class unless it’s at LA Dancefit. I feel you used to spread your glory.

I feel when I started out, I was more everywhere just because I wanted all the opportunities that came my way. Now I’m traveling a lot more. I’m traveling the country.

Because you’re getting bigger and bigger now.

I was adjudicating this past year teaching conventions.

What were you adjudicating?

Dance competitions, which is super fun.

Are they mainly kids or younger teens?

It’s pretty much three to seventeen.

How do you judge a three-year-old?

Beautiful smile. Live your best life. You tell them to point their toes and you’ve got to give them some love and encouragement.

Do they get sad?

I’m sure they do but the young ones, it’s more to get up on stage and do their thing. No one’s like, “You suck. Go home.” It’s more like, “Great job.” Here’s your participation trophy unfortunately, but you know how it goes.

Everybody gets a trophy. That feels good.

Sometimes when they’re that age, I feel a lot of people disagree but it’s good to be encouraging.

I find you so encouraging. I want to credit you for how Stella got her groove back. I feel how Jenny got her groove back after two kids because I love to dance. I studied dance. Back in college that was my thing. Years and years have passed and I still love it. It’s my favorite art form. I found a lot of studios are intimidating and when you go and you’re just like, “I’m a person who likes dance and wants to hear good music and feel fun.”

You don’t want to be JLo’s backup dancer.

I do but it’s not realistic.

You’re not putting on that fresh makeup, hair did, full stellar outfit and hoping to get a callback. It’s more just, “I’m here to live my best life and have a good time, sweat and just enjoy.”

I feel like you might have the market cornered on hip hop that’s so much fun.

That’s what my whole thing was when I decided to tackle the dance fitness worlds. I felt I want it to be those big studios that are super intimidating without the intimidation. The choreography is hard. You’re doing as much as you would at all these other studios, but you’re in an environment where you feel so encouraged and you feel confident and you feel if you get four counts that you’ve done it and made it. That was my whole thing. I don’t love the vibe when I go to certain studios and it’s intimidating. I go to learn and unfortunately, I feel now it’s less and less about that and it’s more about who can get on camera. I wanted to create something that was about feeling good and what I would like when I walk into a class is what I wanted to create in my classes.

It is so much fun. You have the feel-good factor nailed. It’s true that your choreography is unbelievable. It’s so hard. Sometimes I don’t get half of it and other times I’m like, “I did that and I am amazing.” You have people in class who are great, obviously super awesome dancers, and then you have people that are either much older or who have never danced, who are trying to get one count of eight. Alexa says, “One count of eight.”

That’s all you need. I always say if you walk out of this door and you get two steps I did, that’s enough. You did the thing, you came in here and you wanted to dance. You danced.

Your playlist is fantastic.

Nothing is censored by the way.

I brought my son that one time and he’s like, “All those words I cannot say, I heard them all.”

It’s terrible. I always start class with, “Have fun and enjoy. By the way, my music’s not censored.” Knock on wood, I haven’t gotten in trouble yet. People have said something to me about it higher-ups and I’m like, “This is my vibe. It is what it is. If I sensor this music, it’s no longer fun for me.”

I follow your playlist on Spotify. Do a lot of people?

There are a few. I teach so many different classes now and styles.

I want to talk about all your different styles.

My Spotify playlists are all categorized because I’m now teaching a Broadway class, which I love. I went to college for Musical Theater. I do Hip Hop One, I do Hip Hop Two. I do a Bump and Burlesque class that is optional. It’s fantastic. It’s sexy hip hop where you get to just feel yourself.

I see a lot of floor thrusts in that one in your video.

It's powerful what happens when you write down what you want and what you want to attract. Click To Tweet

There is and there isn’t because I have such a big age range of people. I try to make sure that it fits with my age group, which there is floor work sometimes but I give them a good way to get to the floor so they’re not, “My hip, my back, my knees.”

They can get to the floor in a sexy, safe way. I took a class and you gave a turn that’s optional. The option for the people who didn’t want to go turn was a good one.

You’ve got to play it to how you feel best. If going to the floor is not your jam, then don’t. I’m going to give you something else to do so you don’t have to stress about it. I do a Flashback Fun class, which is one of my grooves. It’s nonstop music the whole time, hip hop jams, super fun.

