Choreographer Sergio Trujillo | THEATER: All the Moving Parts


>>COMING UP, ON “THEATER: ALL THE MOVING PARTS,” A CONVERSATION WITH SOMEONE WHO THINKS ON HIS FEET BRILLIANTLY, CHOREOGRAPHER SERGIO TRUJILLO. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪>>HELLO, AND WELCOME TO THIS EPISODE OF “THEATER: ALL THE MOVING PARTS.” I’M YOUR HOST, PATRICK PACHECO. WE’RE IN WEST BANK CAFE. DIRECTING THE SPOTLIGHT TO THOSE WHO HELP CREATE THE WORLDS OF WONDER WE CALL THE THEATER. TODAY’S GUEST IS SERGIO TRUJILLO, A CHOREOGRAPHER CELEBRATED FOR HIS STUNNING TALENT AND MATCHING STEPS TO CHARACTER AND STORY IN SUCH MUSICALS AS “JERSEY BOYS,” “MEMPHIS,” “ON YOUR FEET,” AND “AIN’T TO PROUD,” FOR WHICH HE WON A TONY AWARD. WELCOME SERGIO TO “THEATER: ALL THE MOVING PARTS.” AND CONGRATULATIONS ON A REALLY WELL-DESERVED TONY AWARD.>>IT IS GREAT TO SIT HERE WITH YOU.>>AN INTERESTING BIOLOGICAL FACT ABOUT YOU, YOU ACTUALLY HAVE A BACHELOR DEGREE IN SCIENCE FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO. WHAT DOES SCIENCE HAVE TO DO WITH DANCE?>>I TOOK A DIFFERENT ROUTE TO GET TO DANCE. I WAS FROM COLOMBIA, MY FAMILY IMMIGRATED TO CANADA, AND AS THE SON OF AN IMMIGRANT, IT WAS IMPORTANT TO HAVE A PROPER CAREER. I WENT TO THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO AND WAS STUDYING SCIENCES, AND THEN I WENT TO CHIROPRACTIC SCHOOL, BUT THIS ENTIRE TIME, ALL I WANTED TO DO WAS DANCE. IT WAS NOT UNTIL I TOOK A SABBATICAL FROM SCHOOL AND DECIDED, IF I AM GOING TO DANCE, I HAVE TO GO DO MY BEST. I CAME TO NEW YORK CITY AND 30 YEARS LATER, HERE WE ARE.>>YOU STARTED DANCING AT 19 OR 20, WHICH IS FAIRLY LATE. YOUR CAREER IS BOOKENDED BETWEEN JEROME ROBBINS’ BROADWAY AND FOSSE, THOSE NINE YEARS AS A DANCER. THOSE CHOREOGRAPHERS INFLUENCED YOU IN WHAT WAY?>>TO BE ABLE TO DANCE THE WORKS OF THESE TWO LEGENDS, THESE ICONIC DIRECTORS, CHOREOGRAPHERS, IT HAD A LOT OF INFLUENCE ON ME. EVEN THOUGH I WAS DANCING, I WAS ALWAYS PAYING ATTENTION. ROBBINS WAS — FOR HIM, IT WAS IMPORTANT TO CREATE THE WORLD, VOCABULARY, AND IT HAD TO BE SO SPECIFIC TO THE STORY. FOSSE WAS A CONCEPT MAN. HE WAS A MAN OF GREAT, GREAT CONCEIT. PIPPIN, YOU KNOW, PIPPIN WAS VERY SUCCESSFUL, AND WHEN BOB FOSSE TOOK OVER PIPPIN, HE CREATED THIS GREAT CONCEPT. FOR ME TO BE ABLE TO DANCE THEIR CHOREOGRAPHY, TO LIVE IT, BREATHE IT, UNDERSTAND IT, IT WAS LIKE GETTING YOUR MASTERS IN DIRECTION AND CHOREOGRAPHY BY BEING IN THESE SHOWS.>>YOU DESCRIBE ROBBINS AS A COMEDIAN, YOU DESCRIBE A VERY DISTINCT SIGNATURE FOR FOSSE. WHERE DO YOU FIT IN IN THAT SPECTRUM IN YOUR OWN CHOREOGRAPHY?