Today we’d like to introduce you to Gabriella Dominguez.
Gabriella, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My name is Gabriella Dominguez, I am 20 years old and I am a dancer here in Los Angeles. I am originally from Glastonbury, Connecticut where I grew up in the most amazing and supportive family out there. Being the middle child of three girls, I was always trying to copy my older sister and be a role model for my younger sister. When my older sister signed up for dance, I of course had to tag along. At the age of eight, I began taking a jazz class at Limelite Dance Center in Wethersfield, CT. I fell in love. The next year, I completely dove in and began taking other classes as well as competing with the company team. The studio owner, Melanie, really invested in me and pushed me to be the best I could be. At this time, I was also swimming, diving, and doing gymnastics. After a few years, I had a choice to make and decided to fully invest my time in dance. I auditioned and joined the competitive team at New England Dance Center in Granby, CT and Westfield, MA. My amazing parents drove me an hour each way, four times per week to allow me to train and compete with the best. Under the direction of Loree Cloud and other incredible teachers, I learned so much. Joining a team that had been together since kindergarten was intimidating but I pushed myself to catch up with them. When high school came along, I knew I wanted to go even further into my dance education. Connecticut has an amazing program that allowed me to attend Glastonbury High School, where I took academic classes, for the first half of my day followed by a few hours at Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts in Hartford, CT.
There, I was able to study more classical styles including Limon and Graham, as well as ballet, dance history, and composition. I am so grateful for the training, opportunities, and family I received there. Attending two high schools simultaneously, dancing at NEDC, and having multiple jobs made my life at the time incredibly chaotic but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I knew I wanted to go to college for dance, and attended multiple auditions but wasn’t feeling much excitement about any of my options. The spring of my senior year of high school, along with other students from GHAA, I attended the National High School Dance Festival in Norfolk, VA. One of the workshops being taught was by Kyle McHargh, a GHAA alumni and a current teacher at AMDA in LA. He introduced me to the school, I fell in love with the idea and after a quick process and receiving a scholarship, I decided I would be moving to Los Angeles in Fall 2017 to pursue my dance BFA at AMDA. Though I received amazing training, made some of the best friends ever, and formed great connections, after four semesters I decided the school was no longer the right fit for me. I decided to take my life into my own hands and do what I felt was right for me in the moment. I joined a training company, G2, under the direction of Mackenzie Martin- one of my former AMDA teachers- training and performing alongside the main company Geometry, to which I was recently promoted. Along with Geometry, I continue to train at different studios throughout LA, and recently began an internship teaching dance therapy at a behavioral center for kids with Autism…I fully intend to explore all of these avenues of dance!
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It has definitely not been a smooth road. Moving to a place you’ve never been, over 2,000 miles away from your family and friends at the age of seventeen is incredibly scary. I thought I knew who I was and the path that I would follow when I made that leap, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was met with challenges of finding my personal identity, finding friends who aligned with that, and navigating where I fit as a dancer. I also began training harder than I ever anticipated, and I started to feel like I wasn’t good enough to be here. As I’m sure many artists can relate, it all started to take a toll on my mental health. This huge city threatened to swallow me up, but I was determined to not let that happen. Finding people who would support me through it all, learning it’s okay to take breaks, and facetimes with my mom are what propelled my desire to continue.
Gabriella Dominguez – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
While I strive to be a well rounded dancer and train in many styles of dance, I have always had such a passion and love for traditional ballet technique. I like to bring this into my contemporary work, as I think it is so important to have a solid base. I love the way contemporary allows me to utilize this technique, as well as tell stories in such a powerful way. I have such a passion for performing, but can also never get enough of class. I pride myself on my ability and curiosity when it comes to learning more and never saying “I’m good enough now”, there is always room to grow. That being said, I think myself and dance as an art have so much more to offer the world. In the past year or so I have become increasingly interested in Dance Therapy. I want to challenge the idea of dance just being a performance art. There is a growing number of studies of dance as a therapy for many different physical and mental obstacles, and I plan to investigate further what I can do in my life to contribute to this growing field.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
In January, I had the opportunity to perform “Portland, ME” at the Capezio ACE Acards with Geometry Dance Company under the direction of Mackenzie Martin. As a G2 member at the time, I had to learn this complex piece off a video, and we spent just a few rehearsals putting it all together with this new cast. It was a challenge that I welcomed, and felt incredibly proud of the work I put in. Performing with such an amazing group of women on stage at the Montalban Theater was a dream. It was my first big performance in Los Angeles, and really solidified that this is what I am here to do. There is no feeling that could ever compare to the joy and power I felt on stage doing something that I loved and believed in, especially with friends cheering me on and a theater full of other amazing performers. I look forward to any other opportunities, moving forward in my career, that I have to perform in front of a live audience.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @gabbydomz
Alyssa Park, Danny Osona, IAF Compound