What is your favorite style of dance to watch? to participate in?
Well, when we talk about dance we are talking about many things… Technique, style, choreography and so on but the most important thing, in my opinion, is the feeling. I don’t really have a favorite style of dance, however, I love seeing when someone is enjoying the dance, if they can make me feel what they feel while dancing, I think they did everything.
About participating, I love my Bolivian rhythms. We have so much variety and what I think I love the most is that every rhythm has its meaning, they all come from ancient times and every movement we do denotes something important.
I don’t think my culture is the best over the world, because every country has a story to tell through their dances. So, I always try to learn as much as I can about other cultures. I could dance from Peruvian music to Polish, if they teach me, without any problem.
What is your dance background or interest in dance?
I’ve been involved in music ever since I can remember. My father is a music lover and grew up listening to all kinds of music all the time and as soon as I learned how to stand, I started dancing. I used to dance with my parents at home to all kinds of rhythms, most of all, the Latin-American ones. Then, when I turned 13, I started my folkloric dancing classes and ever since the moment I started, I couldn’t leave those traditions anymore. I’ve been dancing Bolivian folkloric dances for almost 16 years now.
If you could share the stage with anyone in history famous or not, living or deceased, a trained dancer or not, performing a routine choreographed by yourself…who would it be?
This is a hard question but I think Michael Jackson is such a complete and multi-talented artist, not only an excellent musician but also an amazing dancer.
Last year we celebrated the repeal of the Cabaret Law with the theme “The Cabaret of Life” — What does this year’s theme “Movement of the People ” mean to you?
I think this year’s theme shows what NYC has to offer. I mean, there are over 1,000 cultural organizations in the five boroughs that show the diversity of culture that defines NYC and close to 200 organizations will be in the parade.
What dance group or dance style are you most looking forward to seeing this coming year in the parade?
Actually, this is going to be my first Parade, so I am excited to see everything and everyone. I understand that there will be over 80 unique styles of dance and I like the idea of the “United Nations of Dance!”
If you could choose a Grand Marshal for this year’s parade….who would it be?
It is very difficult to pick a representative to represent all of dance but it would be nice to have Major Bill de Blasio make an appearance! As we’re beginning the parade with a Native American Circle Dance, how nice would it be for him to join the 20 to 30 other representatives from the parade for the celebration of unity and diversity, honoring the indigenous peoples before us and also showing support for immigrant rights.
If you could pick another country to hold a Dance Parade and Festival….which would it be?
Japan! Through my experience with my Bolivian music and dance, I’ve learned that Japanese people are very interested in new culture and rhythms. With my involvement with the Bolivian events, some of them are not only audience members but also are performers in music and dance.
In fact, one of our most representative folkloric group called “Los Kjarkas” has a member that was born in Japan. Makoto ShiShido plays the Charango, which is a native instrument that resembles a smaller version of a guitar with twice as many strings.
Besides Makoto, there are some Orchestras with Japanese musicians that play Bolivian music, they even travel to Bolivia every year to study more about the rhythms and are often accompanied by Japanese dancers doing Bolivian rhythms. One of the directors of these Orchestras is Sho Makino. Sho just finished his master thesis in Bolivian Ethnomusicology in Japan.
Because of these reasons, I would choose Japan to hold a Dance Parade and Festival.
Working for a non profit organization can at times be daunting and frustrating with limited personnel and funding….what is it that keeps you coming back for more and more?
Working for a non-profit organization definitely has its challenges, but is very rewarding. There is something besides money that moves us to continue. In my case, the love of culture, music, dance, art, makes me work with so much passion and makes me happy, and for me, that’s more important than financial reward.