Why I Dance – Lucia Castro

I am not the kind of person who talks in front of the class. I’m not the kind of person who asks questions easily and I most definitely feel as though I “can’t”. Ever since I was a kid I was always shy. I mean, I was so shy that my mom had to drag me into The Pretenders Studio to sign me up for classes telling me “It’s gonna be good for you” and “You’ll thank me later”. Without that push from my mom, I wouldn’t know that I love dance and I probably wouldn’t be dancing at all. It’s crazy to think that I was so nervous to go to a dance class, but now I perform for thousands of people with such ease.

Dance allows me the space to grow out of my shell and become more comfortable and confident. It helped me release that nervous feeling that was trapped inside of me. I dance because it allows me to play a character. In a sense, I feel as though I am a different version of myself that can do anything when I am dancing. It allows me to be free and to leave whatever stress I have inside of me behind.

Over the summer, I worked at the studio and was faced with the challenge of choreographing a dance for the dancers younger than me. I had once choreographed a short little dance for myself and a friend and I had also choreographed a solo for myself for an audition we did with Company, but I never really did something for people younger than me in a teaching setting. I remember just having such a hard time knowing what would be too hard and too easy for them. At The Pretenders Studio we are encouraged to find the way that we learn and move best as individuals.. We are encouraged to find what makes us unique and to not dance like someone else but to dance like our best versions of ourselves. For me, I feel I don’t dance or hear the music like most people. The way I dance is a little different from other people. When I dance I use the words/beats/back beats of the music, I rarely ever count so trying to convey a movement/the timing was very challenging when I was teaching for the first time. I more recently had the opportunity to choreograph something for my peers again and I taught a dance for a mixed-level class, meaning two people at my level and two people from the level below mine. The dance turned out great, receiving positive messages. I used the lyrics because I like telling stories using my body and the lyrics guide my movement and are my inspiration. The dancers in my piece really got it. Having the opportunity to work outside of my comfort zone in this was a very rewarding experience for me and I trust myself so much more now.

I could list a million reasons why I dance; I dance to show people something they wouldn’t see everyday and to leave them thinking “I am blown away from what I just watched”. I dance to show people joy and connection in a different way, and most importantly…I dance because I love to.

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