My journey started when I was 19 years old. I was hired by the Attorney General’s Office of British Columbia and spent two years travelling the province; speaking to youths from 5-18 about racism and violence. I might be speaking to 60 kindergarten students in the morning and 4 at-risk teenagers (in a youth detention centre) in the afternoon. It was here where I discovered my first insight: People learn best by doing. In every situation we saw an increase in attention, energy and retention when we had volunteers! That is why my workshops are always highly interactive involving individual, partner and group work.
While at the Desautels School of Management at McGill I was selected as one of the top 4 students in the program and as such travelled nationally and internationally representing the university in case competitions . From Copenhagen, to Dallas to Singapore this is where I had my second insight: Your presentation starts before you say a word. How much communication is supposed to be non-verbal? We make decisions in fractions of seconds based on what we see and we rarely remember what people say but we will always have an opinion about the speaker.
Before I graduated professors started asking me if I might teach their students how to present. That is when my love of teaching was born, but it was to take a back seat as I entered the corporate world.
I also turned a love for dancing into my first business. A dance academy which at it’s peak had 4 locations. It was here that I started experimenting with teaching techniques and discovering that so much of what is taught doesn’t work!
Fun facts about Ivan-
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people, dance, salsa, congress, sonia, dolly parton, life, teach, mc, friends, emcee, big, public speaking, person, day, social, shit, talk, feel, pay
Voiceover, Sonia Kyriacou, Ivan Ruiz
Welcome to the Choreograph Your life Podcast, where we dig deep into the journey of people's pursuit of their passion for dance. Join us as our host and guests discuss their dance journeys, the business of dance, obstacles they face, and even lessons learned along the way. Now, here's your host, Sonia Kyriacou.
Sonia Kyriacou 00:31
Hey guys, welcome back to my podcast. Today's guest is a public speaker. He's an MC festival organizer, author, dance teacher and he's even an actor please welcome Ivan Wanis Ruiz!
Ivan Ruiz 00:45
What's up? motherfuckers
Sonia Kyriacou 00:48
How's it going? How's it going?
Ivan Ruiz 00:50
I'm good. I'm good. Thank you so much for having me on the show. I'm very excited. I love the name and by the way when I when I searched your podcast first thing that popped up under choreograph I thought it was going to be something like dance stuff but you're the first thing that popped up
Sonia Kyriacou 01:04
Yay This is awesome news!
Ivan Ruiz 01:06
Way to go SEO!
Sonia Kyriacou 01:08
Thank you so much for joining me today and I have so much stuff to talk to you about like I'm not sure we're gonna have enough time but here we go
Ivan Ruiz 01:16
Part one if the people demanded I will come back for part two!
Sonia Kyriacou 01:21
Yep, there's always a part two possibility. So the first thing is I want to tell people how I met you...
Ivan Ruiz 01:29
Dark and stormy night.
Sonia Kyriacou 01:32
So first of all, I know you're in the Toronto dance scene, but officially officially I first got to kind of get to know you. Because you gave me a call one day and you asked me to, to, to emcee with you at the Panam games and and that was probably the most nerve wracking thing I've ever done in my entire life. But thanks to you
Ivan Ruiz 01:53
You rose to the occasion.
Sonia Kyriacou 01:55
Thank you so much. Thank you so much. And you also coached me through it which was awesome.
Ivan Ruiz 02:00
For the listening audience that doesn't know in 2015 the Pan Am Games were in Toronto and the Pan Am Games are the Olympics for North and South America. And because they were doing in Toronto, they were doing this thing all across Canada to promote it. And Sonia was there because in a lot of the we needed to have two MCs and in Montreal of course, why not have like someone who's like "vraiement Montreal la", right there. And so it was very nerve racking because like a person with a flame runs in. And it's an exact time. And then a person with the flame runs out at a very exact time. And you have to be there to manage that. So that's why it was so crazy.
Sonia Kyriacou 02:43
Slash you're also receiving messages in your ear as you're speaking.
Ivan Ruiz 02:49
Oh, yeah. There's someone talking like wait 30 more seconds? Nope, cancel that five seconds go. Okay, keep it going long.
Sonia Kyriacou 02:55
Oh, right. So I was having this like, I thought I was a multitasker until then. Then I'm like, I don't know if I could speak and listen, at the same time. This is really hard. But it was an amazing, amazing, amazing experience. And thank you again for recommending me for that.
Ivan Ruiz 03:12
So that's how we met...in 2015.
Sonia Kyriacou 03:13
yep, that's officially how we actually got to know each other. And then I started seeing you more often. Because because of the fact that you are an MC. I saw you in the Toronto and the Canada salsa Congress multiple times emceeing on the stage. And I have to tell my listeners, when you see Ivan on the stage...
Ivan Ruiz 03:35
I'm way better looking.
Sonia Kyriacou 03:36
Oh stop! My voice if you think my voice sounds sexy now? You're a gorgeous man. He captures the audience. He everybody is listening. Like you just turn your head to the left or to the right. And you'll see that the entire audience is paying attention. They're not on their phones, texting, they're listening to you, and you have this awesome charm. And you have this way of kind of keeping everyone's attention. Talk to me about that. I know that you're you're, you're you want to "end boring" and that's been one of your missions.
Ivan Ruiz 04:08
That's my tagline. If you if you hashtag you'd looked at on Instagram to go hashtag and boring. I literally put I'm trying to like, own that hashtag. Well, here's the thing that about emceeing that I that I my mentality towards it. And certainly there's other people who do very well that have different mentalities toward it. And but for me, like a good emcee, you enjoying the moment, but it's not the show, because you wanted to be there not just to entertain the crowd in between, but to highlight what's going to be performing. You know what I mean, because the emcee you got to kind of, you have to be prominent, but also forgettable. So one of the things that I really love to do as an emcee is and this is the big difference between me and other people. Most MCs will try and use their energy to bring the crowd up like if I have to be like 1,000% 1,000% 1,000% to bring everyone up constantly doing it. And so sometimes it seems a little forced right? Number one MC says Come on, make some noise Come on. Like that's all they do, right? And no matter how loud you clap, how loud you clap, look, come on, you can do better than that, that's 9.9, but 99 of every MC. Instead of that, I like to make the crowd do things. Because nothing I do will be as fun as like, highlighting people in the room and saying, what were you doing? Everybody looked at this dude. And then that is so entertaining, bringing so I love interacting and bringing people on stage, because that will make more entertainment than anything I could do by myself.