How long have you been dancing?

I’ve been dancing since I was nine. I picked it up at nine. I had said to my parents, “I want to dance.” I was a very large girl. I was a big girl. I had been born a big girl, always had been.

Robust and healthy?

Yes, very healthy. I had said to my mom and dad, “I want to dance. I want to be a star, I want to dance. That’s what I want.” They’re like, “If you want this, commit to it and do it.” I did. When I was ten, I went to the studio that I actually graduated from and I was like, “I’m doing competition. That’s it.” I joined the competition team at ten years old. I was not a good dancer, I should say that.

You started at nine. One year in, you’re like, “I am ready to compete.”

Saying I have two left feet was very generous of a statement. I was a terrible dancer. When I was ten, I went to a studio that a lot of my friends were at. The director of the studio, she’ll tell anybody this story. I walked in and she turned to the other owner and said, “What does this big girl want with our studio?” I’m not kidding you. Bless her heart, she’s a sweet lady and I’m sure that anybody, if I walked in anywhere, they would’ve been like, “What? Where did all this confidence come from? Who is this chick?”

I hope she’s on Instagram. I hope she sees it.

I’ll send this to her. Debbie, this is coming your way. She loves me. She says the story just because she was proven wrong and I love it. She is an incredible and amazing person.

Debbie, I love you now. I was mad at Debbie for a minute.

Debbie is the best. She lit the fire under me for sure.

What dance did you start with?

When you join a competition team, you’re in jazz, musical theater, tap. You’re all across the board four days a week.

At nine years old, what did you take?

Jazz and hip hop.

At ten, you’re like, “I’m ready for my close up. I’ll take it all.”

I’m like, “Bring it on.” My parents were like, “If you want this, go ahead.” Not only did I join the competition team but I was also like, “For sure I need a competition duo.” I found another girl in class and I was like, “You and I need to do a duo.” She was my age, half the size of me.

Was she as enthusiastic as you?

GA 19 | Dance Fitness
Dance Fitness: When teaching dance to a big age range of people, try to make sure that it fits with the age group.

 

Yes. Both of us were not great dancers, so they’re like, “What a beautiful pair.” We actually did duos together for three years to come. I worked hard. For some reason, I had it in my head that I was a dancer and then I’m going to make it. I’m going to be a star. I got it. When I was twelve, I was working hard. I was babysitting to pay for my solos and my duos.

Where did you grow up?

In Vancouver. I’m Canadian, so I was working to pay for the extra dance that I wanted to do. My mom would get up early in the mornings and run with me because I was dedicated to losing weight. Kids would have Justin Timberlake and Nick Carter on their walls. I had ab exercises I cut out of magazines. Every night I’d work out and I worked hard. I worked on splits. Every day was dedication. When I was ten, I knew the college I wanted to go to, which was the one that I went to.

Is that a hard college to get into it?

I don’t think so. I think it seems like it. It might be more difficult now, but I always wanted to go to the New York campus and then I decided on the LA campus and it was fairly new. It was two years old, I believe. It’s the same coast as my family. They also offered an on-camera program for TV and I was like, “That’s more bang for my buck to do this whole theater and on-camera work.” I’m happy that’s the choice I made. It was an easier transition being away from my family.

You have brothers, I read.

I have three brothers.

You’re the only girl. You’re the baby?

No. I’m the middle. I have the oldest brother and the two, the twins, are the younger ones.

Do any of them dance?

Two of them have dance moves but it’s a very hockey, soccer, lacrosse-driven family. The fact that I was into the arts, my mom was like, “What do I do?”

Your mom was juggling everyone’s practice schedules.

Bless her heart. Bless both my parents’ hearts. They’re the ultimate rock stars.

Did she go running with you? That’s the cutest thing ever.

She’s my best friend. She’s the sweetest woman of all time.

Because my little one right now is into coding and I don’t want to know anything about coding. I’m hoping that shifts. You come to AMDLA, more bang for your buck on camera. Do you have to sing for the audition?

