So there’s the story of this guy who wants to be a professional dancer. The only problem is that he didn’t always want to be one.
Enter our main character at about oooooh, lets say thirteen years of age.
Male. Latino. Short. Awkward. Theatrical. Math Brainy. Skinny. Athletic.
Does he want to be a dancer yet? Not a chance. All he really wants to do is play soccer with his buddies from the neighborhood in the suburbia of Northern Virginia, just outside of Washington DC. High school hits and all of a sudden he is bombarded with questions from the real world:
What do you want to be? How much money are you comfortable making? What college will you attend?
Its all a little too heavy. There are a few things he knows about life outside of his school and social bubble though. He knows that smart people, famous people, and pro athletes make good money. He knows that his hobbies on stage and on the soccer field will only work out for him after a gruesome amount of competition. So that means that of the three things that will make him a good amount of money, his brains are probably his most solid bet. Or so he thought.
He finished high school with good grades and a wide load of extra-curricular activities since he could never say no to his hobbies. Then, for no other reason than a desire to leave his hometown, he went to school in Florida to study engineering. Why the heck not?- he reasoned- I’m good with math and science and I can always keep up with my hobbies on the side. It seemed simple enough and his parents were happy with his decision. Being a first generation Latino born in the United States sometimes comes with unwritten pressure to succeed.
Fast forward a few more years. Depression sets in for our protagonist. He can’t muster the energy to go to class anymore. He worries about the debt he’s putting himself into for an education for a job that he no longer wants. The only solace he finds is on the stage. Never being one to set his hobbies aside, he continued acting in college. Plus, there was a new outlet for expression he had found. A dance team. Nothing groundbreaking was expected from a technical college in terms of dance, so there was plenty of opportunity for a straight male to learn a few new tricks. He knew a little breakdance and show choir moves from high school. He dabbled in a bit of step and jazz there too. There was also an entire lifetime of classic Latin dance to give him all the rhythm he would need to keep up with the others. What our main character did not realize at the time was that he had fallen in love with one of his oldest and dearest friends: dance. And when you’re in love, everything else just gets in the way.
The main character, in case you haven’t figured it out (but you really should have), is me. So what came next- you might ask. I changed my life. I uprooted everything that I knew and moved to Gainesville, FL in search of dance in and around the University of Florida. In 2011, I transferred to Florida State University to do more of the same at the next level. This blog is the story of my thoughts from that transitional time. A forum for the artistic and creative things that have evolved inside of me through dance. I even included a page of materials from my MFA thesis concert here as well: Shaped by Society.
Today I work in academia. I use my insight from over a decade of being in the collegiate system to help guide others through the dance transformation while staying true to themselves. I work at Santa Fe College in Gainesville, Fl and Florida School of the Arts in Palatka, FL. On my “free” time I choreograph and/or dance with the first company that ever gave me a shot at being a dancer: the Danscompany of Gainesville.