Sonia Kyriacou 05:33
Yeah, I mean, I love it, you use comedy, you use also, I noticed that you use different, you know, tones of voice, like sometimes you'll go really serious. And then other times, you'll start, you know, speaking at a higher tonality. And this this fluctuation, also, I believe, you know, keeps people entertained and interested. And you do a great job at anchor, you know, keeping it, weaving into one show and the other and you also feed off of what just happened on the stage. Like, if there was a, something that naturally happened on stage, you'll find a way to bring it up to, to, you know, to state the obvious, you know, to mention like the elephant in the room, like someone lost her shoe as they were performing or, you know, something of the sort. You're wonderful at that. And I really enjoy that. The biggest crowd you've spoken in front of was 30,000 people where was this?
Ivan Ruiz 06:23
That was um, so after the torch relay at the Pan Am Games, I was like the in house animation host for the soccer tournament.
Sonia Kyriacou 06:33
This is where?
Ivan Ruiz 06:34
this is this is in. This is in in Hamilton, which is just like an hour and a half outside of Toronto. And the stadium was a brand new stadium that holds about 30,000 people. And so during the games, like you want to talk about stressful moments on it. I want everyone listeners, I want you to imagine this for a minute. Okay. So imagine a 30,000 person Stadium, you know, like, what's the big one in Montreal here? It's like the Air Canada center or something like that.
Sonia Kyriacou 07:01
We have the Bell Center.
Ivan Ruiz 07:02
Yeah, like the bell center. Sure. So like 30,000 people. And it's just me, it's me and a camera guy. So you can see me on the jumbotron. And in my head, it's like, you need to kill 10 minutes. And and it's literally just me, like and it's like that's it. We can't we got an emergency kill 10 minutes. And it's just me on a field with like, 15,000 people here and 15,000 people there on both sides of me. Yeah. And I just got to, and that was a that was a during like the semi finals. It was like Columbia versus Brazil. And so it was packed and people were losing their minds. And that was probably one of the most stressful moments I've ever had as an emcee.
Sonia Kyriacou 07:44
That is awesome. I would love to see is that recorded somewhere? Can we go see?
Ivan Ruiz 07:49
I would have loved because I think I killed it. Like I think I literally did what I always say. So I talked to the crowd, and I made a cheer off. First I did a cheer off between all the Colombians versus the Brazilians. And but there was like, it was two thirds Colombians. And but then I did side versus side. But then here's the best part I got into here. And I saw one person who was losing their mind and I did the thing. I went and talked to that one person and I was like you up there. Like, no, you that guy, that guy right there. Let's get the jumbotron on him and my camera guy kind of zoomed in on him. And then I made him like the example that everyone has to live up to. And I made him do a little dance. And then I made the whole crowd do the same dance and it killed and in my head I'm like, in my head. I'm like Jesus fucking Christ. It's been 10 minutes But outside it's just like, I could be here all day. And inside you're like goddamn fucking what I put myself through this kind of fucking
Sonia Kyriacou 08:46
what an MC says behind you know, in their in their head.
Ivan Ruiz 08:51
All the time all the time really quick. I can't believe
Sonia Kyriacou 08:54
that you're capable of having two conversations. The public one and the private one.
Ivan Ruiz 08:57
Yeah. It happens all the time. You go in front of the stage. Everything's great backstage. It's like not always, not always.
Sonia Kyriacou 09:05
Yeah, but it happens.
Ivan Ruiz 09:06
Of course. Yeah.
Sonia Kyriacou 09:07
It happens. And so tell me a little bit about what got you involved in the dance scene. Like when when did you start dancing slash teaching. Tell us about your dance.
Ivan Ruiz 09:17
Her name was Rosario. Yo, when I was younger, I was a B boy, which is like, like a breakdancer and that kind of stuff. But the thing about being a breakdancer is that it's most of the people in it are like super socially awkward, a lot of socially awkward guys. And it's just guys like hanging out by themselves. Like Like in and all the B boy practices are just like in a corner somewhere or like a gymnasium. And after a while it's like you know what I would I want to meet girls. And when I was I also after I graduated University. I worked in Club Med and my break was always during the dance lessons. So I started just always showing up to be like an extra leader, you know, and I started learning how to dance like Salsa and Merengue, but he was the first thing I learned because I was working in Dominican. I just, I just, I just loved it, man. I just I love doing it. And then when I came back to Canada, I took classes in that kind of thing. But the thing that really got me into it, is that salsa, like the salsa scenes or salsa, bachata, that kind of stuff, not Latin nights, because those are different. Most Salsa. And I don't know if you all talk about this, but most salsa nights, it's like, maybe half Latino, maybe. But it's not really a Latino thing, right? Like more than half the people show up to a salsa dance outside, which I have no idea what the music's about, for example. But it was the fact that it's socially acceptable to go alone. That was the big one. Because so often in life, you know, people are like, oh, let's go for dinner, or let's go out to the club. Like, you can't go to a normal club alone. You'd be like, you'd feel like a loser and you'd feel uncomfortable. It's a it's a social pressure thing. But salsa, it's not only awesome, like it's acceptable. It's most people show up alone. And it's weird to not try and dance with as many people as possible, like, it's normal to go up and just ask strangers to dance. And that vibe, was what really got me hooked, because it gave me an amazing social outlet. That wasn't just going to the bar and having a drink. That's cool. But as you get older, like, you know, oh my god, you have to play the music so loud. Oh, my God, look at all these. Yeah, but you know, I could go and do salsa and it gave me stuff to do on like a Friday night or Saturday night. That was like that going out vibe, but was a bit more healthy and a bit more fun and less to do about getting drunk?
Sonia Kyriacou 11:39
Yeah, and it's a quickest way to get to know people, right? You take them into your arms and you're sharing this dance and all of a sudden you become friends. You know, it's cool.
