We had the good fortune of connecting with Sony Laventure and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sony, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
As creatives or entrepreneurs, we find it fulfilling to know that we can play role in solving world problems or changing the way the world thinks through our God-given talents. But the truth of our journey is revealed through trials. It’s time to give up when you are no longer able to bare the cons, the bad feedback, and the daily routines that come with doing what you do.

But you keep going when despite. everything, you are still willing to keep going. Failing for you is just another opportunity to do it better next time. When work is no longer labor but an opportunity to share your gifts with the world, you should keep going.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My name is Sony Laventure. I’m a business entrepreneur with a passion for dance. As a Konpa Dance Activist, I aim to bring light to Haiti’s culture through dance.

My story began at the University of Florida where I was very active as a dancer. While my degree was in Digital Arts and Sciences, I decided to get a minor in dance to better my understanding of the dance world in its entirety.

I was the Konpa dance director of my student organization called Club Creole. At a point, I was tasked by the student president to showcase Haiti’s social dance at a multi-cultural showcase event.

I remember searching the internet for a better representation of our pop-cultural dance for inspiration but could not find any. It was then that I started my journey of uncovering and publicizing the dance art that represents Haiti’s 70plus-year-old music genre.

Since there was almost no representation of Haiti’s pop-cultural dance on the internet, in 2009 I started KOTR (Konpa on the Rise). It was a dance movement focused around popularizing Konpa dance within the Haitian community and to neighboring couple-style dance communities like Kizomba, Salsa, and Bachata/Merenge.

After investing a lot of time in traveling to learn the dance and music art from professional dancers and musicians in Germany, Paris, Montreal, New York, Boston, and Haiti, I decided to build a dance company area the idea of solving one major program in the Haitian Music Industry. I wanted to give an authentic face to the dance style and make it a valuable asset for celebrity musicians who had access to all Konpa fanatics globally.

Our movement didn’t become popular and recognized until 2017. It was at this time I started teaching Konpa dance throughout the US and overseas, I built a dance team/peformers, I was head konpa dance choreographer of the Haitian music awards, and I brought Konpa Dancing to the biggest crowd in the Haitian cultural which was Compas Fest in Bayfront park Miami.

KOTR gave the average konpa fanatic the confidence to make dance videos and post on social media, it allowed non-Haitians the ability to really enjoy Haitian music, it opened the door for economic growth, and I’ve used it as a youth development tool in schools.

The conversation of Konpa dancing was becoming a topic. This lead to 2019 where I opened a headquarters location in Little Haiti Miami called Konpa Dance Studio. A studio dedicated to teaching Konpa to children, adults, and youth. A place for tourists and locals looking to learn about the art style. It was also a hub for supplying dance professionals to perform in Music videos, weddings or private ceremonies, and community events.

As of today, KOTR has been successful in provoking proactive dancing in the nightlife. While clubs are wonderful outlets for socializing, not many people are okay with standing in long lines for hours and being in a crowded environment with lots of smoking and drinking. Connecting with local restaurants and minibars has allowed us to create a culture to open floor proactive dancing. One can choose a night out to dance, dine, and drink in a safe and fun environment. This in turn has created the demand for more lessons.

This leads us to wonder cities like Orlando where we can continue the culture, the movement. I partner with nearby influencers among local business chambers, dance studios, universities/schools, and restaurants to encourage opportunities.

Through this all, I get to see the dance culture of my country get proper representation. Haiti has been undergoing a lot of turmoil and destruction but outlets like these will continue to showcase the beauty of Haiti.

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.
– We would definitely enjoy some good Haitian food at Cuisine Lakay. – We would hang out most of the day at the Little Haiti Cultural Center to watch live bands, shop from the local vendors and look at the beautiful paintings in their showroom
– We end the evening with some fun times on the Miami beach strip near the beach.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would like to shout out the Little Haiti Cultural Center of Miami, with 3 specific people in mind. Abraham, a past director of the center. Sandy and Sandra, current directors and staff at the center.

If not for their support, I would not have been able to have the courage and support to purchase and maintain my own space to run my business as a dance choreographer and instructor.

Website: http://wikotr.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/wikotr/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wikotr1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wikotr1/

Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/kotr-dance-studio-miami

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4vSrO4vomFk6PNtEqNRjWA

Other: https://store.wikotr.com/

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