Instructor Profile – Michelle Tolentino

By Jacki 11.08.2016


Jacki Alward

In 2011, Studio K was the first dance and fitness studio on the East coast to welcome Anna-Rita Sloss and her created style, HOT HULA fitness®  to the Studio K floor. The class was an instant hit, drawing members of all fitness levels and abilities, and packing classes week after week encouraging many other studios to follow. Sloss returned to Studio K again in 2012 to host an Instructor Certification session for the state of Florida and dancer/performer/instructor Michelle Tolentino, has been a part of it all from the very first day.

This month, I interviewed Michelle regarding her HOT HULA fitness® class which is back on the floor in its original East coast home, her life, and what this Mom values most of all!


JA: So, tell us a little about you! What brought you to Orlando?
MT: My dad retired from the Navy and chose Orlando as his retirement destination.

JA: What style of dance you to teach at Studio K?
MT: HOT HULA fitness®

JA: What do you think is the toughest challenge with the style or the biggest obstacle to get someone to try the class for the first time?
MT: I think going into any dance studio can be intimidating for the first time, but that is what makes Studio K so different from all the rest. We are welcoming right from the start, truly judgement-free, and everyone is there to learn and just have the best time together! The biggest misconception about HOT HULA fitness® is that it’s actually hot in temperature – but it’s not! We are just celebrating our hot, unique selves in every shape, size, color, and background! Also, you don’t need any experience or equipment – just you and a smile!

JA: So now that we know you’re a HOT HULA instructor by night, what do you do during the day?
MT: I’m a lead VPK teacher. I love being the educational foundation for growing minds!

JA: I hear you’re a mama of twins! How do you find the balance and make time for you?
MT: Not just twins… I’m the mother of three. My daughters are adults now. They are in college full-time and hold part-time jobs. My son is 12 years old and is now learning the Samoan fire knife. I’m blessed to have jobs that I LOVE… working with children and adults. However, to me, my family – my kids are my balance. Some people want a break from their kids. I have to say although I may have felt stressed or even helpless from time to time- my kids remind me of what is most important. Raising responsible adults is no easy task, but it’s totally worth it. My mini get away is always when I dance – Luaus, Tahitian practice and HOT HULA fitness® allow me to stay fit and active mentally and physically.


JA: How important do you feel fitness is for everyone, but especially moms?
MT: Mothers of all ages should definitely find something that keeps them active and aims toward getting fit. We all have to look at ourselves and make sure we aren’t feeling drained. The couch, TV and internet are your enemy! Come to Studio K and find the right class that helps you to loosen up, unwind, and have FUN! Staying active can also help to kick the winter doldrums before they start!

JA: People really tend to struggle with their fitness during the Holiday Season. What words of encouragement can you give to help people push through?
MT: Many of us love the holidays and face it… who doesn’t love holiday food? Staying active over the holidays will at least help you to maintain a healthy body weight and fight that holiday stress! 🙂

JA: What would you say to someone who feels like they can’t dance?
MT: I was never a dancer myself. Dance fitness at Studio K is about having fun while getting fit. All levels WILL feel muscles working that they have not felt before!

JA: If you could dance any other style than Hot Hula, what would it be and why?
MT: Mixxed Fit®, HOT FUSION® or POUND®, because they are rhythm or dance inspired.

JA: Who inspires you?
MT: My kids. They have been through a lot and have been such amazing children despite allll circumstances. They are a reminder that everything I do is worth it!


JA: What is one thing on your bucket list and why?
MT: Hike Mt. Zion… it just looks beautiful! I’d like to do this with my kids in the evening!

JA: What is one other talent you have that people aren’t aware of?
MT: I used to sing and act in high school and college.

JA: Everyone has their own mantra they live by, what is yours?
MT: Ohana means family – no one gets left behind or forgotten.


JA: What is your favorite part about being a dance instructor?
MT: Seeing the results that students (friends) get and sharing in their victories!

JA: You’ve been an instructor for Studio K for a long time. What is one thing that you love about teaching here?
MT: Studio K offers a variety of fun dance fitness classes that are enjoyable to all levels of dance experience! Who doesn’t like getting fit while dancing?

JA: What makes Studio K different from other fitness facilities?
MT: We have a clean & beautiful dance floor to share! Studio K Instructors are friendly and offer modifications to keep it simple or advanced depending on the level of every student in the room.

JA: Why should someone come and try Hot Hula fitness®?
MT: It’s fun and surprisingly a FULL BODY workout. HOT HULA fitness® is also a low impact workout! It is easy to follow and is CORE focused! I guarantee results with consistency!!!

If you want to come and meet Michelle and give HOT HULA fitness® a try, visit her every Tuesday at 6:30 PM, and see all of our classes this month through the Studio K schedule here! If you want to see more of what HOT HULA fitness is all about, check out one of our past videos below and see more on our Studio K YouTube Channel! We would love to have you on the floor! Aloha!


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