BWW Interviews: Dance Theatre of Tennessee's GUADALUPE MEDINA, This Dancer's Life

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In last February's Aspects of Love, Dance Theatre of Tennessee's midwinter concert featuring a wide variety of dance styles that perfectly showcased the superb talents of company members, Guadalupe Medina was featured along with Amanda Whites and Lisa Schmidt in Nuts, a contemporary piece set to "Beatles Go Baroque" by Peter Preiner and His Chamber Orchestra. Staged by DTT artistic director Christopher Mohnani, after the original choreography of R. Culalic, the smart and sprightly work exuded humor that was exemplified by the spirited dancing of the trio who presented the winning work with an easy grace, making it a sure favorite of the audience.

Last year, Medina was among the dancers featured in DTT's Swimming the Cumberland, a stirring evocation of the May 2010 floods that devastated much of Nashville and which gave the company dancers the opportunity to offer the cathartic work to appreciate audiences throughout Nashville, including a stunned crowd at First Night, The Nashville Theatre Honors in September, 2010.

With the summer quickly coming to an end and with an eye toward DTT's 2011-2012 season, Medina took the time to consider our question and to offer us a look inside "This Dancer's Life." Read and enjoy...

What is your first introduction to dance as an art form? I was introduced to dance at age seven. A family friend invited me and some friends to go and see Cinderella. I had never seen a ballet, so needless to say I was very interested in going to see it.

What was your first real job as a dancer? I actually had two experiences that I count as my first real job. One of which was my first guesting experience and the other was my first contract job. I had my first guesting in dance when I was a sophomore in college. It was a minor role but exciting none the less. I had my first contract right out of college. My contract was with the Jean Ann Ryan Production Company on Norwegian Cruise Lines. 

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in dance? I knew when I saw my first ballet that I wanted to be on stage and dance. However, It wasn't until I was a senior in high school that I began dancing.

Who is your dancing idol? My dancing idol would have to be Dwight Rhoden. He started dancing at 17, and has gone on to have an amazing career as a dancer and a choreographer.

Why do you pursue your art in Nashville? What are the best parts of working here? I pursued my art in Nashville because I knew it was a city in which art flourished and dance can flourish equally. The best parts of working in Nashville is the numerous opportunities for us, Dance Theatre of Tennessee, to perform as a company.

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What is your dream role as a dancer? If you could dance any role, what would it be and why? My dream role as a dancer would be to perform Petite Mort by Jiri Kylian. This would be the role of a lifetime. The movement in the ballet is amazing. The choreography is brilliant. It is a role that dancers dream to have.

What is the biggest spot on your resume? What role/work is your most favorite? The biggest spot on my resume would be, the Prince in Cinderella. It was my first lead role in a full length ballet. It is also my most favorite. It is my favorite because it was the first ballet I ever saw, and to be able to perform the role which initially sparked my interest in ballet was an amazing feeling and accomplishment.

What's the biggest misconception people have about dancers? For me, I would say that there are two big misconceptions people have about dancers. One being that most all dancers have eating problems or disorders. This is simply not the case. I have to say that I eat more than most people, and my friends will definitely attest to that. The other misconception people have is that they don't think that ballet dancers, or dancers in general, are athletes. Dancers train harder than most athletes I know, and dancers are trained to push past the pain and to look graceful while doing it.

Who would play you in the film version of your life story? I think Josh Duhamel would be a good fit to play me in my life story. 

What's your favorite work created for dancers to perform?  This would have to go along with my dream role as a dancer. I would definitely say Petite Mort by Jiri Kylian. 

If you could have dinner with ay three figures (living or dead, real or fictional) who are a part of the world of dance, who would you choose and why? I would choose George Balanchine, Marius Petipa, and Martha Graham. I would choose them because each of them was an amazing artist and choreographer, and I would want to know how and where they got their inspiration. 

Imagine a young person seeing you onstage or seeing a production in which you played a major role coming up to you and asking you for advice in pursuing their own dream... what would you say? I would definitely say to always push for what you believe in. Never let someone telling you no change your mind. There will always be someone telling you no, but it is up to you whether or not you push beyond them until you find the people that say yes.

 

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Jeffrey Ellis Jeffrey Ellis is a Nashville-based writer, editor and critic, who's been covering the performing arts in Tennessee for more than 25 years. He is the recipient of the Tennessee Theatre Association's Distinguished Service Award for his coverage of theatre in the Volunteer State and was the founding editor/publisher of Stages, the Tennessee Onstage Monthly. He is a past fellow of the National Critics Institute at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Center and is the founder/executive producer of The First Night Honors, held during Labor Day Weekend, which honor oustanding theater artists in Tennessee in recognition of their lifetime achievements and includes The First Night Star Awards and the Most Promising Actors. Midwinter's First Night, held the first Sunday in January after New Year's Day, honors outstanding productions and performances throughout the state. Further, Ellis directed the Nashville premiere of La Cage Aux Folles, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and An American Daughter, as well as award-winning productions of Damn Yankees, Company, Gypsy and The Rocky Horror Show, with Ellis honored by The Tennessean as best director of a musical for both Company and Rocky Horror.


 
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