Friday, January 23, 2015

Tahitoa Polynesian Dance School Opens in Tamuning

By: Denise Mendiola-Hertslet
Senior Business Advisor/WIB Program Coordinator
(Guam SBDC)

Jens Holvoet is from Belgium, but his heart is in Guam. He had the idea of starting a Polynesian entertainment company back in October 2013 when he visited. Although his background involved making hip hop & rap music which is the opposite of Polynesian dance plus he was not a dancer himself, Jens felt that this was an opportunity worth investing in. He soon met June Cabral and that was the start of Tahitoa Polynesian Dance School.
Jens Holvoet received his Bachelor’s Degree in Applied Clinical psychology, has a background in economics and trade, and knowledge in online marketing and consumer psychology. His parents owned a bicycle repair and sales shop for over 25 years, but closed the shop earlier this year where his father continues to be a self-employed mechanic. His mother stopped working as a seamstress to tend to their three children and assisted in the daily operations of the shop.

Instructor and choreographer, June Cabral came from a talented and supportive family.  Her dad is a professional ballroom dancer and an architect.  Her mom is a home maker, active with sports (volleyball) and helps her dad with the family business. “Our parents supported us kids with anything we did. Growing up I took piano lessons, choir, sports and even dancing. But as I grew older I realized that I actually wanted to pursue dance more than anything.” June has extensive experience in Polynesian dance:  teaching, choreographing, designing and creating costumes for almost 15 years. She explained that she was taught by many great instructors and professional dancers. In addition, she shared that dance is her passion.  “When it comes to dancing, I have the patience and determination to get it done. I never give up on anything I set my mind to until I succeed or feel it’s perfect.”
Owner, Jens and choreographer, June, decided to bring their individual talents together to pursue a Polynesian dance company.  According to Jens, “She has a lot of experience in Polynesian dancing and I see it as one of the big markets in Guam and feel it can be a successful business.”

When Jens and June needed assistance with a business plan, they contacted the Guam Small Business Development Center.  June says, “It helped so much. They are there to guide you. Give you advice. They pretty much helped paved the way. And it was a big plus knowing it was a free service for small business owners or people that are thinking of starting a business but dont really know where to start. I give many thanks for their help and support. We at Tahitoa Productions are forever thankful for SBDC and especially to Denise Hertslet.”

For Jens who came into Guam and was not familiar with the regulations and policies, the Guam SBDC was a useful tool in accessing this information. Denise guided them to the correct departments and showed them to the right people to help with certain things that are vital to starting a business. According to Jens, Denise gave him the chance to address his ideas and concerns which gave him better insight on what was needed to be done. June also played a vital role in assisting Jens with Guam’s way of life.

Owner Jens Holvoet and
Choreographer June Cabral
The constant worry of whether you will succeed or not and dreaming up of worst case scenarios were some things that June feared. But that fear also served as a motivation to succeed. “I guess not matter what you just have to be optimistic and find out what the people want and just keep moving forward no matter what comes your way,” June says. Knowing that she had followers and people who loved and supported her served as positive influences to keep pushing forward. June adds, “Just simply being able to own and run your own business knowing you’re in control and you can do things the way you want it to be is great.”
June advises, “Seek help with SBDC. Don’t waste any time and don’t ever give up. Make a plan and follow it. It can be quite challenging at times but just keep your head up and work hard to make it happen. Someday you will reach your goals and you'll look back and be proud of yourself that through it all you never gave up.”

For more information on how the Guam SBDC can assist you, contact their office at 671-735-2590 or visit their website at