>>SUBCONSCIOUSLY, YOU TAKE INSPIRATION FROM ALL OF THESE GREAT MEN AND MAKE DO WITH WHAT YOU HAVE LEARNED. IN THE PROCESS OF WHAT I DO, I THINK FOR ME IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT TO FIRST AND FOREMOST UNDERSTAND THE STORY WE ARE TRYING TO TELL. WHAT I LOVE TO DO IS I LOVE TO RESEARCH, I LOVE TO BE ABLE TO REALLY IMMERSE MYSELF IN THE PERIOD, WHATEVER THAT PERIOD IS, THE CHARACTERS AND THE CULTURE. OVER 15 YEARS AGO I WAS DOING “SOUND OF MUSIC,” AND I THOUGHT, YOU KNOW, I WANT TO STUDY AUSTRIAN FOLK DANCE. WE DID NOT HAVE YOUTUBE AND ALL OF THAT, BUT I RESEARCHED IT EVERYWHERE. I FOUND ONE GENTLEMAN WHO TAUGHT AUSTRIAN FOLK DANCE DOWN IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA, AND I WENT AND STUDIED WITH HIM BECAUSE I WANTED TO USE SOME OF IT IN THE SHOW. FOR ME, IT IS IMPORTANT TO FIND THE WORLD, THE LANGUAGE, HOW THE CHARACTERS MOVE, AND I THINK THAT IS WHAT ROBBINS INSPIRED IN ME. I THINK WHAT FOSSE INSPIRED IN ME, THE WAY THAT — I RECALL ANYTHING THAT HAS TO DO WITH FOSSE IS SPECIFICITY, THE REAL ATTENTION TO DETAIL. I’LL MY DANCERS TO BREATHE LIFE INTO THE MATERIAL, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY I WANT IT TO BE VERY SPECIFIC. WITH FOSSE, EVERYTHING WAS VERY SPECIFIC — THE WAY YOU HELD YOUR CIGARETTE, THE WAY YOU CARRIED YOURSELF — ALL OF THOSE I THINK HAVE CREATED INSPIRATION IN MY WORK.>>YOUR SIGNATURE APPEARS TO BE THE EXPERT ABILITY TO MARRY DANCE TO STORY AND CHARACTER, AS YOU JUST DESCRIBED. IN TERMS OF “AIN’T TOO PROUD,” “JERSEY BOYS,” AND “ON YOUR FEET,” YOU DESCRIBE A WORLD IN WHICH THEY GO FROM THE STREET TO GREAT SUCCESS. HOW DO YOU GRAPH THAT ARC IN DANCE?>>”JERSEY BOYS” IS A GOOD EXAMPLE, BECAUSE THERE WERE A LOT OF OPPORTUNITIES WHERE I COULD HAVE SHOWN OFF. WHEN I WAS RESEARCHING THE PERIOD WHEN THE FOUR SEASONS WERE REALLY COMING UP, I THOUGHT, THESE ARE REALLY BLUE-COLLAR MAN THEY CANNOT LOOK LIKE THE TEMPTATIONS OR THE FOUR TOPS. THE AUDIENCE HAS TO FEEL AS THOUGH THEY ARE ROOTING FOR THESE BLUE-COLLAR GUYS TRYING TO MAKE IT, SO IT WAS IMPORTANT TO USE RESTRAINT. AND “JERSEY BOYS,” THE GUYS DID NOT DANCE. THEY JUST STOOD AND SANG. SO, I CREATED A VERY ICONIC CHOREOGRAPHY, BUT I USED A LOT OF RESTRAINT. I ALSO UNDERSTOOD IN ORDER FOR US TO SEE AND ROOT FOR THEM, WE HAD TO SEE THEM EVOLVE AS WE WERE WATCHING THE STORY. THE SAME THING WITH “GLORIA,” AND “AIN’T TOO PROUD.” “AIN’T TOO PROUD” IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT, I HAVE BEEN WAITING TO DO A SHOW LIKE THAT FOR 20 YEARS AND BEEN DOING RESEARCH FROM THE 1950s TO NOW, AND IT WAS LIKE A COLT, READY TO RACE. [LAUGHTER]>>THIS WAS ALLOWING ME TO USE ALL THE KNOWLEDGE THAT I HAD TO CREATE THE WORLD AND THE CHARACTERS.