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Meet Lizzy Noriega

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lizzy Noriega.

So, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was five years old when I took my first dance class in my hometown of Cuernavaca, Mexico. I have to credit one of my best friends, Fernanda, for taking me to watch her Ballet class one day. It inspired me to start taking classes which were the spark of a new passion for me. In 2004, my mom, sister, and I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area where I continued my dance training throughout the years. It wasn’t until I entered high school and realized I was dancing 20 plus hours a week. For anyone to dedicate that much time to a craft means they must really love it, right? All my life, I was raised with a big appreciation for the arts, and I thank my mom for giving my sister and me the endless opportunities to be exposed to everything and anything we could try. That meant music, fine art, crafting, woodshop, writing, language learning, and of course dancing. My mom didn’t just want us to learn the arts for selfish reasons. We used what we knew best to make others smile and give back to our community by putting on festivals, performing in senior citizen homes, and putting on shows for the kids at the orphanages in Cuernavaca.

In May of 2019, I graduated with a B.F.A. in Dance from California Institute of the Arts. During my time at CalArts, I was introduced to Dance for Camera which is a class that asks for your artistic eye to be used as not just a dancer in front of the lens but a videographer behind the lens; A place I had never been in charge of before. These classes initiated my newly discovered love for camera work. Before long, I was hired as a photography assistant by Rafael, the institute photographer, where I had the chance to better understand the world of photography through his guidance. Since graduation, I’ve been working as a freelance artist in both dance and photography. My mission right now is to connect both of these worlds through dance photography and dance films.

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?
If there is even a smooth road out there, it only goes on for a few miles before you find a bump in the road or a pothole, much like life. Growing up in a single-parent household is becoming more and more common each day. It’s nothing new to me because for as long as I could remember, my mom was both my mother and father. We worked hard to maintain our financial stability because, at the end of the day, immigrants really do get the job done. I had to learn to grow up quickly which made the transition to adulting, in many ways, easier. Housing is the worst one of them all as I get ready to move for the fifth time in the last five years that I have been in LA. The struggling artist’s life is completely real, but is it worth it? When you love doing something that much, every day is worth it.

We’d love to hear more about your work and what you are currently focused on. What else should we know?
I don’t usually like to use the terms dancer and photographer when describing myself and my work because I see myself as an all-around artist. Like I touched on earlier, I am passionate about many areas within the arts. Maybe one day I am rehearsing for a show, the next day I am shooting for an event, another day I am writing an article for my blog, next I’m creating jewelry. Art and creativity make up who I am and what I want my image to be; a multidisciplinary artist. I was in the process of creating a dance film with hopes of receiving a grant from Utah Dance Film Festival, but it all got put on hold with recent events. Since the pandemic, I have been taking a break from dance and photography and have found comfort in writing. I journal almost every day which has been the healthiest habit of mine for my mental health the past twelve years since I started writing. My sister and I have been talking about starting our very own journaling company for years, and finally, we are getting started. For all you artists and entrepreneurs out there, look out for a sustainable journaling company in the near future.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The proudest moment of my career so far was being hired by Human Rights Foundation to photograph the Oslo Freedom Forum in Norway. I got to travel to my fourth Scandinavian country and be an event photographer for an organization that believes in equal rights and opportunities for humanity. Many of the speakers talked about how they continue to fight oppression every day of their lives; something many of us are too familiar with. It was truly inspiring to hear personal stories from activists all over the world and learn what they have gone through to demand justice, even if it means them being banned from their own countries and finding refuge in ours. I’m most fond of this moment because it served as a reminder to continue practicing empathy in everything that I do. Whether it is through volunteer and service work, writing letters to my local senior citizen home, traveling, making art, or chatting with a stranger I happen to sit next to on a flight, empathy should never go unnoticed.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Rafael Hernandez

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