What is your background in dance?
The short answer is, I have been dancing for 32 years, beginning with jazz, tap, ballet, lyrical & gymnastics when I was 12. Then I found partner dance in my early 20’s and began a competitive career in ballroom & latin. for 17 years I focused on ballroom, salsa & tango. After retiring from competition, I became more involved with choreography for musical theater and television. I am now travelling between L.A., Panamá and China teaching and choreographing.
How did you get involved with Movement Exchange?
I found an advertisement through California Dance Network for the 1st exchange, and I was already searching for ways to volunteer in Latin America… so it was perfect!
What is your fondest memory of your exchange?
Wow… just one? One exchange, many of my dancer friends from L.A. joined me. It is a bonding and eyeopening experience that changed our lives for the better, encouraging a more generous & grateful spirit. There are countless moments with the children, one I will never forget is when Nicole ( a 4 year old at the time) wanted my lipbalm, and after I put a little on her finger, she became my best frined and never left my side… taking my lipbalm and constantly putting it on my lips 🙂
How do you define Dance Diplomat?
A person who desires and strives to encourage sharing & freedom in movement to enhance ones life in countless ways. Enjoyment, self-respect, creativity, unity, development of a skill and an awareness of the discipline needed to improve.
What has Movement Exchange taught you?
Again, so many lessons, I don’t know where to start. One unforgettable lesson is to constantly remind myself to get my ego out of the way. Often, it is easy to forget that everyone needs something unique from us, our attention, our love, our skills, our time… etc. When I remove my ego, and listen to what the kids are saying (with words as well as body language), I can be more open to what they need as opposed to what I may “think” they need. A lesson that changes my life for the better everyday!
Who is your favorite choreographer?
Louis VanAmstel, Gene Kelly, Daniel Cloud Campos… to name a few.
What is the most compelling performance you have ever seen?
There are numerous, and so many different styles & emotions, but one I will never forget is the “Balé Folclórico de Bahia”.
What’s your biggest accomplishment so far?
I have won US competitions, choreographed for TV, short film & theater… but I would say it’s the loyalty & love I receive from the kids and casts that I’ve been blessed to work with these past 5 years.
Where’s the most exotic place you have been?
How many languages do you speak? Which ones?
1.75… English, some Spanish and enough Mandarin to teach a dance class 🙂
What is one thing on your bucket list?
Write a musical about being behind the scenes of the Chinese musicals I’ve been working on.
What’s something most people don’t know about you?
Hmmmm… secrets? I really don’t know… maybe that my 1st name is Lisa 🙂
If you could time travel, where and why?
I am fascinated with the here & now.
What are some of your other hobbies?
Tai Chi, Afro-Cuban drumming, photography, writing, reading non-fiction, travelling.
If you had a tagline/motto what would it be?
Paz y risa… peace & laughter!
What three words come to mind when you think of India?
Gandhi, music, food.
Do you think Movement Exchange would be valuable in India?
Why? Yes, i believe a positive influence in movement/dance is useful anywhere!
Why do you dance?
Music! I hear music and i feel the need to move… sometimes free & sometimes for the sake of discipline or training. But music is my real magic and motivation! Then I become part of the music. I can communicate so much more through movement & music than simple words… it is a world of communication between myself and my surroundings.