How did you start dancing?
I was a gymnast for a while before I started dancing. I was 3 years old when I started gymnastics. I liked it, but I wanted to try something else. I started with acting—no dancing. Then I did Hairspray at my school in Mexico City. When I watched Hairspray the movie, I really wanted to do musical theatre and started learning ballet and jazz. I was 14 years old when I first started dancing.
Where did you train?
I started dancing in Mexico and just went to classes everywhere. I found a musical theatre school and loved the place. I started singing, acting, and dancing at the same time.
What are you up to now?
I am an ISVP at Broadway Dance Center. I want to start the professional semester, but I don’t know yet. I have to go step by step.
I just want to keep training. To be honest, it’s really hard for international people to stay here. You need papers for immigration—you need to have everything cleared. Whether you are talented or not, you have to keep training, but you also have to find a way first to stay. And then to get something that you want to do—a company or a Broadway show is hard. But if you keep trying, New York can open doors for you.
For me, New York is magic. If you want to make it, you’re going to do it. Somedays I really love the city, but sometimes I hate it. But even if you have a bad day in New York, you’re still in New York. No matter what happens.
What’s your favorite part about the city?
The High Line. Also the opportunities available in musical theatre.
What’s your dream show?
It’s not on Broadway now, but I’d love to be a part of In the Heights. It’s about the lives of Hispanic and Latino Americans in New York City.
What was your toughest time as a dancer?
I had this one week where everything was bad. I felt so tired. I really wanted to stay and make it, but it was hard. It’s hard to get to the level where you feel like you have a shot on being a part of Broadway. It’s really hard. When you are in class, there are always people who are currently on or have been on Broadway. I think my second month was the hardest. The first month, you’re just excited about being in the city and pursuing your dream. But second month, my knees started to hurt. And in a musical theatre class, I just couldn’t get the combo. Now that I think about it, it was really easy. But I was crying in the class. I just thought I couldn’t do it. I thought to myself, “I can’t do anything; my body hurts; I’m tired.” But this is my dream, and my parents worked so hard for me to get here. After four days or so, I was fine. You just have to keep fighting.
What do you think helped you get over that?
I thought back to time when I was a gymnast. When I was young, I wasn’t scared of anything. I did a lot of competitions around Mexico. I wasn’t afraid of anything. I just enjoyed it. Now I am 23, but I can still do it.
Where do you see yourself going now?
My goal, when I first came here, was Broadway, and it’s still Broadway. But New York showed me different ways to stay here as a dancer. Broadway is really hard to be a part of. I want to try it, because it really is my dream. But now I am really excited about living in the city. The city showed me a lot of things. I did a music video with Brian Thomas. I ran into him at a party, and he just asked me to be on his video. That’s the kind of thing that makes me say New York is magic. I didn’t get paid, but it was still opportunity to dance. I was a part of something creative.
Now my first goal is find a way to spend more time here. That’s it—no Broadway for me now. I have to stay here and train to try to get on Broadway. I can’t get on Broadway if I go to Mexico. I have to go back to Mexico soon, but I have to find a way to stay here. And then, I don’t know. I don’t know what’s waiting for me in New York, but I want to stay.
Any advice for dancers?
Keep fighting. The life is hard for everyone—not just for dancers. If somebody tells you that you can’t do it, it’s probably because he or she is afraid for you. Just believe in yourself. In the end, I have myself. My parents are far away now. Sometimes I think that I can’t do it, but I always remind myself that I can do it. If I can dream it, I can do it. I am going to find a way.
Any last thing you want to share with the world?
Be respectful and nice to people. Always say “hello” and “thank you” to people around you.