Ivan Ruiz 11:48
You know, there's so many people and I'm think anyone who dances can empathize, and not just salsa, but if you're in any kind of partner dancing like West Coast, Tango. There's so many people who I feel like I'm connected I'm friends with, but I couldn't tell you their names to save my life. Because I've never asked, like, I have no idea who they are. You know, right.
Sonia Kyriacou 12:05
That's okay. It's just a label.
Ivan Ruiz 12:06
You ever bumped into someone from the salsa scene in like your normal life? And you're not sure if you should even say hello, Has that ever happened to you?
Sonia Kyriacou 12:13
Oh, tons of times.
Ivan Ruiz 12:14
And I'm always like, really? Should I say hi? Should I not say hi, when I know hey,
Sonia Kyriacou 12:17
I usually do say hi, but don't ask me to remember their names. Unfortunately, I have to always ask them like, I'm sorry, can you tell me your name again? Because they remember their teacher. Right? They remember who their teacher is example. In my situations.
Ivan Ruiz 12:30
Mostly everyone always remembers you as their teacher,
Sonia Kyriacou 12:32
right? Because they're like, oh, Sonia, and I'm like, Damn, I can't remember. But But I think that's kind of okay, because it's tougher for the teacher to remember everyone's name.
Ivan Ruiz 12:42
Yeah, I don't think anyone will blame you for not remembering wasn't I just not whenever I bump into anyone now? I just pretend like oh my god, Hey, how's it going? I'm just fully that person now cuz I don't want anyone to feel. Oh, I have a good Dolly Parton story. I know it's not related. But this is a really interesting story for any of you that are getting a big head. And I wish more of the salsa performer. People would maybe remember this kind of stuff, or any person who has even a little bit of celebrity. And so my friend is back. She's a salsa dancer, but she's also a singer. And she was backup vocals on a dolly parton album. And she was telling me when they were working in the studio, you know, it's not public facing right. So you just people just show up, they're ready to work. Except for Dolly Parton who showed up as Dolly fucking motherfucking pardon every cent like the hair, the outfits full makeup. She made sandwiches for people every single day. Like she would show us like, Hey, y'all, I made some sandwiches like she did it for him. And one day on their break. You know, my friend is walking outside and Dolly Parton is in her car. She's got like this big fancy car, and she's doing her makeup. And my friend goes up to her like, She's like, Oh, hey, come on over, because Dolly Parton is like very approachable and friendly. And she got to talk to you like, Why are you always doing like, we're not we're just in the studio. And she said, I'm going to do my Dolly Parton and French she's like, you know, darlin, this is today. This is just a day for me. But if I meet a fan, this is going to be the day they meet Dolly Parton. And they I want to make sure that they get the Dolly Parton that they were hoping for. I don't want them to see just little old Dolly with no makeup. So I'm always ready in case I ever see a fan because I want it to be that special moment that they wanted to be. And I was like Dolly Parton? President Bach, right? Like oh, my friend told me that I was like, Oh, I started listening to Dolly Parton more Oh, and
Sonia Kyriacou 14:35
now I'm gonna do the same. That's a wonderful story.
Ivan Ruiz 14:40
Isn't that amazing story like that she could be the greatest human being
Sonia Kyriacou 14:44
Yeah, I think that there's this level of celebrity that happens you know, there's like when you first start getting that attention and you think you're a celebrity, you don't know how to handle it and some people get a little snobby or they feel like they have to change their behavior but Then you get to the Dolly Parton level and you realize you're not that I don't know her journey, but I'm saying like, you can only get there. If you're humble, in my opinion, I think that you can stay there. Because you're humble. I mean, how long has she been in the industry? And that's got to have something to do with how she treats herself and people, right?
Ivan Ruiz 15:17
Absolutely. Yeah. You know, my other walk of life, as you mentioned, like kind of like my main gig is that has been evolving as I teach communication skills. And I have a couple of courses online that have blown up like the Coursera course, has 130,000 people who are taking it right now.
Sonia Kyriacou 15:33
That's incredible. Yeah, there's UDEMY with over 50,000 students. I mean, that's like,
Ivan Ruiz 15:38
yeah, so those those between those two things, I have a lot of kind of, like incoming thing, every now and then I get someone who might recognize me from like, Designated Survivor, or some stupid thing like that the acting thing, but really, when anyone connects with me on LinkedIn, and I get like, just from the courses, you know what I mean? Like daily, just dozens and dozens of people, like everyday just like reaching out to connect with me. I will not just accept any friend requests. I always and sometimes it takes me hours. But I always send a little voice message saying, Hey, how are you? So and so thank you so much for connecting, man, I appreciate it. And the amount of time people get like, I can't believe you even acknowledged me, I can't believe you even wrote me back. Like, it's just, I don't know, I think it's a nice little touch. Because once when you have a little bit of stature, meeting people on a daily basis is is is gonna be like normal for you. But for them. that's a that's a unique moment. You're right. Like, you go to a salsa Congress, and every weekend and you're just like you're you go there all the time. And because you're doing you're one of those few celebs that is always at a Congress, it's very easy to forget that when one person asked you to dance and you say no, or like when people are like wanting to like See you in the corner, and you're just hanging out with the other salsa celebs, right, it's very easy to forget that, although this is normal for you, for those participants, this is like they were this was months of excitement, to either see you or be in this environment. And it's hard not to it's easy to forget that and I wish more people would remember that. Hmm,
Sonia Kyriacou 17:08
you bring up you bring up a subject that is interesting, because recently, maybe was it pre pandemic, I can't remember exactly when this happened. But there were artists of voicing on social media, how they didn't feel it was a fair expectation for them to be available or at the students or clients which are whatever you want to call them at festivals disposal to dance with or to talk to, they felt like that wasn't why they were there. And that it would take their time and energy and then they wouldn't be able to properly perform or teach. What do you think of that?
