Mozart by RL written by Ismael Castillo

During the last show Bruno, a fellow cast mate, calls the whole cast on stage including our teachers, Luis, Gabriela, Valeria, Leon, and Ian during his monologue. He tests our readiness and directs the teachers to perform the specialty of work they had taught us for the last three weeks.

Then he directs the cast to listen and support with “Mozart”.

Coming in to the program I wanted to find answers to an issue I have struggled with all my life. Being a Dominican born and raised in The Bronx it was hard to find a sense of home. Going to DR people always called me “American” and in New York I was always call “Dominican” but never was I ever considered “one of us”.

I told Luis Salgado about my issue, and he welcomed me with open arms and through the process really encouraged me to use both sides of me. Pushing me to touch into The Bronx in me by rapping more, pulling me aside and saying that he wants to hear more Spanish from me, sending me a lot of Spanish content telling me to read this just to work on my Spanish more, telling me to help translate for the people who need a little more help keeping up when it comes to English. I knew that being in the room with Luis was going to be a huge opportunity and I made sure to get the most out of it that.

However, one thing I didn’t take to a count before entering the program were all the people I was doing the program with. Meeting people who came to New York for the first time only to do the Beyond Work Shop series, meeting people who are refugees from Puerto Rico coming to New York to start their life over, meeting someone who cried when they finally made it into the room two days late because of issues with their visa, made me really take this program into a new perspective. It was more than just a workshop, it was hope, a new beginning, a dream come true.

Those people I shared the stage with, more than anything, taught me that it’s okay to be a Dominican American. They showed me that it’s up to people like me, that are blessed to be born in New York, to help build a bridge from here to DR so that amazing artist like my classmates can come to New York to stay. They taught me that home isn’t a specific place because many of them offered me their home if I ever go visit; home is in the people you create life long bonds with.

Before that Last show, I had never heard Mozart live, R.Evolución Latina taught me at that moment that Mozart is more than just a composer because at the moment while I clapped the iambic for Ian while he recited Shakespeare, while hoping that my iambic rhythm can work as a base for Valeria while she did her body percussion, while watching Gabriela move across the stage like water, as Luis and Leon engaging their whole being with Suzuki and listening to every single cast member support our teaches without a moment of hesitation—that moment right there is Mozart to me.

Ismael Castillo / 2018 BWS Student