My audition, I sang and I did a monologue. It’s all a blur to me, which is crazy but I got a little scholarship. I remember getting the call. I was a manager at Starbucks when I was sixteen, and I was working there like crazy. I believe I was seventeen and I got a phone call from them like, “You’ve been accepted. We’re giving you a little scholarship.”

Are you ecstatic?

I was excited. I was like, “This is crazy. This is a dream come true.” Fast forward, I took a year off after high school so I could make a lot of money.

They let you wait a year?

Just dance. Nobody's watching you, they're all into themselves. Click To Tweet

Yes. I’m the only one in my family that’s even gone to college. They’re all laborers and they’re hard workers and I’m sure they make much more money than I do, but I’m the artistic one. It is what it is. I waited a year and I went and it was crazy. It was tough.

Is it a four-year program?

I did the two-year program, so I didn’t do my BFAs. It was smart of me. I just didn’t feel I needed it. No one encouraged me to get a BFA. It was just like, “Go do you. You want to go to school, do the two-year program. Live it.”

For the audition, it was a monologue and a song yet not a dance solo?

No. They had my dance credentials, but I did a song and a monologue and I guess that is it.

At this point you’re now eighteen, nineteen. You’ve been dancing the whole time for nine years now.

The year off I had, I was doing a lot of musical theater in Vancouver, so I was doing a couple of musical theater productions. I did onstage High School Musical production and I did Jesus Christ Superstar and then I went to college.

How is your singing?

It’s fine. I would rate it on a scale of dancing, acting, singing. I can hold an ensemble tune. I can break down crazy rap at karaoke. It was there. I had the chops. I’m loud. I’m not an angelic voice. I’m more Ursula or something.

What I would not give to play Ursula.

I was always this very robust character and it worked for me. When I went to college, I had great dance teachers. Chryssie Whitehead, who was tough, if she’s reading, please continue to be tough because she’s fantastic. I don’t get intimidated easily and she intimidated the crap out of me. A lot of what she had said stuck with me. Even when kids, even when people yawn in my classes, I have flashbacks to yawning in her class. Never again have I ever yawned in a class.

What did she say?

She was intense about it. She was like, “If you’re exhausted or tired, then you don’t need to be in my class. Yawn one more time and you’re out.” I’m like, “Yes, ma’am. I 100% hear you. No more yawning.”

Was she a jazz teacher?

She was in jazz, ballet, musical theater, she did it all. She’s a queen, 100%.

You then graduated.

When I graduated, I had met a guy in college.

A boyfriend or a friend?

A boyfriend. I had stayed through the summer. It wasn’t for two years. It ended up being a year and eight months because I just stayed. He was fantastic. I was with him for four years and I think that being with him helped me after college because we had to go find an apartment together and thrive and live on our own after college, which was tough because I’m Canadian and so I had to work on a work permit. It was tough because I had a post-year college visa, but I could only get work in my field. Unless I am getting an acting job or unless I’m getting some theater work, I was not making any money. I would do audience work for cash. Everything, all the little stuff. I had no car. I had nothing. We lived in a bedbug-infested tiny studio in Hollywood. It was crazy.

Was this pre-Uber?

GA 19 | Dance Fitness
Dance Fitness: It’s crazy the amount of work that you have to do to stay in the US as a Canadian.

 

Yes, pre-Uber. I was doing a lot of under the table work. Finally I was like, “Screw it.” I went and applied for a manager job at a vegan restaurant just to be like, “Let’s see if this whole work permit thing allows me.”

Are you vegan?

I was for a while. They hired me and so I worked at this restaurant for a long time. They hired me, no questions asked and I’m like, “I’m not even going to think twice about it.”

I will not ask their name because that’s awesome that they did.

They hired me and I was there for quite some time managing a restaurant and building my dance career in the meantime.

That’s where you started to build it.

It was a while. I was at this restaurant for five years. It feels it’s been 40 years in the past.

Because you’ve worked so hard.

It’s been years since I’ve been in LA, which is crazy to me. I was at this restaurant for five years and amongst that, I had broken up with my college boyfriend. I was now with another guy. I was building my dance career. I was trying to pay the bills while trying to stay in the States and trying to have a visa, trying to get a green card. It’s crazy the amount of work that you have to do to stay in this country as a Canadian. We’re not even allowed to enter the visa lottery, which a lot of people, Germans and Australians and there are a lot of people who get that opportunity to enter this lottery, but we don’t.

