Samantha Taborda

  • after-school dance program, bgirl, Change Happens, contemporary dance, inertia dance company, Isadora Duncan, Les Twins, positivity, samantha taborda

Published April 21, 2020 on DanceTalks
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Andrea Cody:

Hello and welcome to DanceTalks. Today is April 18, 2020. My guest is Samantha Taborda. She’s a lover of contemporary dance. She’s a dancer, teacher, and choreographer for Dance Houston.

Sam, thank you for being a part of DanceTalks.

Samantha Taborda:

Yay! Thank you for having me. I’m very excited.

Andrea Cody:

Thank you. Take us back to the beginning of your journey becoming a dancer. What are your first memories dancing?

Samantha Taborda:

We will have to go way back. I was actually four years old, now that I thought about it. My mom, I was in daycare, and my mom put me in a dance program that the daycare offered. I wasn’t sure if they did it for one semester, per se. I know for sure around the fall, but I don’t really have a memory for the spring. But I did a little ballet, just to stay active. It was really fun. It was really cute. We did a show in front of our parents. So, that was one.

My next chapter in my journey was actually elementary. I was in, when I was in elementary school, and I was in an after school program called Eagle’s Nest. They offered a dance program, for sure, only for one semester in the fall. It was fun. We learned hip hop. I’d never learned that in my life. I actually learned the butterfly. That’s what they called it back then.

Andrea Cody:

Yes.

Samantha Taborda:

To Ciara, One Two Step. It was really cool. It was my first time actually going, “Oh my god, this is fun.” I was nervous but it was really fun. And then I didn’t dance for a while because there weren’t any other programs that were offered. I started dance, in a fun way, after my experience in elementary school in middle school when I was at West Briar Middle School. In sixth grade I had to decide whether to do gym or dance, and I thought, “Well, let me do dance, because I actually like it.”

So I was in a beginner’s dance and I actually had fun. This was during my freshman as a middle schooler. There were auditions to be a part of the dance company in the school. I did try out in sixth grade and seventh grade. Seventh grade I didn’t make it to the company but I made it into the intermediate class, and at that time, while I was in seventh grade, that’s when I started loving dance more and I wanted to do more with it. Also because I did see the members in the dance company doing so well and seeing how they performed and what their skills were and everything. I thought, “Oh my gosh, I want to do it.”

The director was Lynn Reynolds. I made sure I was practicing and everything, and I did try out in seventh grade for Fusion Dance Company. That’s what it was called at the time.

Andrea Cody:

And that was Lynn Reynolds?

Samantha Taborda:

Yeah, Lynn Reynolds.

Andrea Cody:

Lynn Reynolds, okay. So you got the spot on Fusion?

Samantha Taborda:

Fusion Dance Company, that’s what it was called, yeah. Lynn Reynolds was my director, and we did have a male director as well. His name was Slim. That’s what we called him, just Slim. He’s more of the hip hop hopper guy, and I remember before I started my year in eighth grade, I actually took a summer dance class to improve on my skills, especially with ballet, because I had no skills in that at all. I was very much a beginner. I did learn in ballet and I’m glad I did, because obviously you need ballet. Anything you learn with modern contemporary, anything that we have to learn.

I had a really fun time and then I met a great friend. That’s actually when I met Shamond Powell, Mr. S. Yeah, so it was really cool. Then during my year with Fusion Dance Company we did travel to Corpus Christi to perform shows and everything, and I started really loving it a lot more, and especially because I was very shy. Again, I did not have a strong background in dance, so I will let you know, how I am now I was never like this back then ever. I did not know how to perform with facial expressions. All I knew was just to smile and dance, smile and dance. If there was a dance I had to do that did not regard smiling, I didn’t take serious. 

Then when we were going to perform out of Westside High School, that’s when I found out about Inertia Dance Company. When I saw them perform, oh my gosh, I thought, “I want to be a part of that.” It was so different, and just seeing the type of dances they did, they motivated me to do something so much more and I wanted to keep going. I did go to Westside High School. I don’t know if you hear it in the background, but that’s my cat coughing up a hairball. Yeah, if you heard a wheezing sound, it’s not me. It’s the cat.

