How did you get into dancing?
I got into dancing when I moved from the Azores to Lisbon to achieve my degree in Public Administration and Management. At the time, the majority of my friends at the University were from different PALOP countries. A part of getting to know them was also to learn about their cultural background. A couple of years later I ended up living with friends from Angola, sharing their culture on a day to day basis where music and dance are a constant. It goes beyond just going out to clubs or listening to music at home, but also involves Sunday lunches, home parties, family gatherings, engagement parties and weddings.
I have been dancing informally since 2001 and I was fortunate enough to meet great people and amazing dancers that shaped me in my journey, but it was only in 2012 that things took a different turn after taking part in ÁfricAdançar and partnering up with Bonifacio.
What projects are you currently working on?
In terms of my current projects, I am planning some teacher’s training in seven different cities (Arizona, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Detroit, London, Kuala Lumpur and Lisbon). I’m also organizing my 2019 calendar in a way that my bookings may allow me a good balance in between work and family life, while at the same time working towards building a Kizomba community in Oceanside, California.
What’s been the most memorable moment of your journey as a dancer so far?
It’s very difficult for me to narrow this down to specific moments. I’ve had the pleasure of working and collaborating with so many talented instructors and those collaborations are always precious to me. However, I can’t deny that being able to stand on my own in such a difficult industry as a solo artist gave me an undeniable sense of pride.
Most of all it filled me with a sense of collective pride because it is one more step towards breaking down barriers for women in Kizomba. It is not easy for some to believe that a woman can teach Kizomba full time, to be respected by peers whilst building her own space. This lets women know that they do not only need to focus on teaching classes for ladies or rely on seductive attributes to achieve success.
What advice would you give to up & coming dancers looking at you for inspiration?
To the new upcoming dancers what I can say is: be humble, work hard, have passion for what you do. Don’t take yourselves too seriously and don’t let a false sense of popularity blind you. If you are also in the process of becoming a teacher, look for someone who can mentor you, keep educating yourselves, keep training and striving to be not just a better dancer but especially a better teacher.
What can we expect from you for the rest of 2018?
Since the start of 2018, I have worked mostly outside of the US, so now it’s time to be a bit more in the country and closer to home. To finish the year I will have a 6 days teachers training in Arizona, also workshops in Phoenix, Tucson, Inland Empire and North County, as well as Seattle Salsa Festival and Queen City Kizomba Festival.