Karla Sandoval | Dance Mogul Magazine Exclusive Interview

Dance Mogul Exclusive Interview…

Dance Mogul: What was it like developing as a dancer in your country?
Karla Sandoval: I started my dance journey when I was nine years old, and by the time I was twelve, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was lucky to be training at a well-known studio in my area in Mexico. I had the opportunity to train in different dance styles and go to dance competitions where I met dancers and choreographers from all over the world, allowing me to explore my dance and develop into the dancer I wanted to be. Back in my early dance days, there weren’t as many opportunities for a career in Mexico that wasn’t being a ballerina; that definitely made me question my goals for my dancing, but I never let it overcome me, so I just persisted until I found that there was something I could do, that I fit in.

Dance Mogul: Did your family support you dancing?
Karla Sandoval: Thankfully, my family has always supported my dancing; my parents are my biggest supporters; they took me to every dance competition, picked me up from long-hour rehearsals, and did everything that was in their hands for me to keep dancing even when times were hard. I think they always knew this was more than a hobby; they loved seeing my passion every time I was on a stage.

Dance Mogul: Who were some of your mentors and initial inspirations?
Karla Sandoval: At the start of my journey, I was taken under the wing of my studio director; she was the one who shared her passion for dance with me and taught me everything I knew from the ages of nine years old to twenty years old, she became my mentor when I started teaching and allowed me to explore choreographing too.
I have always found inspiration in Pop artists, how big their shows are, and how they perform like no one else. I looked up to Shakira, Beyonce, and JLO; watching their concerts and music videos drove me to train in commercial and street styles.

Dance Mogul: When did you realize you wanted to be a professional?
Karla Sandoval: I think I didn’t know what the words “professional dancer” meant until later in my journey. I knew I wanted to dance but didn’t know where that would take me.
When I graduated high school, I was trying to decide where to go to college, and then I came to the realization that I didn’t want to go to school for a degree that wasn’t dance-related; that’s when I started to research about going abroad to pursue dance, sadly there are not many college-level schools in Mexico where dance is an option for a degree let alone commercial dance, I think there is none. As I was thinking about how I could get a degree in dance, I stumbled across Peridance Center in NYC and decided to do the two-year certificate program, which I graduated from last fall.

Dance Mogul: What are some of the ups and downs you encountered on your dance journey?
Karla Sandoval: It has definitely been a rollercoaster ride; as of this year, I have been a dancer for over 17 years; some of my down moments have been being told I am not enough, having to accept the “no’s” from a lot of people and places, not knowing where this journey was going to take me and feeling overwhelmed by it, not being able to have my family next to me to celebrate big accomplishments. But these definitely overshadowed by my ups, which, as of now, are moving to a different country to dance, meeting people from all over the world, discovering and being part of the street dance community, and growing as a dancer in an unimaginable way in the last three years, finding my purpose every day, and many many more.

Dance Mogul: Tell us about your current projects.
Karla Sandoval: There are many exciting things coming for 2024; I recently started dancing for Metamorphosis, a contemporary dance company led by Allana Loraine. I’m currently a company member of Sun Kim Dance Theater, and we are starting the 2024 season this month. For the past few months, I have been under the mentorship of Tia Rivera, who has helped me tap into my brand and path to excel in the commercial dance world.

Dance Mogul: What advice do you have for the next generation of dancers and dance educators?
Karla Sandoval: Something I always say to my friends and something I have to remind myself often is that everyone has a different time, everyone has a different path, and the expectations we have for ourselves should never be compared to someone else’s career. There is so much out there to be explored, so many places where you are wanted, and so many things you can still create; dance is limitless.

Dance Mogul: What would like your dance legacy to be?
Karla Sandoval: I want to inspire people to tap into their strongest form of dance as an artist; I want to create dance and perform dance in a way where people can feel they’ve watched something more than just a dance. I want my work to inspire people to break out from fear and follow their biggest aspirations, and I also want my journey to be filled with joy and love from the people closest to me.

Dance Mogul: Is there anyone you’d like to thank for helping you?
Karla Sandoval: I will eternally thank my family for being as supportive as they are with my dreams, my friends back in Mexico who believed in me since day ONE, and every teacher I have crossed paths with who has allowed me to be me. I learned I can be any type of dancer I want to be: my friends in NY, who I have learned more from than everything else, and NY itself for giving me the chance.

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