Did you get to go on the O-1 visa?

No, it wasn’t O-1 visa. Whatever the post-college one is, that got extended. I don’t think that was the O-1. I think the O-1 was ridiculously difficult to get. There’s no way for me. I’m up for my citizenship test.

Is your fiancé American?

He is American. He grew up in Santa Barbara, so he’s a Cali boy. He’s a sweetheart.

You’ve got the visa?

I got the visa and everything was fine. It all worked out. I shouldn’t admit this, but I worked illegally for a while because it is what it is. The struggle is real. I had to do that for a little bit and it was worth it. I was working on my dancing and I was working on classes.

How were you working on it? Taking class?

No, I was building my dance business, my teaching business. I would work six days at the restaurant and at night I got a job at LA Dancefit.

Was that your first one?

It was my first place. That’s why my heart belongs to them. I love them. They gave me one class a week and no people would come, there would be zero people.

Which is hilarious and incredible because your classes now are huge.

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That’s my thing too when I talk to people who are starting out. It’s consistency. You’ve got to show up and it doesn’t matter if one person shows up, you give them the class, you would give 30 people and that’s how I always showed up. I showed up and I always gave 110% to whoever was there. I got to know them. I got to learn their names and value them. I started renting studio space and trying to hold my own classes. I’d be like, “I’m having a little intensive here,” and there would be three people. I’d rent out space in Hollywood, do my own flyers, drop them off everywhere, do as much as I could on social media. I honestly started from the ground. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I feel I was young enough to have that energy to just go for it. I had a stable job. I had the cash to pay my rent and to pay my bills and that was the opportunity for me to thrive and go for it. After my college boyfriend, I was with another guy who is a complete jerk. He’s the one that makes you so insecure and feel so small and so demolished.

When I think back on my own behavior with those people, I still want to cringe and die.

Me too. My mom’s like, “I had no idea who you were.” I’m like, “I know.” I look back and I was a size four and I had short hair. I’d wake up every morning and put makeup on and the complete opposite of who I am now. He made me so insecure. He ended up cheating on me with someone I introduced him to. He was a sweet, good guy. I’d call him out but I won’t. I don’t mean to at all, but I’m very grateful for him. Once that was over, I was journaling every day. I was writing what I felt that day. What I wanted, what I was looking for in life, how I was going to get through this and every single day, when the pain started to go away, I started saying what I wanted. I’m like, “I want to build a big class. I want to change the dance fitness world. I want to meet a man who loves and appreciates me for who I am. I want someone who is stable and kind and sweet.” Every night, I kept going. About nine months after that crappy relationship, my now fiancé hit my parked car and left a note. He hit my parked car outside of the restaurant I managed. I came outside of work and there was a note on my dashboard that said, “I hit your car a little bit, here’s my number,” and his name.

At first were you so annoyed?

I was like, “Honestly? Could you believe?” I had such a great day at work. I remember being like, “I had such a powerful day. I feel good.” I got to teach that night. I was like, “I’m feeling good.” I walked out. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” I don’t get super frustrated a lot. I’m fairly even-keeled. I handle problems fairly well. I called him and he was like, “I’ll call you back.” I’m like, “That’s rude.” He calls me back and he’s like, “I’m Nick, I’m so sorry. Let me meet you and let’s assess the damage.” We met. He thought I was gay, I thought he was gay, which was fine. I had a mohawk. I was living my life. I was in my hip hop clothes drop.

He’s like, “We can go to gay bars together. I’ll be your wingman.”

I was in my drop-crotch pants and high top Nike’s, ready for my hip hop class. I remember thinking, “He’s so cute.” I was like, “I’ll go get my car checked out and I’ll let you know.” I walk inside, I go to my apartment, I call my mom and I was like, “I met the guy who hit my car. He’s cute.” She’s like, “That’s the one.” I’m like, “Shut up, mom. Get over yourself.” I got all gussied up the next time I met him and he’s like, “I’ll give you $200 for the damage.” I’m like, “That’s perfect. Do you want to go get coffee?” We went and got coffee. We walked back to my place and then I was like, “You should ask me out sometime.” He did and now we’re getting married.

