NAME, GRADE, PRONOUNS?
Michaela Ramirez, 10th grade, she/her Michaela Ramirez 23'
WHAT ARE YOU MOST LOOKING FORWARD TO, ONCE WE ARE IN PERSON?
Once we are back at school, I am most looking forward to dancing with my peers in person again. I miss the energy that is created in the studio when we are all dancing together, it is so special and it pushes me to go past my limits. It's different when dancing at home because, yes we are all on the same zoom call but you feel so isolated and secluded from everyone and it's not as fun as being in the presence of all your friends doing what you all love to do.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO FOR YOUR NEXT 3 YEARS AT LACHSA?
I'm looking forward to taking composition classes during junior and senior year because I enjoy creating and just letting my body do what it wants to do. I feel that having a designated class to work on creating pieces and choreography is so important and will be very beneficial. Choreographing is enjoyable for me but I can't do it as much as I'd like right now since I'm so busy, so it will be nice to have that set-out time to create. I also am looking forward to honing in on my own movement and growing it through the guidance of my LACHSA teachers and looking forward to strengthening my technique to become the best dancer that I can be. Lastly, I'm looking forward to continuing dancing with my friends and strengthening friendships, creating new friendships, and supporting each other through the years to come.
WHEN DID YOU START DANCING?
My mom first put me in dance when I was 5 years old, because when I was younger I used to be very clumsy and was constantly falling all over the place so one of my doctors suggested that she should put me in dance so I could gain more awareness and coordination of my body. Since then I fell in love with it and continued taking classes. I am now 16, that's about 11 years, so dance has been a big part of my life. Despite all the joy I gained from dancing, I faced many struggles within the art education environment as a person of color. When I was about 8 years old I became passionate for ballet, which is seen as a primarily European style of dance. I am a 2nd generation Mexican American and because of my ethnicity, I have been told by European ballet teachers that I shouldn't do ballet and that maybe I should try Folklórico (Latinx folk dance) instead. I was told that "no one would ever hire a ballerina that looked like me". This amongst other things was hard to hear at such a young age. Though I was not believed in through many of my past dance teachers, I was lucky enough to have such a big support system through my family who would always cheer me on and tell me what I needed to hear in times of doubt. My mom always told me that if you want people to see what you're capable of you have to show them yourself and exceed all the expectations they had already set for you. She taught me to take these discouraging words and turn them into motivation to keep going, which I did. I am so happy that I listened to her and didn't let the words get to me because now I am at one of the best art schools in the country with great teachers who show everyone so much support whether they plan on pursuing dance after LACHSA or not. I've never had such wonderful teachers and peers who believe in and want the best for me. The community at LACHSA has made me see what an art education environment should be like and has grown my love for dance so much more and I am thankful for that.
WHAT STYLE SOLO DID YOU AUDITION WITH? Michaela Ramirez 23'
I auditioned with a one-minute contemporary/modern solo choreographed by one of my dance mentors outside of LACHSA, Ashley Yano.
HOW DO YOU FEEL LACHSA HAS HELPED YOU AFTER BEING HERE FOR A YEAR HAS IT HELPED YOU GROW?
Through my year and a half at LACHSA, I have seen tremendous growth. The dance department is a very technique-based program and I can tell that all the challenging classes have paid off and are shown through my dancing. I have seen that my technique has improved from the ballet and modern classes. What helped the most was specifically the Horton technique classes taught by Ms. Yuka Fukuda. This class was challenging in the amount of strength required to do all the movements, but I can tell that I have become much stronger from the exercises and class as a whole. I can also see that the way I move and my movement quality has differed and grown. I link this to the Dunham classes taught by Ms. Anindo Marshall. This class has taught me how to let loose and not be so stiff in my movement as well as learning the history behind Dunham and the culture that surrounds it.