>>THE WORLD OF “JERSEY BOYS” WAS DOO-WOP, ORIGINALLY. WAS THERE A LOT OF CONVERSATION YOU HAD WITH THE MUSIC DIRECTOR IN TERMS OF WHERE TO START, WHERE TO FINISH IT, AND WHAT TO DO NEXT AFTER THE RESEARCH? WHERE TO GO FROM THERE?>>DES AND I HAVE A — I ADORE HIM AND I FEEL SO INCREDIBLY — I TRUST HIM SO MUCH. THAT WAS OUR FIRST SHOW WE DID. THERE WAS A LOT OF PREPARATION. WE GO THROUGH THE SCRIPT. EVERY NIGHT, BEFORE WE START REHEARSALS WE WOULD PREPARE. AFTER WE FINISH REHEARSALS, FROM 6:00 TO 9:00 OR 10:00 AT NIGHT, WE GO THROUGH THE PAGES AND PLAN WHAT WE ARE GOING TO DO THE NEXT DAY. IF THERE IS A SCENE THAT IS BEING STAGED, I KNOW EXACTLY WHERE DANCE IS BEGINNING. WE HAD THE CONVERSATIONS, TALKED ABOUT WHERE THE CHARACTERS ARE AT THAT POINT IN TIME EMOTIONALLY, WE RAN THIS THROUGH A GREAT COLLABORATOR OF OURS AS WELL — SOMETIMES I EVEN STAY IN REHEARSALS AFTER 10:00 OR 11:00, BECAUSE I HAVE TO FIGURE OUT EXACTLY — EVEN THOUGH OUR RESEARCH IS ALL PLANNED, I HAVE TO CEMENT WHAT THE IDEA WILL BE FOR THE NEXT DAY.>>AND IT IS ALL STORY-DRIVEN?>>IT IS ALL STORY-DRIVEN.>>WHERE IS THE STORY AT THIS POINT?>>ABSOLUTELY. 100%.>>AND DOES THAT INCLUDE JUST AN ACTOR CROSSING THE STAGE — LET’S SAY IT’S OUTSIDE OF DANCE, BUT DOES HE SAY, SERGIO, I HAVE TO GET HIM FROM THIS POINT A TO POINT B OR C? DOES THAT HAPPEN?>>WE PLAN, THEN HE LETS ME GO. WE HAVE HAD SO MANY CONVERSATIONS THAT I AM NOT GOING TO STRAY FROM THE PATH WE ARE ON, AND HE IS PHENOMENAL IN TERMS OF DIRECTORS. HE IS ONE OF THE BEST, AND VERY CLEAR ABOUT THE DIRECTION IN WHICH HE WANTS TO LEAD HIS ENTIRE TEAM. THERE IS A LOT OF TRUST, A LOT OF CREATIVE TRUST AND WE HAVE DONE THE RESEARCH, WE HAVE DONE THE WORK, WE HAVE DONE THE PREPARATION TO KNOW EXACTLY WHICH WAY, WHEN A CHARACTER IS GOING TO CROSS, HOW HE IS GOING TO CROSS, AND IF HE DANCES OR HAVE A STEP, THAT IS VERY SPECIFIC. THAT HAS BEEN PREPARED AND DIRECTED.>>AND YOU ARE IN COLLABORATION WITH THE LIGHTING DESIGNER, SET DESIGNER, AND YOU KNOW EVERY MOVE THEY ARE MAKING AS WELL AS HOW THEY CAN HELP YOU GET WHAT YOU WANT.>>I WAS SPOILED. THE FIRST SHOW I DID WAS “MAMBO KINGZ,” AND THE LIGHTING DESIGNERS WERE THE BEST OF THE BEST. WE WERE IN TECH REHEARSALS AND THEY WERE LIGHTING ONE OF MY BIG DANCE NUMBERS. IT WAS ALL DANCE, ALL STORYTELLING, AND THEY LIT THE NUMBER AND I WATCHED IT, AND I WAS NOT HAPPY WITH IT. WHAT DO YOU SAY? I HATE THE NUMBER? THEY SAW I WAS NOT HAPPY, AND CAME UP TO ME AND SAID, WE SEE YOU ARE NOT HAPPY, WE WILL COME IN TOMORROW AND RELIGHT IT. SO, WE SPENT THE ENTIRE MORNING RELIGHTING MY ENTIRE NUMBER. FROM THEN ON, I GOT THE — I THINK, THE STRONGEST COLLABORATION THAT I HAVE, NEXT TO DES OR MY DIRECTOR IS THE LIGHTING DESIGNER. AS THE CHOREOGRAPHER, I AM THE CINEMATOGRAPHER AT TIMES BECAUSE I MOVE PEOPLE WHERE WE NEED THEM TO, FOR THE AUDIENCE TO FOCUS. WITH THE LIGHTING DESIGNER, I NEED HIM TO UNDERSTAND WHERE I NEED THE FOCUS TO GO TO.