I did audition for Inertia Dance Company, even though I was still new and I still didn’t have a lot in me to be in that company, I still tried. No matter what I wanted to be where I can take myself to. I did perform, I mean, I did audition, and I didn’t make it to Inertia Dance Company, but I did make it to what was called back then Dance 3. I was not on a beginner level in high school. I was actually, I think it was more, if I can remember correctly, maybe it was like advanced because there was certain class levels that was from beginner all the way up to Inertia. There was beginner, and I believe there was Dance at the time, I think there was Dance 2 at the time. I don’t remember. But then there was Dance 3, which was the class I made, and then there was Dance 4 that was ahead of us, and then Inertia.

I was happy to be a part of Dance 3. Still nervous, because I was a freshman and I’m doing dance and I’m like, “Oh, I don’t know how. I don’t know what to do.” But it was really exciting and I was really happy. Oh my gosh, and then my freshman year in Dance 3 where I was still at Westside High School, that was when I learned how to perform. I remember the dance. The dance was called Cry Baby by CeeLo Green, and that was when I actually showed my true potential of how much a performer I was. Even though I didn’t have the skills as a ballet where I could do five turns or fouettes or big leaps, I was able to show how well I did perform and that was when I just became more myself and learning about myself.

It was actually Ms. Roberts, Sharon Roberts, who is the director of Inertia Dance Company. She saw how well I performed for Cry Baby and I remember she told me, “I can tell that this is your dance.” She could tell straight off the bat. Then I decided to go ahead and try out for Inertia Dance Company because why not. Go for it, don’t give up. I tried out and I had a sprained ankle at the time. 

Andrea Cody:

Oh, man.

Samantha Taborda:

I know. It was sprained. It didn’t affect it as much, but it was like, no, I want to do great turns. I want to do well with the dances we had to learn, because the ones we were learning, they were modern. I think one was contemporary, but one was for sure modern. I was like, “No, I’ve got to get this. I want to do well.” I auditioned and I made it to Inertia and that made my day. That made my day. Inertia changed me as a performer and as a dancer myself, because I was in Inertia Dance Company through my sophomore, junior, and senior years. All three years I was there. It was nothing but amazing.

While I was there actually I was able to perform at the Minute Maid Park for a private event that they did. I also performed with the Houston Symphony as well. We also performed with the Dallas Mavericks halftime show. We had to compete for that spot, and thank goodness we did because we took that spot, Inertia got it. We were just so amazing. It was just awesome. But Inertia really did brought me a lot of great opportunities and experiences that I never thought I would, especially with the Houston Symphony. Oh my gosh, never I would have thought that in years.

Also, that was also a dance company Mr. S. and I were in together as well. He was also my dance partner there too so we loved it. We loved Inertia. Also, during my senior year in Inertia I was trying to break a barrier to me as a female. Obviously, it’s really hard for females to, how do I say, to show that they can do more than what other people think they can only do, like limit. Oh, girls can only do ballet and modern and this. They can’t do hip hop or break dancing and everything. I wanted to show people that that’s not the case.

Andrea Cody:

Cool.

Samantha Taborda:

I proved, I didn’t think that I could. I can do some breakdancing moves and I could do some hip hop, because, who cares? And also, I’m short. I’m 5’2″, so people think because I’m also small, because I will say I was bullied when I was in high school. People thought because I’m small and I don’t know much about dance that I can’t go higher than I could. I proved people wrong. Like, no, I can do it. It was great. Also, there was this one time. I’m sorry, I have to say this.

I will always remember my senior year. We were in a formation. Inertia, well, I was in an Inertia practice. I believe it was in the summer before school started. We were in a formation and we did a girl, boy, girl, boy line. I was supposed to obviously be in the girls’ line, because yeah, and obviously I wasn’t paying attention because I don’t know what happened. Or I was tired of playing. I don’t remember. But I was standing in between the girl and the boys’ line, and then Ms. Roberts said, “Sam, what line are you going to be in? The girls’ or the boys’ line?” I was like, “Oh, I don’t know.” So I went back to the girls’ line because that’s where I was, and then obviously the members of Inertia started laughing a little bit because they thought it was funny.

But then Ms. Roberts said, “You guys can laugh all you want, but Sam is the only girl that can do both the girls’ and the guys’ end.” I was happy with that. I will always remember that. Yeah, it was great. Then I want to say after I graduated from high school I actually stopped dancing for a while.

Andrea Cody:

When was that? When did you graduate high school?