Does he love to dance? Does he love watching you dance?

He’s in the TV film world. He follows along fine. He takes my hip hop and flashback class sometimes and he’s very dedicated and he does a great job. He’s my little white boy. Bless his heart. He’s got moves. I wouldn’t have appreciated who he is if I didn’t have that terrible man before because he was the total opposite of what I ever would have gone for and he is absolutely everything. He adores me and appreciates me and encourages me and supports me, as he should. I do the same to him, but it’s powerful what happens when you write down what you want and what you want to attract.

I’m so glad that you brought that up again because when you were talking about your journaling, I wanted to say that every single life coach, yoga teacher, mentor, person I admire, look at and then think, “Look at their life. Look what they’ve done.” They all talk about journaling. The fact that you did it at 25?

I was 24, 25. I’m a bit of an old soul, as people like to say to me. When I was nine, I should have been 38.

You were like, “This is how it’s going to go. I’m going to be a dancer. I’m on the dance team. Everybody, just relax.”

I was trying to drink coffee and Baileys and when I was ten. I’m like, “Come on, let me sit here. Let me have a cigarette.” I wanted to be a part of the ladies, total grownup.

You wanted a big class. You had one class at LA Dancefit and you were renting studio space.

I was trying to build something and I knew that I wanted this community. I knew that I had what it took to build this empire. I kept working. At LA Dancefit, now I had three people and those three people would go tell three other people and then it kept building and I got a couple more classes and I kept taking classes and evolving and trying to bring what I’m learning to my classes. I kept that and I did marketing techniques that tried to make sure that I was building the right community that I wanted. I call my students my ninjas. I would do a featured ninja every week. I would feature somebody and applaud them for kicking butt and coming through.

Do you have a dance team?

With LA dance, they do these dance showcases where you can join a team and you pretty much pay to be on this team. We do a performance, so it’s a dance recital jam.

For adults?

Yes, which is fantastic. I’ve done it since they first did it. I started with five people on my dance team and went to 30-something. This last time we did it, that was my final one, which was great. We went out with a bang, but it’s a lot of work and I feel the older I’m getting now, I have more opportunities coming my way, which is amazing. It was one of those I had to cut down. If you ever want a dance team, go to LA Dancefit. They have a great program there.

I do love that studio. It’s fantastic. It’s a crazy amount of fun when you walk in the door. Downstairs are always packed.

GA 19 | Dance Fitness
Dance Fitness: LA Dancefit do these dance showcases where you can join a team and you pretty much pay to be on this team.

 

I always say, no matter where I go, all the studios, there are a lot of great studios in LA, but the energy at LA Dancefit comes from the instructors there. We have the best instructors. We all love each other so much. We all bond and we all help each other. There’s no animosity. Everyone’s on each other’s team and it’s like, “What can we do to help you? What do you want to do to help me? Let’s work together.” We want to promote each other. We’re not in it just for ourselves, which is the nice thing.

When did you start at Equinox?

I started at Equinox almost the same time I was at LA Dancefit.

That all happened at the same time?

Yes. One of our fellow dance instructors, Elise Baker, actually got me that job. I started though in Thousand Oaks, so I had to drive from Hollywood to Thousand Oaks at the crack of dawn once a week, which was fine. That’s part of building the business.

The crack of dawn classes, there’s no traffic.

It was fine. It was fun. Now I’m actually just at Equinox Sports Club in West LA.

The fancy one?

The fancy one. I’m in there once a week, which is perfect for me.

You’re there once a week?

That’s it.

You have benefits and everything.

All the perks and benefits like membership, 40% off the spa, all those kinds of things.

Is your class always packed there?

Yes, it’s a very interesting group of people. It’s fun and I love them so very much, so much so that I know they won’t listen to any podcasts because they probably are, “What’s a podcast?” They’re literally 65-plus and I teach them my ratchet hip hop.

Your music is dirty. It is all sorts of ass up, face down lyrics. I thought you were going to say that they were all lawyers. That’s what I expected, the young urban professionals.