Ivan Ruiz 17:47
It's a tough call. Because you know, you can empathize with that, right? You can empathize with the fact that like my passion, you want to have limits to where you your personal life ends and the other begins. And I think about it in a few ways. Number one, I think about like if I was ever like an A list celebrity, like a Tom Cruise, for example, you know, where Sylvester Stallone, for example, if I was ever celebrity like that, I would need to have boundaries, because there's so many people that want to come see you at a constant basis. But I would need to balance that because I did meet some Sylvester Stallone in a professional when I was working in hotel like 25 years ago, and he was a dick. And I've never forgotten it. And I've never gone to watch a movie of his since. Oh, okay, because I'm like, yo, the reason you're famous is because of me. times 1000 for sure, not individually, but me as the as the audience within the world of like salsa and stuff like that, that is a much smaller, kind of like very niche kind of environment. Totally, individuals are more important because the hardcores are the ones that pull out pay the most money, the casual salsa dancer does not pay for the VIP pass. True. And if you want to make this your profession, then that weekend, you're working. Correct? I personally think so. And you That doesn't mean you have to make yourself available 100% of the time, but you got five other days where you're not doing any of this stuff. And these people are the people who will pay for privates who will want to see you again. And I've seen both examples. You have definitely seen both examples, right? I will tell you, there's a few people who like when I organized the salsa Congress in 2010 in Vancouver, there's a few people who were so great that I still think about it, like I still think about them and I was like because they made that event special for me. You know what I mean? And there's a few who I will end on where I won't name them who were such negative experiences. When I was going to congresses that even when they approached us to be at our congress I was it was just like a hard no For me it was just like I'm not even going to reply back to this person. You can do it but it's a hard No. Ever never to this day. There's a few that trick you can tell I'm triggered because He was so negative and so unpleasant to be around. I was like why are you even doing this as a job then?
Sonia Kyriacou 20:05
So there's something to be said I think about what we do as dancers You know, there's this exchange of energy right? Even if we're not speaking to each other and you're walking through the room across the dance floor, there's this energy that comes off of you...
Ivan Ruiz 20:21
approachable versus non approachable energy
Sonia Kyriacou 20:23
Yeah, yeah, so it's energetic and because it's energetic, I think this is where there could be some miscommunications. I do I do understand like you said, I can empathize with you need a moment for yourself you know, you've been dancing and teaching maybe all day you're physically exhausted. You want to you know, maybe spend a certain amount of time with your public or your fans but then you need to go rich, you know, recharge, I think that's understandable. Right?
Ivan Ruiz 20:50
Sonia Kyriacou 20:51
But I don't I also, I am not of the mind of you know, it's not part of my job. This I felt was a bit uncalled for because then you know, the the fest the structure of the Congress itself was built around that, that is the formula
Ivan Ruiz 21:09
it's like, if you're there just to perform your I mean, that it's probably going to happen when someone just because you made it, you might have won a, like a competition. rate. You want to competition. 10 years later, if you're a dick. No one's gonna want you back. I will, I'll get I'm gonna let me let's do names, man. I'm gonna throw.
Sonia Kyriacou 21:28
No, no, no, no, no names.
Ivan Ruiz 21:31
You bleep me out later. I don't care. Listen, listen, I don't care. I'm gonna bleep out good. Okay, this was a give you a positive experience. Okay. I was at the Calgary salsa Congress with and it was okay. I had an okay time. Not because of the comic stuff. I was just having an okay time. Okay. I was having an okay time, the Congress was great. But I remember Jr. and Emily. And, and they were so nice. They were so nice. And even, like, at that night, I was like, I spent like an hour and a half, like trying to like, jump in there to dance with Emily. Like, just just trying to get in there. You know, right. And by the time I finally did, because it was a lot of demand. She was like, Listen, you know, dude, like, I would love to I remember you from our class earlier today. I have just not had a break. Like, I've danced like 15 songs. She's like, Can Can we maybe like raincheck till tomorrow or something? And I was like, You know what, I get it. Thank you. But she was so nice about it. And but and then she was like, but how are you doing? How are you? Are you having a good? Like, she talked to me for like, maybe 10 or 15 seconds. And jr was the same way. Like, cuz he walked in? He's like, Oh, hey, oh, yeah, I remember you. How's it going, man? And sure they were distracted, because they were like, everyone wanted to talk to them. And they had like that celebrity vibe. And at that moment, but they took a few like, 10 to 15 seconds. And I still think about that. And that was over 10 years ago. Yeah, that was a nice experience. And that was them balancing it, you know?
Sonia Kyriacou 22:54
Yeah. And, and they've also been guests at my event. Yeah, they've also been on my, on my podcast, and they are there. They're good. People's, you know, their vibe is is very positive and very happy and very, and yeah, that sounds like the best way. I mean, if you have to bow out of something, you know.... Just do it classy, you know, just be nice, right?
Ivan Ruiz 23:18
Or even, you know, even like maybe talk, talk to the organizer. I'm sure that you've had to have those conversations. I will say though, like if I if we're really honest, if we're really honest. Okay, here's the thing for the Congress participant. There's a few reasons you go to Congress, it's okay, as a congress participant. Number one is to support your friends and performances. And you know, that's part of the business model of creating a salsa Congress, right? Is it always the most entertaining? No, because guess what, you're gonna have those groups that have like been dancing for six months. You know what I mean? But this is their moment to shine, and you go and you support your friends, bravo. Good for you. Good. The second big turn on for people going to salsa congresses. I would say probably the number one reason is to go and dance dance with people. You've never danced before, like dancing people all over the place. You know what I mean? The third reason is probably for the shows. And so that experience of social dancing is so important for the behavior that I think even if you are a performer, you're teaching workshops, actually, maybe workshops slash dancing with people would be like the first reason Yeah, yeah. Both of those involve first contact with people. For a lot of us shows are secondary participants. You know, there's a lot of participants that are like, we'll go up to the room for half the shows, come back down, go back up to the room, go back down. You know what I mean? That's part of the if we're honest, right. So it's that it's not about the performances for the participants who are paying the money.
Sonia Kyriacou 24:49
You know, the other part? Yeah. Yeah.
Ivan Ruiz 24:53
I may be wrong, and if I'm wrong, I invite everyone who's listening to keep their opinions to themselves. Just know Do you know what like angry comments dude right angry comments? I'll answer you... write angry comments, Salseroruiz on Instagram!
