Photo by: Standa Merhout
Makeup by: Renee Garnes
Hair by: Raquel Martuscelli
Dance Mogul: What inspired you to start dancing?
Tenile Jimenez: What inspired me to start dancing was my connection to music, love for music and my mother and her love for music and dance! Hip hop, house, freestyle, and salsa music to be exact! Watching my mother go off dancing to music playing loud in the living room when we lived in Spanish Harlem. She used to dance like she was performing on stage! Lol or dancing for “In Living Color” with the fly girls! lol, she actually booked that gig as a fly girl, but then got pregnant. She would light her candles up, play her Madonna or house music and freestyle like no one was watching her. But I was, in the corner. I loved that confidence and the freedom of the body, mind, and self! That’s what impaired me!
Dance Mogul: How did you develop a work ethic to train?
Tenile Jimenez: I developed a work ethic to train back in Spanish Harlem with Paulie Rogers my dance teacher! She was amazing but played no games. Had no time for attitude which I had lots of hahaha May she rest in peace!! I actually was interested in gymnastics back when I was 8, but chose to dance. I am beyond happy with my life and where my love for dance has taken me!!
Dance Mogul: When was your big break?
Tenile Jimenez: To me, one of my big breaks was when I was 15. My friend speedy from the New York City Breakers had taken me and my homegirl to this day Salina Stumbo dance for a Spanish house group that had a big boriqua anthem. Wepa man and Victor Vargas! Love them to pieces! I got to travel all over the states! Perform in front of thousands of beautiful people! It was amazing! What an experience I had. At 18 I went to Italy, Milan to perform at the salsa Congresso with Brenda Byrd, whom I met during my after-school program at the Kips baby boys and girls club of the Bronx on Randall ave! My mom works there to this day 🙂 That’s when I knew I wanted to do this! I wanted to dance for as long as I choose too! I wanted to travel the world, meet other dancers learn other styles and other cultures.
Dance Mogul: What have been some of your memorable moments on stage?
Tenile Jimenez: OMG some of my memorable moments on stage was when I was in Africa performing with Joe; singer, songwriter, R&B artist! I had a moment just seeing this sea of beautiful people just singing along to his song and us rocking on stage and giving so much love and energy I was taken back. Africa was beautiful. We went to places like Durban, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Nigeria, Ethiopia! Just amazing man! Loved it! I mean there’s just so many to share it makes it so difficult but just maybe a few more lol
Dancing for Madonna in Her video “give me all your luvin” feat. M.I.A and Nikki Minaj. That was so fly. She is on another level for real. I mean full out production as if we are shooting the video, but way ahead of the actual shoot day. She was speaking in French lol I loved it. There was a moment where she came in from the light, I kinda tore behind my mask for like two seconds hahaha. Like I’m so grateful to be here! Thank you universe for listening! that was really cute! She is major boots! She read me and this guy who was handing me my prop. I gagged, but I let her know it’s not me losing honey it’s him. He’s handing it to me wrong for like the 3rd time so she was like “ok, let me see” lol she had production play the track and she took his place and handed me the prop. When she did, I hit it right on Q baby. She was like ” oh it is him” lol there’s more, but I won’t share it all!
Another memorable moment was dancing for Jennifer Lopez for the Seven Wonders of the world in Portugal! With Rich & Tone Talauega choreographing. I mean just the best! Lots of work was put into this performance. A lot of rehearsals a lot of great dancers! So thankful. Another great one with Jennifer Lopez was doing the “I luh ya papi” video! I mean that was a freaking cute experience, honey! Thank you, mama! 😘😘 Top of the line everything! And then what made it 100 times better was working together with one of my best friends Danielle Polanco! Miss extraordinaire! One of the dopest friends I know and one of the dopest female dancers I know! Jennifer had us acting, dancing and laughing! Reading lines and letting us be us in between! She coached us in between which I loved and appreciated! Just so much to say, but we will be here forever if I shared all my.
Ok ok, one last one. I remember being on tour with Neyo and on an off day, I went to the Beyonce audition for “put a ring on it” video! After a long audition process, I was a booked girl! It was Beyonce, Ashley Everette, and Myself. Went to all rehearsals learned everything. Had a few days before blocking for video. Went to do a tour date with Neyo’s camp and my flight to go back and make it in time for blocking was delayed then canceled. I was devastated. Frank Gatson would always remind me and share the story at an audition. I would cringe just knowing I missed that experience. But I have shared the stage with her on the VMA’s, Billboards, Oprah Winfrey 25th spectacular, Jay Z tour date just to name a few. She works hard and that inspires me. I am beyond Thankful.
Dance Mogul: Based on your experience now what would you tell your younger self?
Tenile Jimenez: Based on my experiences I would tell my younger self to love herself always! Make sure you train hard, keep creating. Study in all styles of dance that you may need or just have a connection to and study martial arts. Take acting lessons, singing lessons, invent something. Be a triple threat! This will open many doors, not just one. Stay spontaneous. Never stop writing. Stay confident, love yourself! Be wild! Take risk! Keep doing what you love! Be smart with the money you make! Invest in yourself. Own a business of your own through your brand which is that beautiful light of energy that you are! Never take anything for granted! Love others! Support them in their dreams! find other ways to stay inspired and passionate about what you do! You will make a great living and be happy! Secure your future! Save money! Dance just because you can!
Dance Mogul: What is it like dancing for major artists on a regular basis?
Tenile Jimenez: Dancing for major artists on a regular basis makes you feel great and sort after. Brings your net worth up. Other choreographers get to see what you do and want to work with you on other major projects like movies and tv shows etc. You never know where you might be and who you might be around that will just help get you to your next big break! And there are levels to this at the end of the day! It feels great when you dance for the greats of your time.
Dance Mogul: What was it like to perform at the 2016 VMAs?
Tenile Jimenez: It was awesome to perform at the 2016 VMAs in my home town NYC! I was happy to be dancing for someone I have yet to dance for, Nick Jonas! Thank you to choreographer Danielle Flora for the opportunity! It was a fun experience dancing on top of the fire truck and having a little acting role! Carrying two heavy trays with lots of food on them! I have never done that lol! But I was on point!
Dance Mogul: Where do you see your dance brand in the next 10yrs and how would you like to help empower the dance community?
Tenile Jimenez: I see my dance brand in the next 10 years being huge and inspiring! Owning my successful clothing line made from a dancer for everyone that loves to dance. Own a dance studio that I can build from the ground up. I want to design it myself. Have a place that dancers can exercise their other hidden talents! Owning a property where you can do it all. Take dance class, learn about the body and building muscles, stretching, create longevity in your dance career and much more. Help dancers understand the importance of the money they make. Just feed wisdom. Show how you can make a real career out of doing what you love!
Dance Mogul: What advice do you have for the younger generation of dancers?
Tenile Jimenez: My advice to all the young dancers coming up is to read everything I just wrote hahahhaha. Don’t take anything for granted, work hard. Train harder. Promote yourself. Invest in yourself. Build your brand. Know the history of dancers that paved the way and the culture so it’s not just choreography to you!
Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you would like to thank?
Tenile Jimenez: I would like to thank my parents for believing in me and supporting my dreams! Allowing me to travel at a young age and giving me the chance to be responsible! I want to thank my friends for pushing me and themselves which in tune inspired me to be a better dancer and performer and businesswoman. I would like to thank all the choreographers and artist that believed in me and thought I was dope and had something amazing to bring to each job and performance!