Samantha Taborda:

I graduated in May of 2014. Then after I graduated high school, I actually stopped dancing, and I didn’t dance again until I was in the Central Ensemble Dance Company in HCC. It was in spring of 2015. I did that for one semester, and also it was a class credit, and I was like, “I want to do dance again. I missed it a little bit.” So I did. And I stopped. Then Shamond Powell, he introduced me to you. It was the beginning, I think it was the following spring. Ever since he introduced me to you in Dance Houston, that was when I knew I couldn’t keep dance out of my life. I knew it was a part of me.

Ever since I was in Dance Houston, it was really different because it’s not your regular school company. You come in, practice, you perform. No, it’s actually much more. It made me learn more about what I can do to represent myself, not just a company that I auditioned for. I actually have to thank you for that, because I actually learned swing when I was a part of it, so that was fun. Also being a part of Norma Miller and Swing, Baby, Swing!, that was so fun. Teaching the No Limits Dance Camp for the past two years was really fun. And learning The Big Apple, my gosh. That was so fun. I still remember every time I hear it and everything.

Then, yeah, to this day I’m still teaching and I really have to thank Dance Houston for it, because I have to say if it wasn’t for Dance Houston, I don’t think I would be doing what I am doing right now, to be able to teach and to be able to teach other students what I have learned and what I’ve gone through to make sure they don’t feel that way. That was great.

Andrea Cody:

I’m glad it’s been so good for you.

Samantha Taborda:

Yes, it has been. I have to thank you and I have to thank Shamond for that, because if he didn’t introduce me to you, then I don’t think it would have happened. I will not lie. I thought Dance Houston was awesome. I was like, “How do I become a part of them? I don’t know what to do.” I was shy. I was very shy back then. A highlight I had was actually, it was Les Twins. It was back in 2000… I’m trying to remember. My God, it was so long ago. I met Les Twins in 2018. I have some notes here. It was the weekend of April 27th, 2018. There was a Red Bull BC1 camp here and they were the ones that actually inspired me to start dancing, because they were twins but they did not care what anyone else thinks did at the time. They just did their own thing. They did their style and they were true to that.

I met them, which I never thought I would meet my inspiration in person, and I actually battled them them, which was so cool. It was the best thing ever.

Andrea Cody:

Awesome.

Samantha Taborda:

Yeah, I never thought that would ever happen. I mean, I even cried when I met them. That one was really great. And then also meeting Phillip, who was in America’s Best Dance Crew. Oh my God, he’s so cool. Meeting him, too, in Houston for the H-Town Get Down back in 2018, that was cool, too.

Andrea Cody:

Phillip Chbeeb?

Samantha Taborda:

Yeah, he is so great. When I saw him compete with his dance crew, I thought, “Oh, that’s fresh. I hope I meet him.” He’s really good. His style is very different, very different. I mean, his work is impeccable, in my opinion, especially what he posts. I never thought I would meet him, so meeting him and the Les Twins, oh my God. The Les Twins was my inspiration.

Andrea Cody:

Right on.

Samantha Taborda:

Oh yeah.

Andrea Cody:

Tell us about contemporary dance. What does it mean? what is it?

Samantha Taborda:

What I learned about contemporary dance was in high school. When I did a contemporary dance that Ms. Roberts created, it was called Bird and the Worm. Now, I didn’t know much about contemporary because I never really danced it that much, but then when I did, it felt so different. It wasn’t ballet and it wasn’t modern. It was a mixture of everything. I thought, “What is this?” What it is, it’s more like an expression type of dance that is, how do I say this, it emphasizes a more naturalistic movement than your average… For instance, for ballet, first position, second position, third position, modern is more flowy. Contemporary is not either or. It’s actually a mixture of that.

When I danced this dance, the Bird and the Worm dance that I learned, it was so great, so different. You do a different type of movement that you will never learn in either one of them. You basically are doing a lot of styles in one, and that’s what I love about contemporary. Also, you can express it in whatever type you are doing. Like if it’s happy, you show it there. If it’s dark, you do it there. The Bird and the Worm was a very dark dance and I loved it. It was different than what I would ever do.

It’s something that, which I did do research on, it was actually, how do I say this, it was founded by Isadora Duncan. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of her.

Andrea Cody:

Yeah.