No. They are white women, privileged and I love it. They’re so appreciative of me and it’s the sweetest thing in the world. To watch them do it, they don’t care. They’re so happy I’m there doing something different for them and I tell them all the time. I’m like, “This is my hardest class. I’m giving you the hardest choreography that I do.”

What is it called? Hip hop?

Hip Hop Two is usually my advanced hip hop. They don’t have permission in their everyday life to listen to those lyrics or to shake their ass.

I feel that way as a mom who’s younger than me, but my life is very PG or G rated. While that’s fine because I’m with my kids and that’s appropriate, I miss the fun stuff and it’s so fun to come into your class and your space and hear all the music that I’m like, “What is this song? I need to go home and listen to your Spotify playlist immediately.” There are all sorts of booty-shaking great things.

When you find your focus, doors will start to open. Click To Tweet

Which it should be. A part of my teaching style too is I don’t have a filter. I don’t have a filter in everyday life. I don’t have a filter. When I teach kids, yes.

Do you teach kids?

I do. That’s why I travel around the country.

I thought you just judged.

No. I also teach as well. I teach conventions and I do dance camps. I choreograph their competition pieces. With them, I’m PG in my vocabulary but I’m also as crazy and outgoing as I am on an everyday basis. My dance fitness classes, I will tell you to stick that ass out, hump the crap out of it. There is no filter and it gives permission for people to let go.

It gives permission and it’s a creative space that’s fun.

It’s non-judgmental and that’s my whole thing. You’re here, nobody’s watching you. They’re all into themselves. This is your space to do your thing and that’s what I was thriving off of. To this day, my main focus is you come in class, we’re a community, we’re here to help and encourage each other. If you get three steps, awesome. That’s better than yesterday when you got two. We’re here to let go, have fun. Do you want to say something obnoxious? Go nuts.

You do have that space in your classes. I’m a Bar method teacher and I taught the Bar method for a long time. I still teach. You have to come to my classes. It’s so hard and a great supplement for that. When you go into your classes, you are so encouraging. Nobody’s paying attention to anyone else. The music is amazing. You make everybody break up into groups at the end. Do people get nervous?

I think so but I try to say to them, “I’m going to break you up into groups. It’s not so you can watch each other. It’s so you can have a break and drink some water.” That way it’s not, “It’s your turn to show off.” It’s like, “It’s your turn to take a little breather and maybe see what you could learn from everybody else and see what you can learn from that group.”

I do every time. I feel when it’s my turn to go, I’m like, “That’s what you’re supposed to do.” Do you have favorite teachers that you take to stay fresh and stay inspired?

Yes, I have. I can give you one that I truly love and that’s Phil Wright. He teaches at Playground when he’s in town. I’ve taken quite a few classes from people at Playground and at Millennium. I personally find that he is very similar to my style of teaching where he’s very encouraging and he teaches you.

He doesn’t mind if people aren’t incredible.

He’s in it for the right reasons and he has a good heart and that’s what I appreciate about him, apart from his fantastic choreography. He’s a great teacher, which I appreciate. He’s not someone who’s just a great dancer who then got thrown into a teaching gig. He is someone who is educated and knows how to teach and I love that. I love the community he built, the energy and the environment he built in his classes. I haven’t taken Alexis’ class since college, so I want to go when she’s back. She’s fantastic.

Do you watch YouTube videos or dance videos?

On Instagram, my feeds are always dance videos. It’s good to learn.

Have you ever choreographed a video?

A music video? No. For new artists, yes, but not for celebrities or anything that. People ask me that all the time and I’m like, “I’m not even putting myself out there for that. I feel like I found my focus and I think doors will start to open again when I shift maybe what it is that I want to do and where I want to focus, but I haven’t put it out there yet, but maybe when I put that out there.

I’m sure if you start to journal about it, it will come.

Let me write in that journal really quick.

You are also a wellness coach, is that right? What does that mean?

GA 19 | Dance Fitness
Dance Fitness: The more educated you are about something, the more you can educate other people on that.

