A Teacher’s Journey: Meet Gabriela Garcia

Gabriela Garcia

Photo by Jason Rivers

Gabriela is Co-Founder and Director of R.Evolución Latina. She has delivered the heart of our organization’s mission to underprivileged students in New York and her native La Paz by teaching workshops at community centers and master classes at local dance schools. An impassioned mentor and teacher, she truly makes a difference through the arts.

Musical theater credits include CHICAGO the Musical on Broadway, for which she also served as Dance Captain and performed in the touring productions. She has also appeared in Roman Holiday (Guthrie), West Side Story, Joseph… Dreamcoat, Carousel, and the Vienna and Mexico City companies of CHICAGO where she played the role of “Velma Kelly” in their native language.

She has originated roles with Tanzforum der Oper Koeln, in addition to being a soloist with Ballet del Instituto Cabañas and Balletteatro Contemponáneo in Guadalajara, Mexico, and dancing with the Pacific Northwest Ballet here in the United States.

This accomplished, generous artist was kind enough to share some of her journey with us.

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Speaking to the theme of the festival, how has your life been made bountiful through dance?

To me, bountiful is a synonym of abundance and I am blessed to have had dance be the medium to expose me to different cultures around the world. As a ballerina, I was always looking for opportunities in dance that would take me to a new place. Dance took me to look for options in Europe where I came across musical theater. Musical theater brought me to New York, a city that gave me my Broadway break in CHICAGO the Musical, a city that has allowed me to share my knowledge in dance. As a dancer, choreographer, and educator, I have traveled to Peru, Mexico, Japan, Guatemala, Argentina, Germany, Austria and many states in the US either in a performing or teaching capacity. I have literally danced my way through life!

 

Where do you look to find inspiration?

Music inspires me. When I hear a piece of music or a song that moves my spirit, dance images immediately fill my mind. But I realize now that inspiration is everywhere around us. I see dance in the leaves that spiral down to the ground in the fall, when the wind blows and the ocean sends its waves to the shore; reading a poem or a good story, in the savoring of a good wine… Finding inspiration is not hard if one is open and aware of what surrounds us.

 

How do you overcome choreographer’s block when making a dance?

It depends on the circumstances. If I am working with an ensemble of dancers and I have a certain number of hours to get the work done for that day, first I begin to play and move the pieces around. Maybe place the beginning of the dance at the end. I have the dancers explore with me. I make up sections even if I have to change everything the following day. That way at least I have something, like how a writer fills the page and then edits. Usually when choreographer’s block happens, I have to clear my head and maybe watch a movie or engage in an activity that is far from choreographing. I have to shake it off. And then there are times, if I am working on my own and nothing is working, where I just blow it off, have a glass of wine and clear my mind. Then hopefully I can have a fresh start the next day.

Gabriela Garcia

Photo by Jason Rivers

 

What do you hope to communicate to audiences viewing your piece?

An emotion, a thought, or a point of view.

 

What advice would you give to dancers hoping to perform or choreograph professionally?

Be honest with your work. Tell the story. If you are choreographing, be clear about the story you want to tell. If you are interpreting it, do your homework and prepare to be the best vehicle to bring the story across.

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Gabriela is a faculty member at the Joffrey Ballet School. Learn more by visiting her website, or buying tickets to see her work at Bountiful: A Teacher’s Journey.