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Meet Zack Torres

Today we’d like to introduce you to Zack Torres.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I grew up in Phoenix Arizona, and I began dancing when I was 10 years old. After choosing dance and beginning my training, I was put on a TV show called “dance moms”, and that really exposed me to a world I never knew was out there. Being on that show taught me a lot about who I was, and also made growing up a little bit more difficult. I have always been very comfortable with who I am, and I think that’s because I have supportive family and friends, but being in the spotlight at a young age made it really hard to digest who I was. I eventually grew out of that and started to focus more on school and training at my studio in Arizona. This is when I found out about USC Kaufman and USC as a whole. Now I am studying dance at USC while also pursuing a minor in Justice, Voice, and Advocacy in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.  I hope to be in a contemporary ballet company or a contemporary company while also being able to advocate for what I believe in (utilize the education I am receiving at Annenberg).

Please tell us about your art.
I am not sure who I am as an artist yet. I am a dancer who loves to perform, but I am not sure what my role will be in the future. I am a gender non-binary gay person in a ,usually, binary art form and just recently I have been very motivated to use my personal experiences to shape the dance world to be a more inclusive place. I would say that my art is not always what I perform, but how I engage in the process and with my community. I am actively trying to correct the norms that are exclusive within dance, and I am also trying to actively change the language and stereotypes specifically regarding gender in the studio. I am not sure if this tells you who I am as an artist, but I am a performer who is gaining inspiration from personal struggles as a gender non-binary person in a
sometimes exclusive form. 

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
As artists it is our job to create things that invoke change and thought. I think our role has changed a lot because of how polarized our world is becoming. The more disagreement there is, the more important it is to create art. On a local level it is important to spread your voice because you can impact your community greatly, and this can even be argued on a national level as well. I also think that international events and issues can impact arts because if someone has something to say art is a great medium for that. I personally am not a choreographer, so I don’t create work for that reason, but I see the validity and need for it. I also don’t shy away from it if I do for some reason change my mind and want to choreograph.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I am in the class of 2021 at the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, so if you are in LA come visit! We perform a lot, and there is always something happening at USC Kaufman. I am also on instagram under zackery_torres if you want to check that out!

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Image Credit:
Christopher Duggan (Courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow), Sacha Grootjans (Courtesy of Nederlands Dans Theater), Dylan Spitler, Grace Kathryn Landefeld (Courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow).

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