>>AND THEY ARE SCULPTING BODIES WITH THE LIGHT.>>IT’S THE RELATIONSHIP I LOVE THE MOST.>>IN TERMS OF CHARACTER, OF PINNING DANCE TO YOUR CHARACTER, WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE DANCES YOU CREATED FOR JOHN LLOYD YOUNG AS FRANKIE VALLI, AS OPPOSED TO THE SCREWUP PLAYED BY CHRISTIAN HOFF.>>JOHN LLOYD YOUNG WAS NOT A DANCER. BEFORE HE GOT HIRED, I SAID TO THE PRODUCERS, IF HE IS GOING TO PLAY FRANKIE, I HAVE TO SPEND AT LEAST FOUR WEEKS IN THE STUDIO WITH HIM BEFORE WE START REHEARSALS. AND I SPENT TIME NOT ONLY DOING DANCE WITH HIM, BUT TRAINING HIM HERE IN MANHATTAN PLAZA. WE USED TO GO SWIMMING BECAUSE I NEEDED TO GET HIM IN SHAPE FOR THE PART. THE THING WITH JOHN LLOYD, IT BECAME LIKE A COACH OF SORTS AND I BECAME SO INCREDIBLY PROTECTIVE OF HIM. YOU KNOW, THERE NEEDED TO BE A REAL INNOCENCE TO THE CHARACTER, TO FRANKIE VALLI, I NEEDED TO SEE HIS GROWTH. ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED WAS HIS REACTION THE FIRST TIME WE EVER DID THE SHOW IN FRONT OF AN AUDIENCE AFTER WHAT WE CALLED THE MEDLEY, THE GIRLS DON’T CRY/WALK LIKE A MAN, AND WATCHING HIS FACE LIGHT UP AND ALMOST TEAR UP, THERE WAS A GREAT DEAL OF SATISFACTION. HIS MOVEMENT AND PERFORMANCE WAS VERY, VERY RESTRAINED. OF COURSE, TOMMY DEVITO — TOMMY DEVITO, HE IS THE EGO OF THE SHOW. AND CHRISTIAN HOFF IS A GREAT MOVER. I HAD TO CRAFT JOHN LLOYD’S MOVEMENTS. EVEN THE WAY HE BUTTONED HIS JACKET, ALL CHOREOGRAPHED, WHEN HE DID IT, HOW HE FLIPPED IT, ALL OF THOSE THINGS. WITH CHRISTIAN, IT WAS ABOUT SHOWING OFF. I HAD CHRISTIAN ON MY FINGERTIPS, SO IT WAS GREAT.>>WHEN DES CAST JOHN LLOYD YOUNG, WERE YOU CONVINCED YOU COULD GET HIM TO WHERE HE NEEDED TO BE?>>ONE OF THE THINGS ABOUT GOING TO SCHOOL AND STUDYING CHIROPRACTIC WAS, THERE IS A NURTURING PART OF YOUR CHARACTER. IF YOU ARE A CHIROPRACTOR FOR A DOCTOR, YOU HAVE THIS THING ABOUT TAKING CARE OF PEOPLE, RIGHT? THAT IS WHAT YOU SIGNED UP FOR. I KNEW IF I PUSH HIM, IT WAS LIKE TOUGH LOVE. I USED A LOT OF TOUGH LOVE WITH HIM, BUT HE ALSO HAD THE AMBITION AND THE FOCUS TO DO IT, SO YEAH.>>WHEN YOU ARE IN AN AUDITION SITUATION AND YOU ARE SITTING AT THE TABLE WITH THE DIRECTOR, THE CHOREOGRAPHER, EVERYONE ELSE, WHEN DO YOU SAY NO? ACTORS HAVE TO BE TRIPLE THREATS NOW, AND THE GUY OR THE WOMAN CAN BE PERFECT FOR THE ROLE, BUT CAN’T DANCE, CAN’T MOVE. HOW DO YOU JUDGE WHETHER YOU CAN GET THEM THERE OR WHEN YOU THINK THEY CANNOT GET THERE?