My earliest recollection of a curiosity about dance was watching Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies with my grandmother and my cousins as a toddler in the Philippines. And when we were done with those classics, we moved on to iconic American dance films like A Chorus Line, Footloose, Turning Point, Flashdance, West Side Story, and White Nights. My young mind and spirit were totally captivated.
A few years later in elementary school, hip-hop captured my attention and became my first introduction as a dancer. But it wouldn’t be until more than a decade later after moving to the United States that I would take my first formal dance class(modern) at nineteen during my freshman year at the University of Washington.
Overcoming the challenge of mastering a new language and adjusting to vastly different cultural norms after immigrating to the United States with family, my high school years were spent preparing for a career in aeronautics. I entered the university as an engineering major on a full academic scholarship, but instead graduated four years later with a BA in Dance.
The sudden turn came about after ending eight years of serious gymnastics training. I needed to do something different that incorporated the physicality I missed in gymnastics with my love of music. So I took a risk by registering for a Dance 101 class at the University of Washington in the spring semester of my freshman year.
That was 1993. It wasn’t until I saw a work in the faculty concert called ‘Dance forSeven,’ choreographed by famed New York City-based choreographer Zvi Gotheiner, that a spark (more accurately an explosion) of interest completely changed my life. After seeing that beautiful, memorable and haunting piece of work, I knew that I was ready to devote my life to the beauty and meaning I found in dance.
One powerful moment on stage marked the beginning of a remarkable journey that to this day continues to evolve. My life has been forever changed by this incredible art form.
Dance has been an integral part of my life. Whether choreographing, teaching, or performing, I share my passion and love for a most amazing and timeless art form, inspiring and invigorating the spirits of all dancers.
I invite dancers (and the audience) to look inward, to allow emotion back into their structured lives. In a time of unprecedented technological growth and rapid change, it is increasingly difficult to be connected to our own feelings. Everything from our work to events to communication occurs with lightning speed in a world too often unkind toward reflection and understanding. We end up living out our days too instinctually – in patterns, redundancy, and routine – in ways non-conducive to artistry, self-expression, and innovation.
My life’s work is to teach dancers to look at themselves, to provoke insight through introspection and to instill an unwavering passion for dance. Through dance I inspire my students, my dancers, and my audience to embark on a personal journey, to honestly express themselves, without self-doubt or fear of other’s criticism, and in the process – and perhaps most importantly – becoming personally motivated to rise above an existence of mediocrity.
Welcome to my domain, to my world, where you dance because you love it, dance because you live it, and dance because you have nothing to prove and everything to share.