Sonia Kyriacou 25:08
there you go ,there you go I think I think you're right in the sense that there's different different strokes for different folks everybody goes for different reasons I mean I've had participants go to my event because they just want to see their shows they don't they don't do anything by okay fair watch the show on leave there's others that just come to the socials there's others that just want to do workshops I think it's I think that's the beauty of the formula is you know, you choose what works for you you know, no one's obligating you to do the whole thing you do what works for you and
Ivan Ruiz 25:39
you also Congress you have more of I'll just On a final note Yeah, daytime dancing
Sonia Kyriacou 25:46
when people when people are not drunk
Ivan Ruiz 25:49
well this is the thing I would actually for listeners I would love this is a serious note I would love your opinion on this because as someone who would like when I first went to Congress i was i was like the first five or six Congress's you I wanted to social dance a little bit during the day. I didn't want to just take classes Hmm. Because you know, I was like, honestly, what if there was a one hour social during the lunch break? That was just about some dancing or just like an organized site? There's no workshops. Let's just dance. Let's learn everything you did for the last three hours. I didn't like sometimes I don't want to wait till one in the morning to dance. That's cool. I'm 43 years old homie you know I like sometimes I want to dance at like four o'clock what like if it's a dance Congress Why is there only dancing at the end? I don't know. opinions that would be a very we should do a poll that's interesting because no one does it it's always the same model workshops from like 10am to 5pm then free time show started at 830 they go to like midnight you clear out the room show so dancing from one to four in the morning. They're right every Congress
Sonia Kyriacou 27:02
I think the venue has a lot to do with that as well here's your point or event if you're somewhere that you have access to this space during the day I'm pretty sure people would put it in and I know that example Miami salsa Congress and these places they have social dance all day long. by the pool
Ivan Ruiz 27:20
love it and I bet you that's probably the most crowded part of the Congress
Sonia Kyriacou 27:24
I don't know maybe like I was fine I remember it's been two years even I haven't been anywhere next Montreal
Ivan Ruiz 27:30
Congress we should do like an afternoon sanka set that's what you do bars open at noon workshops start at 7pm like let's do that let's one night only like what like on a Sunday let everyone wake up late let's fucking let's party let's like Don't you love to day drink I love day drinking!
Sonia Kyriacou 27:50
Like Like I'm by the pool Yes.
Ivan Ruiz 27:53
And like like 11 to four o'clock that's when I want to party socialize, it's like all the things are they want that in that bubble? Not necessarily in that order. The Congress just saying
Sonia Kyriacou 28:05
yeah, you know, you remind me of one year that we did Monday because our weekend traditionally is on a long weekend in Canada. Yeah. And on the Monday we had this rooftop pool oh my god last social slash people swimming and drinking that had to be the best day of my event ever. I can't remember what year it was. But it was just fantastical I was I was exhausted I had slept two hours I was there and I was like, you know that mumbling you do behind your breath as an emcee I was like freaking around you know I was so tired I was like why did I do this? But it ended up being probably the best way to end the Congress it was I loved it I loved it it's it's it's a great thing to dance you know guys daytime nighttime anytime let's just dance
Ivan Ruiz 28:54
you know my highlight of the no I'm not leaving you. I see you looking at your notes like okay, let's move on. The highlight of so many people's salsa experiences is usually these moments in between the classes and the shows and the dancing. Again, it's that social experience that that sounds magical to me. It made me think when the first year I went to the Seattle salsa Congress. There was an it's in November. It's freezing. It's free. It's like it was like three degrees outside but the outdoor hot tub was open and it could fit like 25 people. I swear I spent like I don't even really like Dude, it's almost midnight. Like what? We people were coming in and out. I had the best time there for the next two or three years. That was Vancouver as a group goes to the Seattle Congress. It's a big part of the Congress. Everyone from Vancouver is like Yo, how are we doing the hot tub thing again? Let's do the hot tub thing again. It was like the highlight of our congress experience
Sonia Kyriacou 29:43
you were like the frog in the hot water huh?
Ivan Ruiz 29:47
We were playing salsa music every now and then you get up and dance for 30 seconds. Oh my God my nips. And then you jump right back in. No, it was great. Love that.
Sonia Kyriacou 29:58
I'm having trouble focus. All right.
Ivan Ruiz 30:03
Audience members stop thinking about nips.
Sonia Kyriacou 30:05
Yeah. You just messed me up. You messed me up. Okay, so tell me about your book. What was so why become an author? Tell me what happened there?
Ivan Ruiz 30:12
Well, yeah, so here's what I teach, like what is called soft skills, right? And one of the biggest issues I have with soft skills is or teaching communication skills. There's a couple of things that I'm going to talk some trash right now. Okay, number one, a lot of people who teach public speaking aren't very good at it. Like, if you've ever sat down at a public speaking thing, it was a nice interest, quote, unquote, interesting, which is a euphemism for boring. I was it was really interesting. Yeah, it was really interesting. Come on, okay, you hooked up with someone, they told you. It was interesting. You'd be like, I have failed as a lover. You know what I mean? So the second frustration was, everyone teaches ideas. It's important to engage your audience, you know, you really want to hook them with something interesting. But no one gives you tactics to execute on those ideas. Okay, and the world is full of ideas. But very few people teach you how to get to that next step, how to actually practice it. And I believe that being like, charismatic is actually a series of physical actions you can practice. And I'm on a mission, dude, think about listeners, hey, hey, stop driving your car and doing dishes. Hey, listener, listen to me. Can you remember a time when you were in a meeting, and you weren't bored? About how much of your life has been lost? To sitting in something like, I don't even know what the fuck we talked about for the last 45 minutes, right? So I'm on a mission to end that in my world. I want to make it so people like oh, meeting time, I'm excited. And so I wrote this book. And it's not like a book you read from beginning to end. It's like a reference book full of tactics. It's actually called end boring a tactical approach to public speaking. Because instead of just saying, make an interesting opening, I'm like, okay, here's a strategy complete the sentence, I want you to do this question. Here's like a formula for a question that'll engage people, instead of saying have like, you know, communicate confidence by using effective gestures. I'm like, here are specific gestures you can use and here's the formula to practice them. So it's all like practical physical tips that you can use so the next time someone's like, Oh, you know what, I gotta present all these financials, but I don't know how to do it won't go into that section where I talk about what here's some here's like five different ways to communicate numbers in a way that's going to help people remember is it always going to be Superintendent notes financials, but this will make it less boring?
