We had the good fortune of connecting with Coco Cabrel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Coco, maybe we can start at the very start – the idea – how did you come up with the idea for your business?
After every flamenco performance, audience members would come up to me and say, “That was so beautiful, I wish I could do that!” I would answer, “Sure you can, come to class.” Invariably the person would physically shrink and hunch over and say, “Oh no, I could never do that. I’m too (fill in the blank with ‘clumsy,’ ‘awkward,’ ‘shy.’)”
For years I felt sad that these folks couldn’t feel the sheer power of flamenco. The ancient movements of flamenco were specifically designed to overcome hardship – the very thing these people needed to overcome their excuses. I knew I could use my medical knowledge and teaching experience in anatomy and physiology to legitimately turn flamenco dance into flamenco fitness to make this power more accessible to non-dancers, but I couldn’t figure out how to get this idea out there.
Until the pandemic hit. Suddenly, everyone was used to consuming their lessons, work, entertainment – and exercise – online. I realized that I had a platform – and reach.
I reached out to family, friends, and some former students to have fun with me in a 5-day online flamenco fitness workshop, starting the day after Thanksgiving, 2020; a handful of people became the Founding Members of my subscription program. And I’ve been expanding the program and building our vibrant, supportive community ever since.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My mom, a respected pediatrician, belittled my need to create choreographies in our living room. Yet she would become my biggest fan and traveling companion when I was performing full time. She steered me – hard – into medicine because I had the grades and, in her eyes, needed the practical career. Yet years after leaving my residency, I would become an award-winning professor and department chair of anatomy, physiology, and neuroscience.
I danced – and often trudged – a very tortured path to finally integrate the two halves of my persona into a complete creative with a whole lotta science in me. And it took even longer to feel safe enough to show that completeness to the public.
Flamenco itself gave me the strength and the confidence to do that. And yet so did the sciences. I stand with feet strongly in both worlds. I can answer clients’ questions about an old knee injury just as deftly as a question about the Celtic influence on flamenco footwork.
This is what I’d like for the world to know about me, my brand, and my story: If you happen to be outstanding at two far apart things, you may very well enter your genius zone when you smash them together. And that’s exactly where you’ll be happiest to operate from.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For a week-long trip in Downtown Los Angeles – that’s DTLA for us locals – there would definitely be these five coffee places for brunch: Cafe Dulce at USC Village, Ministry of Coffee across the street, Pitchoun! at Pershing Square, La Brea Bakery (technically West Hollywood, but who cares), and SLC Boathouse at Echo Park Lake. The swan pedal boats are a must at Echo Park Lake – and at night, they’re lit up, and you get the best view of the downtown skyline anywhere.
A hidden gem is the Blue Ribbon Garden tucked up the stairs at Disney Hall – there’s even a sweet labyrinth to walk. And a block away are the spectacular fountains at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion and Grand Park, with City Hall in the background – plus more stairs (I love doing stairs).
We’re big museum goers, and our faves are: The California Science Center, The Natural History Museum of LA, LACMA, La Brea Tar Pits & Museum, Petersen Automotive Museum, and the Japanese American National Museum.
And a visit to LA wouldn’t be complete without a day at the beach. The closest to DTLA is Santa Monica Beach and Pier – where a moonlit ferris wheel ride and birthday celebrations at Bubba Gump Restaurant are sort of a tradition.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Jenny Brown, my PR coach in the SuperConnector Mastermind, and John Shane Kowalski, my husband and dance partner
Other: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@flamingomamadoc
John Shane, The List TV