Emilia Richeson Valiente - Creator/Director of Pony Sweat Aerobics

Emilia Richeson Pony Sweat Aerobics

What is the first thing you do when you start your work/ studio day? 

Make coffee (pour-over) and porridge (hot in the winter, cold in the summer), and write in my journal. I’ll free-write if I need to get some thoughts down, and if not I just write what feelings I”m feeling and a gratitude list.  I share that list with a friend. 


How did you spend your last birthday?  

I threw myself a 40th Birthday Bash!  I had a fantasy of sitting in a fancy decorated chair while my friends sang to me and then all of us dancing. So I did that!   

Five things to do less often:

Worry about what other people think about me. 

Look at my phone.


Spend energy worrying about things I can’t change, instead of spending energy doing the things I can.

Eat while I’m also doing something else.


What scares you the most about the future?

That humans will become increasingly disconnected from themselves and each other,  and the innate understanding and sense of our interdependence with all living things.  I am scared that this knowing will never be recovered in most people, and that instead the trance of toxic individualism will grow and prevail, destroying the earth and all inhabitants. 


What’s One Thing You Know For Sure? 

That I only know a little, and that goes for everyone. 


What does unconditional self love mean to you? 

It means not stuffing my feelings, believing myself, learning about my boundaries and honoring them, affirmations, inner-child work, gentleness, being curious and learning more about myself, wearing what I like/looking how I want, staying with my body, not abandoning myself, practicing and doing whatever I can to change self-harming behaviors.  It means practicing treating myself like I would treat the ones in my life that I love unconditionally, like my dog.  Trying to give myself that same grace.  


Do you think it is possible to have too much self love?  

No, I don't think so. I think that Love grows with deeper intimacy, and deeper intimacy comes from truth and authenticity.  I think that as we strive to know ourselves better, to be more honest with ourselves, to honor our experiences, to have compassion for ourselves, we must also look at where our behaviors perpetuate unhealthy or harmful cycles.  I think that self-love can fuel us to change those behaviors and sustain us through the discomfort that is likely to come with change.  


I mean this question brings to mind a person that maybe “loves themselves so much, just oozing self-compassion and self-acceptance that they have no sense of their wrong-doing or their impact on others.”  I mean, people like that certainly exist.  Many of them run companies that sell things to help you also achieve self-love!  But that’s not actually self-love. That’s something else.  Dangerous delusion or something. 


Self-love (and self-care for that matter) is not about what it LOOKS like, it’s about how it feels.  And it doesn’t come from how much money you spend on things that promise it.  It comes from deeper intimacy with the self which involves a lot of excavation, undoing, shadow-work, accountability, transformation.  Messiness!!


When was the last time you did something that made you feel uncomfortable, can you share what it was, and the outcome?  

My birthday party was uncomfortable! It felt really really uncomfortable and scary to ask for what I wanted and let it be witnessed in such a public way, in front of friends and family. And the outcome was the best night of my life!!  I felt really really seen by people I loved, it was a really special and powerful experience.


Can you share a pony sweat playlist?

Heck yea! This month we are dancing to one of my favorite mixtapes.  I originally made it in July 2021 so it reflects a lot of the big feels I was having, and many of us were experiencing also at that time. You can read it here, or listen to it at this link.

Don't Stop The Dance (Punks Jump Up Remix)- Bryan Ferry

Hipnótico- CERO39 + Mula

I Know There's Something Going On- Frida

What is Love- Haddaway

Feast On My Heart- Pylon

How Do You Do It- Empress Of

I Wanna Dance With Somebody- Whitney Houston

You Take My Breath Away (Puppetmasters Mix)- The Knife

Consideration (ft. SZA)- Rihanna

Head Over Heels- Tears For Fears

Utopia (Jana Hunter Remix)- Austra

So Into You- Tamia

No One's Little Girl- The Raincoats.


Send me a drawing or photo of your favorite Tattoo and if you like, tell me why you chose it?

Usually my favorite tattoo is the last one I got, and I just got this on my neck yesterday. It was drawn by my friend Rebecca Scotti and tattooed on me by Graham Chaffi.  It’s to ward off vampires of all kinds.


Emilia Richeson-Valiente (she/her) is the Creator/Director of Pony Sweat Aerobics, a fiercely noncompetitive dance aerobics celebration based in Los Angeles.  


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