Sonia Kyriacou 32:44
Mm hmm. I love it. I love it and and
Ivan Ruiz 32:47
available at fine Amazon websites, internationally "End Boring" but "End Boring" a tactical approach to public.
Sonia Kyriacou 32:56
We're gonna do all our social handles and everything at the end for sure. Because I'm sure my listeners are like, man's this this guy. He's like, amazing. I need to follow him. I need to you know, find him on LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook, buy his book.
Ivan Ruiz 33:13
That's my you can find me everywhere public speaking lab. That's like the name of my company, public speaking lab. I experiment, experiment. I never, like when I do a session. It's, I never come in with packaged products. I'm like, Okay, everybody try this. And let's see what happens. That's the other way I work. I don't just give you ideas. I say try these things. Let's see if it works. And the best part is, if by if you teach tactics, if one tactic doesn't work, it doesn't matter. Because I'm going to teach you five others. You know what I mean? So it's like having a utility belt of tactics.
Sonia Kyriacou 33:46
Right? You're very interactive. You like to use all about interaction, the energy of the people you're you're coaching or entertaining at the time. Yeah. I love it. I love it. That's that's synergy. Love synergy. I love it.
Ivan Ruiz 34:02
Yeah. That's how I teach salsa, by the way, too. I'm super interactive. Like I'm super instead of like spending 10 minutes describing what the basic steps should look like. There's times and usually salsa teachers dance teachers experiment with this, because I've had varying results, but it's almost usually quite positive. Let them do it badly a bunch. Like I've walked into some beginner classes and I've taken like, Alright, everyone just follow what I'm doing. And I like like, not half time, not quarter time, like eighth time. Do you like the basic step like 123 super slow. And but I don't stop and talk I just say follow me keep following. Let's speed it up. Let's interact versus describe instead of telling people what to do, show them and let them follow you and it's been one of the best tactics I've found for teaching and everything. Interesting. Yeah. Also sick a lot of people. No one does that. At Congress's dude, the amount of times I have to I've been in a split I waited all day to take your dance class. You can't even like acknowledge people as you walk in. He said you got to walk in. Ignore them put on the music. Okay, everybody here we go.
Sonia Kyriacou 35:12
Right? Where is the hello. Right
Ivan Ruiz 35:16
at least buy me a drink before you bend me over.
Sonia Kyriacou 35:24
Seduce me a little Yeah.
Ivan Ruiz 35:26
Whisper some shit in my ear. Like, oh, yeah, they'll be like the Cubans do every time you meet it. I used to work in a resort in Cuba and it's like yeah, every week when new people came in "You know, I never met anybody like you before. You're so beautiful. everything out. No, no, no, I don't say this to nobody". Next week. "You know, you're so beautiful. No, I don't say this to nobody"
Sonia Kyriacou 35:45
Use a little charm. Use a little charm. So you seemingly have no negative. Sorry,
Ivan Ruiz 35:53
I got a lot of negetaive talk shit. Let's talk shit.
Sonia Kyriacou 35:56
Yeah, no, I was gonna say I was gonna say you seemingly have no side effects on you from just speaking to you. The pandemic doesn't seem to have affected you or did it? Like, can you tell us about that year and a half? Or how far along are we now?
Ivan Ruiz 36:12
Well, I'll tell you, Sonia, I'm a big believer in... And I struggle with this, because I like everyone else gets into down periods. But over the last like five or six years, if I forced myself to think about things as positives instead of negatives. So what happened during the like, so in March of 2020, all of my March, April, May, June, July, August, and then I had nothing after that all canceled. So all my clients that were no longer doing any training, everything is stopped. So I had six months of, I could have thought about, well, that's six months where I gotta figure out how to make money. And I thought, you know what, this is six months of free time, all the things I've been meaning to do. And that's when I made the Udemy courses. Wonderful. And that's when I started hiring assistants and experimenting, I started making salsa dance t shirts. available, I'll send you the handle...
Sonia Kyriacou 37:04
Oh, my God, we got to mention that too. Okay, t-shirts
Ivan Ruiz 37:07
I started, like, I hired like three assistants, and I took money out of my savings to pay them. Because I wanted to explore doing all that that's when I wrote my book at the same time. And you know, I hired one assistant, and I was like, your whole job is to figure out how to sell t shirts online and to teach me because I kept because it you know, all this stuff, like, oh, I'll do that. And if I'll do that, when I have some time, I'll do that. When I have some time. I was like, I got the time. And so I was super productive. And because I had all these things on the go. It was easy. Interesting. Yeah. And I and I have the privilege of living in the first world. And I have the privilege of living in a place with a lot of resources. And sounds so like cheesy to say, but I almost felt like it was my obligation to not complain. Because who am I to complain? When like, everything shuts down, and you're a minimum wage worker with two kids? Like who am I to complain? You know what I'm saying? And then and yeah, I guess that's it. Because I created things to keep myself to grow myself. The quarantine was very easy. And between you and me, God, I could do I wish we could just a month or two, we just go like like maybe next year just like December just nothing, just Can we go back to it a little bit. I just want to
Sonia Kyriacou 38:27
I love that perspective. But I think you can, you can do that to yourself. And in other words, like we know, the world pandemic kind of taught us a lot about how we handle our time, our energy, what we're grateful for. I think it taught us a lot about that. But I believe at the same time, it taught us that maybe when we were saying things like I don't have time, I can't get around to it. We were basically using exterior things in our lives to kind of blame it or scapegoat and say, Well, it's because of that, but really, we all have the power and the capacity to say, I'm going to take two weeks a month, whatever it is to completely block out any distractions and just focus on my goals. We can't do that. I know there's some necessary things like you have kids, you got to take care of your kids, you you have to go to your job, you got to go to your job. But there is a way to manage there is a way to manage your time so that you can you can accomplish your goals. And this is I think one of the takeaways this this happened to me as well where I said hey, you know, I was on this hamster wheel for so long and
Ivan Ruiz 39:32
great way to say yes, I was and you hop off and you're like,
Sonia Kyriacou 39:36
off and I was like what's happening here? There's a whole world around me Oh my god, you know, so it opened up my eyes to like, the possibility of everything around me that was always there. I just wasn't looking at it right. So there are positives to what's happened and I don't want to say I don't want to diminish the effects it's had on you know, people or people's health or the economy. I know I know we're in shambles and we got to like work hard now to get ourselves back up there but at the same time like you said there's a positive and everything right?
