By Kiwii Villalobos
As an immigrant and as a Latinx I was taught that, in this country, just to be considered for an audition I had to be the very best in a room, and still, my immigration status, my accent, my nationality, and things like that, which are inherently mine, would get on the way of actually booking a job. While statistically, that is a harsh reality (a study made by The NY Times in 2020 shows that of all the roles over all the theatres in NYC, only 6% were played by Latinx actors), getting in rooms with a mindset like that was terrifying, depressing, and not great all together.
The BWS workshop was the change I needed. In that room I was celebrated for all those things that make me who I am. I was empowered. First of all, the training was incredible. In only 2 weeks, I got so many tools to implement in my craft. The teachers were amazingly talented, knowledgeable, and kind. They always made sure we all understood what was going on. If anybody felt lost or didn’t quite understand, we would translate what we were doing for them. In 2 and a half years in this city, I never had that in a room, and that really elevated the learning experience. Secondly, we built a strong community. It sounds weird to say that in 2 weeks we created such strong bonds, but this shared experience created a true network of support.
Finally, despite statistics, and whatever negativity might be out in the world, I learnt to dare to go beyond. Dare to put myself out there. Dare to make the change. Don’t get stuck on the past, but live the present to make the change in the future.
As a dancer looking to strengthen my vocal and acting muscles I felt especially encouraged when Luis Salgado shared his journey which also began with dance. At the early stages of the program he emphasized how important our physical bodies were, the body is the vessel for the voice. The focus this year was movement and I quickly learned that my strengths with dance ameliorated my story telling and supported my journey as a singer and actor. In paying close attention to the body in BWS I remember that the stories I long to tell are encrypted in my DNA, deep within myself. My body holds history within itself and simultaneously is the story teller!
My legacy is telling the untold stories in my lineage and through this work healing intergenerational trauma. I want to showcase the joy, triumph and heart break of my community hoping that by sharing we may strengthen one another. The trauma carried in my DNA is accompanied by the spirit of the warriors who survived those hardships with music, dance and oral traditions. BWS not only opened the door for me as an adult student for story telling but presented me with hundreds of keys to continue unlocking doors in the house of opportunity. I have strategies, connections, exercises and information that will support my journey in fulfilling my legacy and telling the stories of my ancestors.
The Beyond Workshop Series this year really blew me away with the Suzuki training with Ellen and Leon. As someone who struggles with ADHD Suzuki helped me to channel my tremendous energy, relieve anxiety and funnel my strength into the delivery of my message. Suzuki helped me connect with the earth and shared primal and sacred routines for me to practice my relationship with nature. Without the earth we have no voice and without our bodies there is no bridge between earth and voice.