WOI Lenny Montes, Owner of Danzone

 

 

Women of Impact: Lenny Montes

Dancing has always been in Lenny Montes’ blood.  She started dancing at the age of 5.  At 10 years old, she joined her elementary school’s drill team.  She was still in high school when she began her coaching career as a high school cheer coach and continued to coach through college at Cal State University, Los Angeles (CSULA), training with the National Cheerleader’s Association.  While working towards her Communications degree with a minor in Dance, she had the opportunity to go on tours and perform on stage, television, and film. With over 20 years as a professional dancer, Lenny has worked with celebrities such as Pilar Montenegro, La Chilindrina, Akwid, and Cristal Sierra, and has made numerous stage and film appearances on Sabado Gigante, Despierta America, Mad TV, VH1, Univision, and Telemundo. In October 2007, after making the city of San Fernando her home, she fought against all odds to open the doors to her dance studio, Danzone.  Her goal:  to help people—young and old—achieve their truest potential through dance and fitness.  Every class she teaches includes technique, injury prevention, and most importantly, FUN!
Lenny Danzone
“To be completely honest, it was my ex-husband who suggested it.  He was always looking for the next business opportunity, and after trying so many other things, he suggested we open a dance studio.  I thought, how hard could it be? I know how to dance; I know how to teach people. So, with no business plan, no prior experience running a business of our own and NO MONEY, I said yes to the idea. The better questions is, what keeps me in this business?  I’m not going to be a multimillionaire yelling out “5678” to a small room of people in the San Fernando Valley, IN the great city of San Fernando! I just absolutely love teaching, and I’ve found the benefits of teaching to be so many… beyond the fitness aspects, dance can help with healing physical and emotional trauma.  It is a self-esteem booster for ANY age.  It provides a mental break from the hustle, bustle and grind of everyday demands. It is a beautiful way for us to connect with our own bodies and each other.  I’ve seen so many transformations now in my over 20 years of teaching, and I’m hooked to the outright immense joy and love I feel when teaching and bearing witness to some of the truest most pure and beautiful aspects of the journey that is this life,” shares Lenny on what inspired her to open Danzone.

Over the years, Lenny brought in some of the most skilled and passionate professionals in the industry to teach Danzone’s Children’s Dance Program.  Being a parent herself, she understands the families she serves and works hard to give the children the very best dance instruction and experience.

After setting her roots and opening her studio, Lenny became heavily involved in her community, organizing events, and using her space to help others.  She supported the American Cancer Society through her involvement with Relay For Life.  Her studio hosted several fundraisers, and food and clothing drives for local organizations like MEND, and El Nido, as well as running programs with GRYD for gang prevention for at-risk youth.  She helped with planning and running community events such as the San Fernando Bridal Expo, and the Chile Festival.  In 2018 and 2019, after the wildfires devastated nearby cities around San Fernando, she opened Danzone’s doors to receive donations of food and water to those affected, sending them to local organizations to be distributed.

She has also sat on the Board of the San Fernando Chamber of Commerce as Secretary and then Vice-President, working alongside committed individuals and local businesses to grow their membership and support the community.

Since opening Danzone more than 15 years ago, Lenny constantly acknowledges that it was family, friends, and the community who turned her dream int a reality.  Lenny shares:  “This is why Danzone operates the way it does… we serve in a community to bring friends together who end up being our family!” Her advice for future entrepreneurs: “Do some soul searching and invest in self-development.  Understand your why.  Know who you serve and why you do it.  Respect the value you bring into the world.  Know your worth and be willing to walk away from a business interaction (and people) that does not align with your core values and does value your time, talent, know how.  What is meant for you will always find you when you are ready.  Have a good relationship with money.”