>>I WALK AROUND THE ROOM AND I WATCH PEOPLE BEHAVE, HOW THEY APPROACH LEARNING THE MATERIAL, THE WAY THEY REACT WITH OTHER PEOPLE. YOU LEARN SO MUCH BY THAT, BECAUSE IT IS NOT ONLY ABOUT BEING A TRIPLE THREAT AND GETTING THE CHOREOGRAPHY RIGHT AWAY, BUT THERE IS A CHARACTER STUDY THAT YOU HAVE TO DO. YOU KNOW, WE WANT A COMPANY THAT IS POSITIVE, THAT IS CONSTRUCTIVE, THAT IS THERE TO WORK HARD, AND THERE HAVE BEEN TIMES WHERE WHEN I DO A STUDY WHERE I HAVE SEEN THE PERSON AND MAYBE, YOU KNOW, SOME PEOPLE ARE GREAT AUDITIONERS, BY THE WAY, BUT IT REALLY TAKES RUNNING AUDITIONS TO UNDERSTAND WHEN YOU SAY NO. SOMETIMES THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO ARE SO TALENTED, SO TALENTED, BUT THERE IS JUST ONE THING AND LOW AND BEHOLD, SOMETIMES YOU ARE RIGHT.>>WHEN YOU CHOREOGRAPH A NUMBER FOR ANY OF THE SHOWS YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH, YOU ARE A SCIENCE MAJOR, OR YOU HAVE A SCIENCE DEGREE. YOU ARE ALSO A CHIROPRACTOR. YOU KNOW WHAT THE BODY CAN DO. HOW DO YOU CONVINCE DANCERS AND ACTORS TO GO BEYOND WHAT THEY THINK THEY CAN DO?>>INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH WHEN YOU ASKED ME THAT QUESTION, YESTERDAY I HAD MY DANCE CAPTAINS OVER TO MY PLACE AFTER REHEARSALS.>>REHEARSING FOR WHICH SHOW?>>I AM DOING “SUMMER” RIGHT NOW. THEY WERE TELLING ME I HAD BEEN TOUGH ON SOME OF THE DANCERS. THE THING THAT I DO IS, I DEMAND A LOT. I ASK A LOT OF MYSELF. I DEMAND A LOT OF MYSELF. BUT I ALSO ASK A LOT OF THE PEOPLE THAT I WORK WITH, BECAUSE I BELIEVE THE PEOPLE THAT WE HIRE FOR THESE SHOWS ARE THE BEST OF THE BEST. ALL IT TAKES IS REALLY SOMEBODY PUSHING THEM FOR THEM TO BE ABLE TO GO BEYOND WHAT IT IS THEY HAVE BEEN DOING. IT TAKES THAT ONE PERSON, AND I FEEL LIKE MUSICAL THEATER IS A SACRED ART. I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT WE CONTINUE TO RESPECT IT. I DO NOT WANT THE ART TO GET DILUTED, TO DISSIPATE. IT IS MY RESPONSIBILITY, LIKE IT WAS WITH ROBBINS AND FOSSE, ALL OF US TOGETHER, WE HAVE TO MAKE SURE THIS SANCTIFIED ART FORM CONTINUES TO PROVIDE AND DO WHAT IT DOES, INSPIRE AND PUSH PEOPLE TO BEYOND WHAT THEY THINK THEY CAN DO.>>”AIN’T TOO PROUD,” YOU HAD KENDRICKS AND SYKES. ONE OF THEM WAS AN ALVIN AILEY DANCER.>>EPHRAIM SYKES.>>AND KENDRICKS DIDN’T HAVE MUCH DANCE EXPERIENCE. HOW DO YOU GET HIM TO THE PLACE — I THINK HE WORKED VERY, VERY HARD, YOU SAID THAT BEFORE, HOW DID YOU GET HIM INTO THAT — THAT ZONE HE HAD TO BE IN?