Samantha Taborda:

Yeah. She was the one that, well one of the people that found or created contemporary, because I believe from what I know is that she, like you, she knew about ballet and modern, I believe, and she decided to pull away from that and do something different. And that I did not know, and It was a female too, so females rule the world here. But yeah, when I found out that she created that or she was one of the creators that created that, I have to say thank you to her, because I don’t think if it wasn’t for her or any other creator that created it. But I looked up Isadora because to me it looked like she was the first one that created that, I think, or she was the first one that popped up. I don’t think we would in this generation would learn about contemporary. I think we would still stick to ballet and modern, but contemporary is more of an expression. A lot more expression than you would get at ballet and modern. I love that.

Andrea Cody:

Have you seen her work?

Samantha Taborda:

No, I have not, honestly, and I wish I… No, I haven’t not seen her work. I have read about it, but I don’t… Well, I did not read about her work. I read about her history, but I did not see her work about that.

Andrea Cody:

How have you seen from the first contemporary dance you saw, is that the Bird and the Worm, or another performance, how have you seen contemporary dance change from that point in time to today?

Samantha Taborda:

If you think back then at what was-

Andrea Cody:

Back when?

Samantha Taborda:

Back in Isadora’s time, which was, was it around the 1800s? The late 1800s to early 1900s, that was her time. She was born in 1878 I think. If you look back then, people were doing more of classical type of dances, which is ballet. Ballet was very, very, like first born, you have to say, and then modern slowly developed there. What was the question again? How did it develop or how did it change?

Andrea Cody:

Yeah, how has it changed?

Samantha Taborda:

How it’s changed was obviously when Isadora created contemporary, when she created contemporary she made it more of your expression. She made it more about expression and stuff. Obviously, she did use the movements or any skills that she had learned at that time, and then obviously whoever was the next person that had seen her work of that contemporary, then they put their style of that contemporary, and then so on and so forth. Whatever people thought in previous times as to how contemporary was developed, then that’s when people started to create their own style of contemporary. For me, as I saw how I learned Bird and the Worm from what Ms. Roberts has learned contemporary in her time, what I learned from that, that’s when I made it my own style to this day.

Contemporary is still there. It’s just now everyone is using their own expression and now their own style as to what contemporary can be. Because contemporary can go anywhere now. To me, I call it an all style, because it’s a combination. As you learn more movements, what we’re doing at this time, that’s our contemporary. This is 2020 contemporary right now.

Andrea Cody:

It’s cool. Great. Let’s see. How do you think contemporary dance reflects our identity?

Samantha Taborda:

Our identity. It goes back to expression and it also goes back to telling a story. For instance, if I were to create contemporary pieces in my own version, and I’m more of a positive person and I like to show things very happily and I want to show positivity and spread it to other people, especially to my students, because how I like to portray things is, what I would like to spread to others is positivity. I’ll talk to you around the world all about fun and I want to show people that no matter, that it doesn’t matter who you are. Anyone can do this. Anyone is welcome to do it, and I want to spread that to others and walk with them to… I want to say, “Look, this is the style.” And I also want the audience to feel that positivity, because again, we’re expressing it and I want to express myself into it to show how this song makes me feel. I know I’m going all over the place.

Andrea Cody:

No, that sounds good.

Samantha Taborda:

Yeah, it’s a lot. It’s a lot to process. My thinking with contemporary and how I express it to others, for example, if I hear any song… I’m more of a positive person because I love positivity. That’s just me. If I heard a song that I myself can feel that I can create, it’s just all fun and upbeat, and oh my gosh, just a blow up. Just a blow up. I mean, actually, I want to say blow up. I don’t know, I’m a blow up person. When I do that to my students and teach that to them, I want them to feel that as well. It’s great for them to feel that because if they feel what I’m feeling of what I am creating, and all that happiness, all that fun I create and show to them, then they themselves when they perform it, they show it to the audience. Then the audience themselves can feel it. That’s what I like to do, show expression, show the happiness, show how much fun this can be, show how dance is actually a great expression for anyone to have. Just have a good time.

Andrea Cody:

Awesome. So you’re really trying to change the world?

Samantha Taborda:

Yeah, in a way. In my own way.

Andrea Cody:

Right. Do you see that positive feedback loop in your life?

