One of the things I love about being a dancer in the 21st century, is the rich global community we live in. While we can take pride and learn from our own cultures, due to technology and a broadening appreciation for cultures other than our own, there are so many beautiful things to study and be inspired by! I find inspiration to explore the possibilities of movement within my art of Modern/Contemporary Dance from the diverse cultural dances I have studied.
The University of New Mexico, where I received my BA in Dance, has a strong program in Flamenco. Because of this, I was able to take Flamenco from the best teachers and dance with a meet some wonderful Flamenco dancers. I was also fortunate enough to be at UNM while the lovely Rujeko Dumbutshena was there, and to take some wonderful African Dance classes from her and have the opportunity to perform with her company, Blue Tribe African Dance Company. I also had the privilege of taking Folklorico from the late Miguel Caro while in Albuquerque. Teaching Intro to Dance History to non-majors at Ball State, I have also have the pleasure of further exploring dances from multiple cultures and the varying roles dance has played in them.
I must say that my study of all of these wonderful dances has made me a stronger, more well rounded dancer and choreographer and helped me to more deeply understand the cultures they come from. I have also made some lifelong friends that have forever changed me through the cultural exchange of dances. Humanity is so diverse. As we come together in this new 21st century global community, I hope we continue to celebrate the beauty of where we’ve come from and look forward to an even better future! Happy International Dance Day!
I leave you with a video link of the beautiful, enormously talented Alina Casanova Ochoa (seen with me in the photo on the right, from a department show in 2001) performing for her company out of Madrid, Spain, FlamencoMexicano. Enjoy!