Miguel Miranda is a freshman studying dance at Montclair State University. Miranda’s love for dance inspired him to emigrate from Peru to pursue a career in dance in the United States. Miranda spoke with The Montclarion video editor Annabel Reyes about how he got started and what his plans are for the future.
Q. When did you start dancing?
A: I started dancing at a very young age, around 10 years old in my country, Peru. I was always dancing as a kid and my family saw my passion and supported me in what I wanted to do. When I got to high school I started taking dance classes and doing folkloric dance and just kept doing it. There was a little company that I was a part of in my high school and we won some competitions. It’s not about the competitions or how many awards you get, but that’s how I got started.
Q. How was your experience dancing in Peru as opposed to dancing here at Montclair State University?
A: When I finished high school, I knew I wanted to dance but only a few schools in Peru offered dancing as a career. One school was too expensive and the other one didn’t have a good dance program. During that transition period, I actually studied acting at an acting school for one year. I really enjoyed it and then I met Jaime Lema and he offered a class called, “El Actor Bailarín,” which means “The Dancing Actor.” He then organized an international dance program in Lima, Peru, featuring international and non-international dancers. This led to Amelia Uzategui, an alumna of Juilliard, becoming my mentor. I followed her lead and she opened my eyes to the world of dance.
Because of Amelia, I met the Brazilian choreographer, Sergio Berto, who invited me to dance in one of his choreographies. Then, I met the director of Ballet San Marcos. She liked my dancing and invited me to be a part of her dance company. My transition to dance was not common because instead of pursuing my dance career and then joining a company, I joined a company and then decided to pursue a career.
Q. Why do you love dancing?
A: I like to dance because there is always something new to be discovered in dance and I like to feel that emotion not only when I’m in my classes, but also during a performance. I feel different, I feel free and sure of myself. When I come out of class I feel proud of myself and I love that feeling, that emotion that dance makes me feel.
Q. What kind of dances do you do?
A: When I have time, I practice what my background in dance is in, which is Peruvian folkloric dance. I use my Peruvian folkloric background in my improv because I love to improv. When I improv, I feel like I truly recognize myself. After folkloric dance and improv, contemporary was the second kind of dance I started learning and I like it because in Peru we would go to the floor, do floor work and start jumping. I enjoy it a lot.
Q. Why did you decide to pursue dancing at Montclair State?
A: I decided to study at Montclair State because I liked the dance program that is offered here and because after a short time being here in the United States, I got to know a few of the faculty members in the school of dance like Professor Lisa Grimes. I was also working with Earl Mosley, which made coming here an easy decision to make. I felt like I was a part of a family.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
A: My goals for the future are to take in as much information as I can about dance because then I can share my knowledge with the dancers back in my home country. This way I can continue to develop my craft in Peru as well. My ultimate objective is not to dance in a company, but to become a choreographer at a company or school. This is why I want to take in all that Montclair State has to offer.