Samantha Taborda:

Yeah. Yeah, I do, because I will have to say the reason why I’m going that route is because when I was bullied for so many years in school with kids, and you know how kids can be, and even when I was out of high school people still bullied each other, I don’t want my students or anyone that wants to learn dance with me… If it’s a friend or if it’s family or anyone, I don’t want them to feel like they can’t do it. Because that’s how I felt. I felt like I couldn’t do it. I felt like I couldn’t dance because I wasn’t up there like everyone else. I want everyone to feel welcome and don’t think about the negatives. Don’t compare yourself to anyone, because at the end of the day you are the full package and you are able to bring anything. If you can walk, you can dance.

If you can walk, that’s what I want to say, you can dance. I learned that from Les Twins. They said, “If you can walk, you can dance.” So I took that and I’m like, you know what? Yeah, that’s true. If you can walk, you can dance. If you can move your hip a little bit, you can dance. If you can clap, you can dance. That’s it. I don’t ever want anyone to feel left out, because at the end of the day to me positivity will always win, because it’s all love, all happiness. I also like to bring hope to others, too.

Andrea Cody:

Cool. You are. How do you do it? How do you get these kids out of their shells and off the walls and up off the floor?

Samantha Taborda:

It’s based on my experience. What I do is I actually think about, okay, what would I want someone to tell me? If I was in their shoes, which I was, I always wondered or I would go, “I wish they could tell me this,” or what is it that I could tell them or tell myself if I was them, what is it that I can tell them to motivate them? What is it that I can do to get them out of their shell? Because no one got me out of my shell. I had to learn it myself and I don’t want them to feel that way. I want to be that motivation for them. Again, I don’t want them to feel so limited. I don’t. I want them to feel like they can do anything and not let anything stop them.

To be honest, no one actually gave me advice of how to do it. Again, I learned it from experience through the pros and cons, and I wanted to give that to this next generation, because we all know the next generation will always be the future and I want to give that to them, because that’s what we honestly need at this point.

Andrea Cody:

Awesome. How do you do it, like in terms of what words do you say? How do you walk in the room? What’s the secret?

Samantha Taborda:

Oh, okay. Actually, the secret is I always tell all of my students, when I started in 2018, I told them this. I said, “In my class, or when you are with me, or anything that you are doing, don’t say you can’t do it. Just say, ‘You will master it.’” Because you can. If you can’t read a book, okay, you learn to read a book. It’s all about learning. You just keep practicing and practicing. I always tell them don’t say you can’t. Just say, “You will master this.” That’s my motto.

Andrea Cody:

You will master this. 

Samantha Taborda:

You will master this. 

Andrea Cody:

Cool. How have you seen dance change during your lifetime?

Samantha Taborda:

Dance has changed big time, actually. I thought in my time it looked like dance was more of a hobby to me. I didn’t feel like there was a lot of opportunities other than becoming a background dancer that I’ve seen in concerts or the music videos. That’s what people saw it as. They just saw it is, “Oh, dance is just a hobby. It’s just something to do and just to be active,” and that’s it. Actually, I’m not sure when it changed, but I think it was probably around 2014 or ’15. That’s when it started changing. We actually saw more dance studios, and then people started taking dance classes to improve their skills.

That’s when social media came in. Social media actually took a big part of dance, because now people are starting to show off what they can do and wanting to present, hey, I learned this choreography. Let me show off. Also, it’s great for others to, well, now people are doing dance challenges, so if people want to do this dance challenge, they go, “Hey, I can do it. Let me nominate someone else to do it.” It was a great way to connect with other dancers as well, because with social media people use hashtags. Hashtag hip hop, hashtag this. They tag someone that they learned the dance choreography is, and obviously the person who sees it, they will comment and be like, “Oh my God, that’s awesome. Oh my God, this.”

Then that’s when people started to become friends and they started connecting. Then they take dance classes together and then people make a video together, and then next thing you do apparently people want to follow them and want to see more. Then people start to make their own kind of dance and start to become more creative. My gosh, it was actually, yeah it was when social media came in or people started using it more, that’s when dance became very, very big because now it’s everywhere. You count the dancers, there’s probably over 10 billion of them.

Andrea Cody:

Right, yeah. So you mentioned Shamond Powell, who I will be speaking with on this program. How is teaching with him? You guys teach together. You’re a duo. What do you think makes that special? Why do you do it?

