When young actress Ella Cruz woke up on the morning of June 1, 2016, her new reality as a businesswoman dawned on her.
She remarked, "Oh my God! May business na ako, very dalaga na ako, nararamdaman ko na yung responsibilities
“Yung kailangan mong alagaan—hindi lang siya basta for fun na studio lang, naging business na siya. Kailangang tutukan."
The 19-year old teener says opening her EC Dance Studio is a dream come true.
THE BIG DREAM. How did this idea come about?
She shares, “Nagsimula akong sumayaw at nag-upload ng mga dance videos.
"Naisip ko, lagi akong nagre-rent ng dance studio.
“So sana makakuha ako ng sarili kong dance studio para anytime, puwede ako pumunta doon, anytime puwede ako magsayaw."
Despite hatching the idea just a year ago, Ella can't believe how it has already become a reality.
She exclaims, "Na-achieve ko na siya, bigla nalang siyang dumating sa akin."
Located at #61 Kamuning Road in Quezon City, the studio is surrounded by an assortment of small-scale businesses.
LUCKY COINCIDENCE. How she stumbled upon the place seems nothing short of serendipitous.
Ella shares, “Meant talaga 'etong place na 'to para sa akin."
She recalls how in 2015 she was looking around for spaces to rent, but had thrown in the towel because "Walang makita, walang magandang price, magandang lugar. Napagod akong maghanap."
Just when she stopped looking, this space came along and not in the way Ella expected it.
"One time, mayroon akong kinuha dito sa friend ko, may store siya dito, and then nung bumaba ako nagpa-picture sa akin yung may-ari ng building."
The owner is friends with one of the companies that Ella endorses, and she just jumped right in to ask if there was still space in the building. The owner said yes and gave her the price she could work with.
Ella remembers thinking, "Etong place na 'to, siya yung lumapit sa akin.
“Kasi hindi na ako naghahanap, kusa na siya, kinuha ko na agad.
“Sabi ko, 'Ma, iba 'to, iba yung place. Hindi na tayo naghahanap, kusa na siya, baka para sa akin na etong place na eto.'"
SUPPORT FROM FRIENDS. The opening was attended by several friends, including Kiray Celis...
...Mark Neumann and Pastillas Girl...
Plus Angelica Yap, Ranz Kyle and his sibling Niana.
Ella admits to feeling excited but, "Sobrang kinakabahan, sobrang thankful and blessed.
“Nakakatuwa dahil ang daming sumuporta, lahat ng friends ko, artista, dancers."
Location-wise, Ella likes it because it can be found on a main road near Quezon City's main food and TV network district, "Siyempre, kailangan madaling mapuntahan, madaling madadaanan, malapit lang."
DANCING FOR KIDS. EC Dance Studio will cater to dance enthusiasts of all ages, but Ella seems more excited with the prospect of having kid students.
Apparently, she gets a lot of messages from parents of young kids telling her, "Gusto ko yung baby ko, five years old, eight years old, gusto daw nila matututong magsayaw.
“Early age pa lang natututo na sila sa passion nila, at na gusto nila mag-improve."
Ella can identify with that passion for dance even at a young age, but she says "Di naman siguro magaling na agad pero simula nung bata ako, five, six, seven years old, pag sumasali ako ng contest ng mga Little Miss ganyan sa school, laging dancing, kasi acting di mo naman puwede masali!"
What were some of her favorite dances that she grew up on?
She happily reminisces, "Dancing kung anu-ano. Mahilig ako sa yung uso dati—ocho-ocho, spaghetti, ganoon!"
EC Dance Studio will have dance classes starting July to be taught by different dancers, including her choreographer friends Macky Quiobe and the Manoeuvres.
Despite her roster of qualified teachers, Ella knows that her would-be students are still excited about seeing her doing what she does best.
That's why she makes sure that her Sundays are free for this particular reason.
And because she likes K-pop, EC Dance Studio will be offering this as well
"Para iba lang, at konting tao lang nagbibigay noon," she proudly says.
CONSTANTLY LEARNING. Having her own studio doesn't stop Ella from learning and being up to date with the ever-changing trends in the dance world.
"Ayaw ko naman i-claim na super galing ko na sumayaw.
“Kaya rin ako nagtayo ng dance studio, kasi gusto ko pa mag-improve. Gusto ko pa matututo ng iba't ibang klaseng sayaw."
She knows she has a long way to go, humbly admitting she is nowhere near the likes of G-Force and Georcelle Dapat.
"Ay, hindi naman. Grabe naman! Ibang level naman si Teacher G, sobrang iba.
“Eto, starting pa lang naman ako," she admits.