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Conversations with Manual Harvey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Manual Harvey. Them and their team share their story with us below:

The iPush Workshop Series was created in November 2011 by our company director, Manual “Lukky” Harvey. He was a street dancer who was transitioning and learning more about the dance industry and dance studio world and saw somewhat of a void of offering industry training to dancers who desired to train on a higher or more intense level than what their home studio may have offered.

Oftentimes, dancers had to travel to conventions, which could cost a couple of hundred bucks each, and not every dancer could afford to do that, including many of the young dancers around his community. So he planned a dance battle and workshop event and flew in guest teachers from Los Angeles, CA, and had them teach and speak to local dancers about their experiences and the dance industry, and more.

It was a more personal experience for local dancers because the teachers weren’t up on a stage and just “doing their job”, they were at a local studio and teaching and speaking life into a handful of hungry dancers. The one event sparked all of what iPush is today.

We host monthly and bi-monthly workshops and fly-in guest educators from all over the country and have even had an international guest as well and we have the honor and opportunity to impact dancers all across the country and internationally as well.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
A smooth road?!?!? Absolutely Not! Lol.

I remember after that first workshop, and seeing the wonderful turnout of dancers we had, I told myself that I have to do this again. Seeing and feeling the excitement and energy from the dancers that attended and received so much positive feedback, I just knew that every dance workshop would be like the first one, but boy was I wrong.

Now, before I get into some of the struggles, I should let you know that every teacher that we flew has costs. We not only took care of airfare and hotel, but they also have to have their daily meals and pay for their work. On top of that, studio rental fees, rental cars, and other miscellaneous needs add up. Now, there were times when we would fly in a guest or two, for one of our workshop events and would have such a good response, on social media, but when the event actually took place, sometimes there would be 4 or 5 people that actually show up, and regardless of the number of attendees, everything still had to be paid.

And so I would often times have to come out of pocket or get small loans to make sure things were paid and it was exhausting. But no matter how bad it seemed, I couldn’t stop having these events. Just seeing one dancer inspired by these workshops was motivation enough for me to keep going. It’s easy to give up on something when it’s just for fun, or just to make some money but this is embedded in my DNA and even when I was going broke to have these events, I couldn’t stop doing them.

Even aside from the financial burdens that came with growing iPush, I personally have been talked about and lied about by friends and foes, stolen from, and so much more but again, this isn’t about me and never has been. I am seen as a competition to some of the “friends” who have similar events as iPush but it’s never been that for me. And even with growing iPush, I have always supported those who are also building and giving to our youth, through dance.

I love investing in and building up our youth and it’s what fuels me daily to keep going and growing.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
The iPush Workshop Series, or better known to most as “iPush” is made up of 2 entities. One side is our “Workshop Program” in which we bring in artists and educators, of the dance, from all over the country to share their gifts and talents with our local community of dancers.

The other side is our training and performance company, iPush “theCOMPANY”, in which we train dancers who desire to potentially have a career in the dance industry. We have bi-weekly training sessions for our company members and often attend other dance conventions that specialize in growing and building dancers for the industry.

We are known for being one of Kansas City’s premier hubs for industry training. We have brought some of the most sought-after dance teachers and educators from around the world and have had several 1000s of dancers attend our events. We have entered our 10th year of operating and it has been quite a journey but a blessing nonetheless.

Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
For someone looking for a mentor, I would say you want to find someone who has somewhat been where you are desiring to be. They may not necessarily be in the same field of interest as you, but being able to see where they are currently in their life/career and seeing that they overcame obstacles they faced.

Something I’ve learned about networking and growing my own business is that people love working with people who they can see are consistent and hardworking. I’ve made it my own responsibility to stay busy but to also make sure that when I am seen by others, that they see me continually working and growing what I have worked for.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Tyrell Griffin, Katie Rich, Joslyn Snead, and Sydney Jackson

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