Samantha Taborda:

I like the duo. I like it when two teachers taught together, because he and I did experience through our middle school and high school time in the dance company being taught by also two individuals, both male and female. What we got the benefit out of that was not only can the girls learn from the female’s perspective of that dance or choreography that they give out, the guys can learn that too from a female. Same thing vice versa. We had a male figure who taught us his style and his version that he taught the boys, but then also he can teach the girls. That was something that we both learned and we both enjoyed because it actually broadened our horizons a bit and actually expanded our dance a lot better. Also, how do I say it, it also I’ll say upgraded our creativity, that we wanted in my opinion, we wanted to also give that to our students, too.

Now you only see one person teaching. You only see one person teaching and that’s it out of 100 students or so. Whereas, two, you have one person teaching and the second person that’s there, they watch. It’s perfect because if he’s teaching, I watch what he’s doing and then I see what is it that they have to work on, and then, same, vice versa. It’s like we’re helping each other, and also we’re both creating our creativity. Like for instance if we wanted to do a partner dance or tricks and stuff, we can both do it together that we can show to our students as well, and also helping each other out, too.

Andrea Cody:

Right. Yeah, and I’ve even seen on your online classes that while one of you is demonstrating a move together, one is keeping the kids engaged. Correcting them. If you’re turned around, he can still see, and without a mirror, that’s pretty great. It’s like eyes in the back of your head.

Samantha Taborda:

Yeah, and also it’s good because the students, when they… I mean, I know how I felt at that time with two teachers. I know for the students, they’re like, okay, so we have one watching. Let me just show off and see what I’ve got to do. Because also, what we do, too, is while he’s teaching and I’m watching or vice versa, we actually call out the person, like, “Oh, I see you doing this. I see who’s doing that.” Because also when someone is teaching, they can’t see everybody. He’s just trying to present and everything, and the only time he can see them is when they show him how they’re doing. So that’s another benefit of that, too.

Andrea Cody:

It doubles the energy and then some, because once you start that feedback loop in the class and you’ve got all the kids leveled up, it just gets higher and higher.

Samantha Taborda:

It does. And we like to hype them up, too, as well. It’s like double the hype, double the teaching, double the attention. It’s all in one.

Andrea Cody:

And you guys taught together at Change Happens too, the after school program.

Samantha Taborda:

Yeah, we did.

Andrea Cody:

What’s the difference with those kids, because they’re after school kids? They’re not dance students, so how is it different with that kind of group?

Samantha Taborda:

Well, with Change Happens, it actually from my perspective, I feel like I was them, because again I was in school and I only knew dance because of an after school program that they were able to provide. So when we taught Change Happens, we were still getting our culture of how we were teaching to them as well, but very different, because again, we want everyone to feel comfortable and we also want them to feel like they can do anything. Even if they were not skilled as much, or even if maybe some knew and some don’t, we still are giving everyone a fair chance and still teaching them no matter what. That way they can also show their skills in their school, like, “Hey, I’m in the after school program.” We don’t want to change anything, honestly. We still wanted to teach and make the kids feel like they’re superior with dance, or they can show off anything.

Andrea Cody:

Was the format of the classes or the performances different?

Samantha Taborda:

What do you mean?

Andrea Cody:

I mean stretch, warm up, exercises, freestyle, across the floor. Do you adapt it for an after school program, or do you just kind of adapt your style with them? Then in terms of the performance are they still doing a choreographed routine or is it a little bit more easy? How do you make it to where they all can hang?

Samantha Taborda:

We do do a warmup and we do do a stretch, so we still treat it as a dance class, because we also want someone to feel they got experience, even if they can’t do it at a different dance studio. But yeah, we give them experience, give them that experience to stretch, warm up. Then we actually do a cypher where we actually have everyone show off their skills and move. In the beginning they’re shy and then as you teach them the dance choreography and whatnot, and we actually do challenge them, “Okay, whatever you learn, show it right there.” We would have them battle each other, too. We actually try to get them out of their comfort zone for places that we have experienced, and we want to bring that to them, so that they themselves are not missing out on anything.

They love to perform. They do perform it. They do show off. Shockingly, which is actually great, it actually makes my heart warm, warm fuzzy inside, but when Shamond and I would come back to teaching the students that we saw that were in our previous, that took our class our program the previous semester, they actually still remember the dances and whatnot. We actually have them show and tell that, too, because they want to show off. They want to show their skills and everything. Maybe we like to give them everything that we can provide and bring to the table to them.