 

Yes. Actually, health and wellness, so I’m certified in health. That was something that I did for myself more so. I wanted to be a little more educated on it. Because for me, I’ve always had to be conscious of what I eat. I always had to be conscious of how I work out. It’s not something that comes naturally to my body. I gain weight like that. I always struggle with body image and being conscious of what I look and I’m working a lot on self-love and I’m working a lot on appreciating where I am and why my body is changing. It’s crazy because things change and things shift and I’m like, “What is this? Three years ago, this wouldn’t have been an issue.” I wanted to get my health and wellness certificate just so I could have that under my belt. In my dance fitness world, it’s easy for people to come to me and talk to me about other issues that they have and I want to be able to provide them with whatever that I know. The more educated I am on that, the more I can educate them on that.

Do you have people who come to you?

I’ve had quite a few that have come to me. It’s sweet. I don’t want anything for it. I just offer it because I wish someone offered it to me. It’s nice to have that.

You and hubby are getting married. Where?

In Vancouver.

Is there a wedding dance?

There is but it’s not choreographed. Everyone’s expecting us to come through and do this five, six, seven, eight. We’re going to do a beautiful waltz. We’re going to do a nice grand entrance with our wedding party that will be fun and choreographed.

Did you choreograph that?

Yeah. We’re doing a fun little entrance and we’re keeping it romantic and sweet. Nick and I, we can walk into any bar or anything and steal the show and have fun and dance and spend our life together. I wanted to have a sweet moment with him at our wedding. We’re excited.

You also use the perfect name for it, Franki Flora. That’s your real name, isn’t it?

That’s my real name, Francesca Lena Marie Flora.

My mother is Francine and she goes by Franki only since she was little.

My mom named me Francesca just so I can be Franki.

Women who are Franki, I automatically love. It’s so good. You don’t have to change it. We can talk about that another time, but you don’t have to change it. Are you going to?

I’m going to. I’ve got three brothers to carry on the name. He’s all by himself to carry on his. On social media it will be Franki Floro-Baird. Franki Baird sounds like I’m a news anchor. I’m like, “Franki Baird coming at you from Channel Five News.”

It does a little bit, but I think we’ll get used to it. I recommend everybody come and take your classes, LA Dancefit. You’ll see me there as much as I possibly can. I’m always Saturday morning.

Saturday mornings are a great class when I’m in town. My weekends are a little scattered.

I never feel more proud than when I make the video. She videos sometimes and then if your group makes the video, that means that people in that group did an extra special good job, but for any danceability. I always say this to people, but I feel I sound an idiot because I can’t quote the right article, but I’ve read many articles now, not just one, on how dance is the best form of exercise for cardio but because of the remembering of steps to stave off the things that cause dementia.

I have a few members of my family right now with dementia. Who knows what happened but I wish they exercise their brain more. It’s been proven that it helps and I’m very adamant about that.

Because it uses a different part of the brain.

It’s so good for you. That’s why I say if you’re in class trying to get the steps, you’re working your brain no matter what.

It’s the one form of exercise that I’ve found that you can’t zone out. Anything else, whether it’s Peloton yoga, Bar method, things I think are great and are wonderful workouts, you can zone out and be like, “Whatever, I’m still doing this thing and I’m burning my calories and I’m sweating,” but not in your class because then you’ll be completely lost.

You’ll be ten steps behind and be like, “What just happened in that three minutes?

It’s an exercise in presence and fun.

Which is great therapy. For an hour, you don’t have to think about the stuff that’s at home. No space, no time.

I think everybody should take dance classes and yours are the best. I love you and your classes. Congratulations on your wedding. Franki Floro on Instagram, you’re @FrankiFloro. She’s so cool. Thank you.

Thank you for having me.

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About Franki Floro

GA 19 | Dance FitnessI was raised by the most supportive parents in the healthiest atmosphere and that is why when you walk in to class it is a “Judgment Free” zone. We laugh, we have fun, we shake whatever is willing to shake and we LET GO!

I started choreographing at the age of 14. My body was never as flexible as all the other dancers so, I started creating my own movements and concepts around what felt good for my body! As I developed more skills and studied more I realized choreographing was something I was passionate about. I now teach 6 different routines a week for my classes as well as choreograph for private events, artists and theatre.

I have been dancing for 16 years. I have been trained in, Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical, Hip Hop and Broadway. Dancing was one of those things that gave me purpose while growing up. No matter what style or what music, dancing has empowered me from day one!

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