R.Evolución Latina utilizes the arts to empower the Latino community to discover their full potential and this year’s “Beyond Workshop Series 2016,” a two-week dance intensive, gave participants a chance to audition and perform at the choreographer’s festival weekend. We caught up with Vania Masias, one of the choreographers who is a part of the festival to talk choreography, the importance of festivals like this and their hopes for the future of dance.
Where did your love of dance originate?
I’ve danced since I was 3 years old. I have moved all my life, but discovered my passion at the age of 22 when I went to London to look for dance companies. It was a difficult time, but it proved I love dancing.
D1 has grown from a way to train youth leaders in Peru to a dance organization that has reached thousands. How have you stayed true to the reason you started D1?
Thanks to my connection with dance. When I dance, I connect to myself and to the essence of all. Thanks to the amazing team we have and also the fact that the team members are 80% graduates from the leadership program in Ángeles D1. With this, we guarantee that the leaders training the new generation are absolutely true to themselves and to D1.
You say that you showcase social integration through dance? How so?
We are a self-sustainable social program, thanks to our private school and production company. 90% of the teachers in the private school come from our social program and the students come from the neighborhoods in Lima. Our dance company is the reflection of this. We have 50% members from the school and the other half is part of Ángeles D1.
You’re bringing a group of students to the festival. Why is it so important for them to experience?
For many of them, this is their first time in the States and the first time to be in a festival as important as the R.Evolución Latina Festival. Traveling opens their minds and goals. We have many examples from our first visit to New York with the company. They are conquerors of the world. We tell them that they are absolutely able to reach their dreams and that it depends on them if they want to reach them. They are not victims because they were born in such difficult situations. They can decide what to be in the future.
You use dance to help train and teach young people. How did dance empower you as a young person?
It’s my passion and my addiction. I’m a different person when I dance. I’m connected to myself and to the essence of life. I’m connected to simple things and have the clarity in order to be thankful to the universe. I always say that when you give for real, without expecting anything, life gives you back so much more.
After ten years of amazing success, where does your dream go from here?
I want to continue changing my country. I want to continue being a reference to world leaders and organizations that lives are being transformed thanks to the arts.
What’s coming up for you apart from the festival?
We are opening three free spaces in Trujillo, Peru. We are organizing the 5th edition of our Pura Calle Festival, the most important dance festival in Latin America. Last year we had more than 250,000 participants over three days. The festival is going to be from June 10 through 13. We have a tour in Cusco, and also in Mexico and we are doing choreography for the musical Mamma Mia this year.
R.Evolución Latina’s Choreographers Festival 2016 runs from April 27 through May 1 at the Manhattan Movement + Arts Center 248 West 60th Street, NYC. Get your tickets HERE!
Coordinated by Heather Hogan
Interview by Ryan Brinson
Photography by Jason River