Dance Mogul: What was it like growing up in the Bronx?
Gilberto Vazquez: As a young boy growing up in the Bronx was tough due to all the drug dealers and the gang bangers I was surrounded by and the only thing that kept me safe and sane was the bonds I grew from my friends. Growing up I was really into dancing I was rather more into playing card games and watching anime TV shows and playing sports. I would’ve considered myself being a nerd actually. Martial arts was my main outlet because I looked up to Bruce Lee and I wanted to be just like him and to also protect myself when the day came that I would be in danger. My passion for dancing grew once I started my freshman year of high school when a childhood rivalry with my best friend got more competitive. As I started practicing and learning different styles I knew I didn’t wanna lose to him and as I got better in dancing a spark grew in me that kept me alive and happy and from then on the burning passion of dance was born.
Dance Mogul: What music videos inspired your dancing?
Gilberto Vazquez: Watching music videos wasn’t as inspiring to me as it may have been for other people. During the time I started dancing is when Chris Brown was becoming the dance icon for the youth and he did have somewhat of an aspiring motive for me but that might be just as far as that goes.
Dance Mogul: What was it like working for a theater program?
Gilberto Vazquez: Working for Ready for Life Theater was the best thing that could’ve ever happened to me due to where I came from to where I am now. Having the privilege to teach dance and work with amazing artists of all types of art was truly a blessing for me. The movement was to reach out to troubled kids in schools and encourage them to stay in school and become successful. Through our movement, I got to meet some amazing dancers and because of that I joined my first crew called “perfect imperfection”. But overall through all of our performances and spreading awareness of the failing community, we managed to save lives and get people on track and there’s no better feeling than knowing you saved a life.
Dance Mogul: What were some of the success stories of you keeping the kids off the streets via the program?
Gilberto Vazquez: Some of our successes were having kids join our program and have them do community services and perform at homeless shelters to inspire the people and let them know they can’t give up. We also had trips to basketball games for the kids in school that wanted to play ball but couldn’t due to their grades and helped them to reach their goals in joining their school’s teams. Our biggest success story was having one of our kids back down from joining a gang and is now finishing college and is studying engineering.
Dance Mogul: What is it like working for Rico Davis?
Gilberto Vazquez: Working for Rico Davis was fun and exciting! He was one of the artists I met from Ready for Life Theater. His music is dope and has that feel that you either have to bop or dance to it. Dancing to his songs was definitely fun and is something ill look forward to again not to mention his single release parties were off the chain and performing there too was also fun.
Dance Mogul: What do you want your legacy to be?
Gilberto Vazquez: What I want my legacy to be is for all the people I’ve trained and taught I want them to keep pushing the ready for life movement and to never give up on the people that need help because at the end of the day we all need help in some sort of way and I’m grateful to have helped people become better people and I wouldn’t want anything more than for people to still have that drive to help others.
Dance Mogul: Anybody you want to thank for helping you on your journey?
Gilberto Vazquez: I want to thank Franco Rosado, omen, Dee Dee, diamond, Chris Michael, Violeta, ed nelson, and Shocke a lock for helping through my journey and exchanging words of wisdom and encouragement to help me be better in my craft and to be a better choreographer and for never giving up on me!