Andrea Cody:

Keep it up. That’s awesome.

Samantha Taborda:

Yeah.

Andrea Cody:

Well, today is day one of week six in lockdown, and we are in the middle of a cultural revolution and we don’t know how long it’s going to last. Give us a snapshot. What is it like to dance right now?

Samantha Taborda:

It is different because since we are quarantined to stay in our house and everything, obviously I can’t go to the dance studio and dance, but in my house I still listen to music and I still dance because I don’t want to lose what I have learned, and I also want to create my creativity and show it off, too. What I am doing, it actually is helping me to, how do I say this, create more dances for any future classes I’ll be teaching or any future events or opportunities that I can perform or where Mr. S. and I can perform and bring to the table.

Also, for me to make a video with dance in a positive way so that others can see and go, “Okay.” It’s bringing inspiration to anyone that follows me or anyone that sees my social media, that it might make them not think about quarantine for a second or two, and maybe that can help motivate them to do it at home instead of just being sad and everything. I know it’s such a tough time, but it’s motivating me as a dancer and hopefully as a role model to others, that whatever I put out there regarding dance, it can help someone else to maybe motivate them to also dance and stay active, and maybe saw the video or whatnot or is wanting to learn something from me while they’re quarantined.

Andrea Cody:

What is that doing for you personally?

Samantha Taborda:

It’s motivating me, actually. It doesn’t make me think about the negative, because at the end of the day I can only… If I’m going to help others and if I want to do something, I have to do it myself. I have to get up, especially off the couch or the bed because I can’t be lazy. I myself have to get up and show, look, it’s a tough time. Let’s do this. Let’s not let this quarantine take a hold of us. Let’s just go for it. And also because I do have three little siblings. They also look up to me as to what I’m doing, and that’s also a big motivation for me, what would my siblings think or what would they say if I was up there. They love watching me dance and everything, so it’s like, oh, okay, do it.

Andrea Cody:

Cool. It’s great that you’re keeping everybody positive. You’re still developing and you’re using this as an opportunity to create, to be creative and to prepare and to inspire. Sounds like in some really important ways nothing has changed for you.

Samantha Taborda:

No. I just miss going outside or going to a studio, but I just want to keep things the same. What I’ve learned is that even though this quarantine has stopped us, life will keep going, and I don’t want us to stop what we’re doing, especially my students. I don’t want them to stop dancing. I want them to keep going, keep learning, keep being creative, keep doing what they’re doing. Because I know once this is over it’s still going to keep going.

Andrea Cody:

Let’s pretend for a moment that the world goes on forever as it is now with everyone staying home 99% of the time. What are your hopes and dreams for us?

Samantha Taborda:

Well, one, I really hope they find a vaccine because I don’t think all of us want to stay home. If let’s say this still continues on, if it does, then I would want to still encourage each other to go outside. I’m not saying go outside to a park or a parking lot. No, no, go outside of your house, take your laptop or your iPod, your iPhone, whatever access you have to music. If you have a speaker, great. If you have ear phones, that’s fine too. Play music, listen, inspire.

Also, during this time I am teaching as well, so if I can teach someone, offer a free class, I would do it in a heartbeat, because I want them to feel like, how do I say this? You know when you’re dancing, you feel like you are in a different world? I want them to feel that. I do want them to feel that. I want them to feel like they’re not in quarantine. I don’t want them to think about it, even if it’s for an hour, because I know for that one hour it’s going to make a difference for them and it’s going to motivate them and make them want to do more. If I can at least help for one hour to inspire them or motivate them in some way, I would be happy to do that.

But I would also motivate them to go outside because we need oxygen and some vitamin D and all that. I think grab your music, grab your camera, grab whatever you have access to and use it to record yourself, do something. Obviously if they need someone to motivate them, which is not always bad, because you probably do need someone to help you out with that or help you start somewhere, I say go for it. Because at the end of the day we all need to help each other. We all need to inspire someone. We all need that motivation from somebody, even if we have to see a dance video, too. I say go for that.

Andrea Cody:

My guest today is Samantha Taborda. Sam, thank you for being a part of DanceTalks.

Samantha Taborda:

Yay. Thank you for having me. I enjoyed it.

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