Ivan Ruiz 40:09
You know what Sonia I, the I really agree with what you're saying in terms of like, if you like I saw the quarantine as an opportunity to grow in different directions. And it also highlighted me some something for me. And I think a lot of people who went down a rabbit hole and I don't want to speak for everyone. But from hearing my friends who were having a really hard time during the quarantine, it's because they didn't have other things going on in their life, they kind of only had one thing when you were defined by your job. And that goes away and most of your social experience is with your job that people you work with. And that goes away it goes to show the need to have a diversity of things that engage you in life. And that I was lucky because I juggled a couple of careers. I juggle an acting career, a corporate training career and MC career and a dancer, dance teacher career. And so because some of those went away, because I had other things I could fall back on it allowed me to kind of manage if I had all my eggs in one basket right? Like if I was only a dance teacher and I have friends who were only dance teachers, they struggled both financially and psychologically because their whole thing that they do in life is gone. If you came out of this pandemic, being able to make better bread you've won it you can now speak Portuguese good for you You did it you know i mean if you if you are still just waiting to go back to work this is a knee that this is a symptom of something needs to change in your life personally in my opinion and I may be wrong but that's my opinion if you have the luxury to do so. Which a lot of I think our social groups do
Sonia Kyriacou 41:54
yeah well I believe that also was hopefully became more obvious to people where they realize what they do have right not just what they lost but what they do have and have a newfound appreciation for it and not take things for granted because it changed in a flash right?
Ivan Ruiz 42:12
Yeah, here let me get hey by the way just because I always I'm a big on tactics yo ideas for everyone who is not feeling like they're moving forward in life idea number one, join meetup.com and register to a bunch of meetup groups for random things virtual or in person, like photography, clubs, language clubs, etc. Thing number two, go on redbubble and get Canva and start making t shirts for funsies no one buys them you know what I mean? That's fun. You know what I mean? Go on Etsy and make arts and crafts shit you know what I'm saying learn one application you can use on your computer like Photoshop or iMovie and just do random those random things for fun and share them as much as you can. Those are some things that I experimented with because I had the time and as a result I have these things that make no money but I'm but I enjoyed doing them well my T shirts don't make any money but I enjoy making salsa dance t shirts right
Sonia Kyriacou 43:09
and basically in a nutshell what you're saying is create
Ivan Ruiz 43:13
yeah okay you know what? Yes! Thank you for saying what I could not so eloquently
Sonia Kyriacou 43:22
I don't know i
Ivan Ruiz 43:23
Who is the communication expert now? She just asserted dominance over me? Assert dominance at all times. Way to go Sonia.
Sonia Kyriacou 43:36
I am just so grateful to know you I am
Ivan Ruiz 43:39
Oh my gosh.
Sonia Kyriacou 43:41
You always inspire me and you always teach me something every conversation I have with you. I walk away smarter.
Ivan Ruiz 43:48
Oh no, that's your your way to kind... it's a give and take road.
Sonia Kyriacou 43:54
I appreciate you so much. So now looking looking forward now that you've had this time and you've created and you've You know, you're the new the upgraded version of Ivan, me have you What's next? what's coming down the road?
Ivan Ruiz 44:09
Well, I'll tell you something. I'm so Okay, number one, and this would. Okay, I'm going to take a roundabout way of saying stuff. Okay.
Sonia Kyriacou 44:22
Ivan Ruiz 44:22
I was thinking recently that one of the biggest mistakes I made when I was younger, is seeing money and is worrying too much about saving money and not focusing more on investing money. And the main the main example of that is when I was starting out my even my dance school in Vancouver, I went to a graphic designer, and they're like, it'll be this much to make a flyer and I was like, what, fuck you I'll make it myself. And so what happened I took three months to like, figure out how to use Photoshop and do it. I was making terrible flyers for longest time. And I was like, man, I should have just hired that guy and paid the money. I have never gotten out of that. habit until last year until 2020, where I said, You know what, forget this, I'm going to hire people to do things because like, I've been trying to edit this video for the last four months, and I know I can do it, but I'm just not getting around to it. Fuck it, hire somebody. That has been the best thing that I've done, Sonia, because there are things that happen. And I don't even know they're happening. while I'm sleeping. These things are happening. I got three assistants right now. One that helps me with my acting group, I have a meetup group for actors that has virtual acting classes. And one handles that she's also taking the lead on taking the key learnings we do in our things and designing a book, which we are going to publish, this would never happen if I didn't have her doing this for me. Wonderful. I'm taking my act, my public speaking thing, actually, we're doing a huge networking event, there's about 200 people registered so far. And we're calling it connect working. Oh, I go because everyone hates the network. But if you can connect with someone, you got someone you can count on. So my we're going to do this thing. And that wouldn't have happened without my assistant RL in the Philippines, who while I'm sleeping is working like crazy for me. And My only regret is that I can't pay them. I can't afford to pay both of these people more. Because now we're going to set up this big global event. And now my other assistant Courtney is coming in and she's making it. So we're going to set up this event to do a paid event. And I want to get to that point where I'm like, like I want to be that next Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence. I want to be like Tony Robbins, but instead of giving you just a bunch of useless self help, shit that actually helps you. And that's right, I'm talking trash about Tony Robbins.
Sonia Kyriacou 46:40
Oops, I love him.
