Alexa Torres and Norma García
A ballet performance in Miami was enough to Alexa Torres to decide her professional future when she was three. At that age, most girls see themselves in the artists and want to be like them, but later they forget everything.
Alexa was determined but she was not admitted in the Ballet School of Santiago at the age of three, and as she never gave up, it was the gift of her fourth birthday. This was the beginning of an exciting life dedicated to dance guided by Norma Garcia, who was sent from his native Cuba and arrived to Santiago de los Caballeros in 1994 to inaugurate the Classic Ballet Santiago. Norma has not only been her teacher, but also her guidance through the years.
When she was nine years old she had already participated in national competitions. A few years later when she fourteen, a great opportunity reached her, she was accepted to the elite and expensive Kirov Academy in Washington where only one hundred students of the world are chosen. A very hard overcoming stage begins because she has to learn how to live far away from her family and to face maximum discipline. In the first year after an injury she learned that the most important thing for a dancer is to take care of her body. Warming up, stretching and knowing how to treat each muscle for maximum performance without injury. Today she is a third-year student, and she has managed to be 100% scholarship, something that rarely happens in the academy.
Her teachers recognize that Alexa is a hope of ballet today and will be one of the most sought-after dancers worldwide tomorrow. Talent and discipline could describe her but in fact is the aura she gives off on stage what makes her different from the rest, the aura of the greatest.
We talked to the two protagonists of this story Alexa, to tell us how is the taste of success at such a young age and Norma, to learn how a Cuban woman arrives to the country in order to teach our children something as beautiful as ballet is.
Do you think you have sacrificed something for your voca tion? Do you feel that you have paid a price for bringing to end your desire to dance?
For some people it is a sacrifi ce but not for me. I missed a lot of parties and events in my adolescence but I did what really made me feel totally fulfi lled. Perhaps many young people had not sacrifi ced ... I also had to leave behind my family and friends but every time I have a chance I visit them and they come to see me and we had fun.
On the contrary, have you experienced unique emotions by having chosen art as the first option?
For me, art is everything. When I’m dancing I’m in my greatest happiness and I enjoy it tremendously. Dancing provides me an unexplainable feeling and when I’m on stage I know that ballet is my life.
How does influence the family support in a future professional dancer?
My family supports me fully. My mom and dad have been by my side all my life helping me and fi ghting for me. My dad has been always saying to me, “Eye of the tiger” and my mother reminding me that “where there’s a will, there’s a way” My mom is my role model I also have the support of all my family and friends and I am very grateful...
What is the classic ballet that you’d like to perform and with whom?
It would defi nitely like to perform the Don Quixote ballet with Roberto Bolle.
What does the Ballet of Santiago mean to you?
It’s where I grew up, where I trained. It has always been like a second home.
What is your professional goal?
I want to join to a European company like Stuttgart, Royal or BayerischesStaats.
Who do you admire?
I really admire Lucia Lacarra. She is a fi rst dancer in the BayerischesStaatsballet in Munich, Germany.
Can you describe a typical day for you?
I have academic classes in the morning (literature, history, etc ...) and then I have dance class until 6 or 7 pm.
Can you define the most important moment up to now in your career?
I think it was when I represented my country in CNN Español. I have had many important moments but that’s the latest one.
What international ballet company do you admire most? Do you see yourself dancing for some of them or do you have a more personal project?
I really admire the ballet of Russia as the Bolshoi or Mariinksy. The truth is that they are exceptional and my dream as far as I remember was the Bolshoi. I see myself in other companies because I feel that ballet is growing in other places like Germany and England.
How and when did you arrive to Dominican Republic?
I arrived in the country together with other teachers in 1992. We were sent by the University of Art of Cuba to create a mid-level art institute in Santiago de los Caballeros.
Do you consider to have a gained or innate ability to identify a talented dancer?
I think my ability to see the talent from the beginning is innate, and many years of experience in dance are added to this.
Would it be enough talent and fitness to be a good dancer or these two features need to combine with other things?
Talent and fitness are enough to be a good dancer, but to be an outstanding dancer in the ballet, you need more. Discipline and total commitment are essential.
What professional side do you have enjoyed more, dancing or teaching?
I've enjoyed everything depending on the different times of my life. It is very important for me to be creative, choreographer, I really enjoy it.
What are the characteristic features of your teaching method?
Ballet ethics, discipline, a program of a recognized school which in my case is the Cuban School of Ballet and pay attention to each student individually. All this must be present; it is the "magic" formula.
How do you see the Classic Ballet Santiago? Is it a legitimate child conceived by a maternal desire or a territorial need that led you to a dream come true? Do you think it can be considered as a reference for art schools in the country?
I see it as an institution that contributes to the development of students and professionals every day as well as the growth of public that is present in each staging.
Could the scope of teaching work be measured by concrete results through outstanding figures?
Yes, it could be measured through the artistic and academic performance and also by the results of the staging, the dancers are trained for the overall result on stage that depends on many other elements.
What is your opinion about the place Alexa Torres is occupying in dance?
I should not answer that question, the results talk by themselves.
How do you see the future for her? At some point did you realized that she could go far?
Alexa is an outstanding student and a pride for her country. Her future can be brilliant, I always knew, it is just enough to look at her CV at Classic Ballet of Santiago.
We have proudly echoed the great advances of Alexa who will soon be seen among the best professional-level dancers in the world. She will never forget that all was thought up one day when she was a little girl at the Classic Ballet school of Santiago hand Norma. Even though she has a lot of work to do due to she is too young, she is sure now, as she was at the age of three of being a ballet dancer that after her professional career she will be back to her native Santiago to teach and transmit to all children, having or not financial resources, her knowledge and experience. That is other of her dreams.
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