Ivan Ruiz 46:42
Believe in yourself, find your passion. Believe in yourself, find it. There you go. That's every self help person done. I want to go that next level. But this would not have happened if I hadn't found people who and instead of just seeing it as a cost, I really see it as investing. And that mind shift man did that change? And again, you know, can you remember the last thing you spent 500 bucks on? What did you spend 500 bucks on five years ago? Exactly. You said, dresses up maybe this maybe that maybe you don't think about a few years later. But I'll tell you something. One of my biggest regrets is all the stuff I'm doing now, I didn't do five years ago. I didn't hire these people five years ago. So that's what's moving forward. I got him to have a big networking event, they'll send you the details, or I'll tell it to you and now I'm going to I'm writing a second book about acting and how to like start an acting career. I am going to pursue my only fans, amateur pornography career. But I'm going to wear a mask the whole time, so it'll be cool. I'm gonna wear Justin Trudeau mask the whole time.
Sonia Kyriacou 47:44
Oh my god, you're gonna get famous.
Ivan Ruiz 47:48
Yeah, that's right. That's right. I'm gonna be doing that. And, and to be honest with you, like I've very subtly Another fun thing I did is Oh 2020 I recorded i have i've always Okay, I've recorded all these dance videos that I just put out into the world that very few people look at. But here's, here's my fundamental mind shift. Every time people teach you footwork and stuff like that, it's always these long CoreOS that you'll never do. And they say oh, just take a bit of what you can like. And you can always tell when someone's doing like their performance, footwork in the in social dancing. So instead, I just I did all these things that it's an I call it a quick count of eight. And it's one move in one count of eight that you can totally do social dancing. Some of them are partners, some of them are footwork, but it's like here's one cool one count of eight, because that's all I ever wanted to learn. I couldn't learn like 10 counts of each pattern. It was too much too much. So I made all these videos and I'm gonna start I'm gonna hire another person. So if anyone needs a gig and once a gig job through social media promotion to promote these little dance moves that I've made, like very beginner friendly intermediate, one count of eight dance moves.
Sonia Kyriacou 48:56
Love it, love it. Man of all trades so i i'm also
Ivan Ruiz 49:02
I'm also baking bread. I'm just kidding. I never got into that baking bread shit.
Sonia Kyriacou 49:07
I know that the "end boring" hashtag came from you. You never been bored with yourself like there's no absolutely no way that you would ever be bored. It's not It's not possible. You're just so full of ideas and creativity and I love it.
Ivan Ruiz 49:25
You're very humbling you Sonia I want to say that you always make me feel so much more accomplished than I actually am during that and underrated here underrated people is giving people kind words like you are so like, because you don't realize the effect of when you say a kind word to someone how that goes. The hardest part of about that is telling the listening audience and this is something I struggle with is just saying thank you. The amount of time someone gives you call me and be like and no no not ... No, no, you want to reject it. That sucks. with them, and you try this. Try this. And I do the first time I did it, it was both amazing. And I felt horrible. Someone said, Hey, man, you know, that was a really great job. And I said, Hey, thank you so much. And they were they were so thankful that I just took the compliment, because they wanted to give me a compliment. And just the fact that I took it afterwards, like, You arrogant piece of shit, you should have put yourself down. And then you know what I mean? Because we have that link. But I want to say thank you just like giving kind words and then accepting those kind of words. That one little thing, man, is that a game changer? both to the person giving the compliment and taking the compliment.
Sonia Kyriacou 50:37
Yeah, learning learning to receive this is a whole. Yeah, a whole other skill.
Ivan Ruiz 50:42
Yeah. Trying to get to that in sexually too. I'm just kidding. I'm kidding. I just I can't I can't be too emotional. Because I feel vulnerable. It's my defense mechanism. What I'm trying to say is,
Sonia Kyriacou 50:56
don't you get what I'm trying to say is I'm totally red now. You can't see it. Oh, my God. Well, I want to thank you for spending this.
Ivan Ruiz 51:05
Are we done? We didn't talk about any of this stuff you wanted to talk about.
Sonia Kyriacou 51:10
I know we talked about so many amazing things. And now I know all my listeners are saying how can I find this man? So let's start with Instagram.
Ivan Ruiz 51:19
So listen, actually, I have a really good way. I'm basically a public speaking lab. But if you go to publicspeakinglab.com slash Connect. It has all my social media, all my classes, everything. publicspeakinglab.com slash Connect. Or if you just want to do Instagram, go to public speaking lab. It's a big orange mic. It's a it's a little orange circle with a microphone on it. And I do like,
Sonia Kyriacou 51:45
Is that why you wearing orange today?
Ivan Ruiz 51:47
Um, you know what, I just always loved this color, homey. And I love it. It's my brand, baby, my brand.
Sonia Kyriacou 51:53
You look awesome. Well, thank you so much for spending this day with us.
Ivan Ruiz 51:57
Yeah, no worries. And yeah, please, I just want to say you know, Sonia, not just thank you so much for having me, I want to say good for you. Because I know how hard after what 19 years of doing a salsa Congress every year, to have that taken away, not just like, not just the event itself, but the meaning that that event has on you on everyone else to pressure you must have felt to go no go that kind of thing. And then to also just to lose just to lose everything that comes with that the bringing people to cultural event, the satisfaction of another year, the support of an entire community, to lose all that must have been very difficult for you, but you pivoted and that'll come back, but you pivoted and so you should feel accomplished.
Sonia Kyriacou 52:42
Thank you. Thank you. I appreciate that
Ivan Ruiz 52:46
I'm doing everything I can right now not to make an inappropriate joke because now I'm feeling vulnerable and sensitive. But I'm not gonna do it to Sonia I'm not not talking about nips. I did it I can't because I can't be vulnerable
Sonia Kyriacou 53:00
I love you as you are I love you as you are we all have something to to grow into and to learn and to accept and this is the beauty of our journey as a human you know on this earth and so I'm very happy that our paths have crossed and continue to cross. And I wish all my listeners you know an amazing journey. Please Please check out "public speaking lab" for more information on Ivan Wanis Ruiz. Thank you.
Ivan Ruiz 53:30
Thank you, Sonia. Bye everybody, bye. post in the comments below.
Thanks for listening. Find Sonia on Instagram at SONIAKYRI and on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter at Sonia Kyriacou. Check back weekly for new episodes. Until the next time, keep dancing.