>>I THOUGHT JEREMY, HE MIGHT BE ABLE TO DO IT. HE IS VERY CONTEMPORARY. WE HAVE TO GET HIM AWAY FROM THE HIP-HOP THING. CAN I GET HIM TO UNDERSTAND THE PERIOD? THAT IS THE THING WITH JEREMY. JEREMY IS VERY AMBITIOUS AND WORKS HARD. IT IS LIKE A TAILOR, REALLY. YOU TAKE THE MEASUREMENTS AND LOOK AT THE BODY, WELL, HE HAS LONG LEGS, AND — THAT IS WHAT IT IS. IT IS UNDERSTANDING THE ACTOR, HIS SHORTCOMINGS, HIS ATTRIBUTES AND YOU FIGURE OUT EXACTLY HOW TO MAKE THAT WORK, ESPECIALLY IN A SHOW LIKE “AIN’T TOO PROUD.”>>WHEN YOU ARE DEALING WITH PERIOD MUSICALS, “SUMMER” IN THE 1970s, “ON YOUR FEET,” WHICH IS ’80s, “AIN’T TOO PROUD,” WHICH IS THE ’60s to ’70s. TO WHAT EXTENT ARE YOU FAITHFUL TO THE PERIOD, TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOU WANT TO ADD A 2019 GLOSS TO THE DANCE?>>WE ARE NOT RE-CREATING THE TEMPTATIONS OR RE-CREATING THE PERIOD, WE ARE DOING AN ADAPTATION OF IT. WE REALLY HAVE TO LOOK AT IT THROUGH THE LENS OF TODAY. THAT IS ME LOOKING AT DANCE AND SAYING, LIKE IN JERSEY BOYS, CAN I DO THIS WITH A TWIST? [LAUGHTER]>>CAN I DO THE MASHED POTATO, BUT CAN I DO IT WITH A TWIST OF MASHED POTATO? WATCHING THE TEMPTATIONS AND THEIR WORK, HOW DO WE TAKE WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THEM AND THEIR STORY IN THEATER AND WORK, AND THEN I HAVE THESE INCREDIBLY TALENTED TRIPLE THREATS — THEY ARE DOING THINGS THAT THE ACTUAL TEMPS WOULD NEVER DO. THOSE ARE ALL THE THINGS THAT CAME INTO MY HEAD AS I WAS DOING IT. I WANT TO CONTINUE TO WORK ON THE SHOW TO THE END. MAXIMIZING THE OPPORTUNITY.>>YOU HAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO SAY YES TO ANY NUMBER OF PROJECTS. HOW DO YOU PICK YOUR PROJECTS? I THINK PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO HEAR THAT YOU PICKED “NEXT TO NORMAL” WHICH DOESN’T HAVE A LOT OF DANCE IN IT. IS IT THE PEOPLE YOU WANTED TO WORK WITH — TO THAT CHOICE?>>YES, I HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE THAT I HAVE HAD SOME GREAT WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITIES, AND THERE ALWAYS HAS TO BE A LESSON. SOMETIMES THE THINGS THAT SCARE ME ARE THE THINGS I NEED TO DO. I WANTED TO WORK WITH MICHAEL — BRIAN AND I HAVE WORKED TOGETHER ON A SHOW. TOM S INCREDIBLY TALENTED AND DAVID STONE, HE IS AN INCREDIBLY TALENTED PRODUCER. YOU LOOK AT THE TEAM AND YOU SAY, AND YOU KNOW, THE FIRST SHOW THAT WE GOT WAS NOT ACTUALLY THE SHOW THAT ENDED UP ON STAGE, BUT YOU SORT OF HAVE TO LOOK BEYOND ALL OF THAT.>>IN TERMS OF “ON YOUR FEET,” “MAMBO KINGZ,” AND OTHER PRODUCTIONS, THEY ARE PERSONALLY CLOSE TO YOU. YOU ARE FROM COLOMBIA, YOU HAVE THE IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE, HAVING MOVED WITH YOUR FAMILY TO A BETTER LIFE IN TORONTO FIRST, THEN COMING TO THIS COUNTRY. HOW HAS YOUR IMMIGRANT EXPERIENCE, SERGIO, INFLUENCED YOUR DANCE AND YOUR STYLE?>>I SPENT THE FIRST 10 OR 20 YEARS OF MY CAREER WORKING ON SHOWS THAT WERE VERY AMERICAN. “MEMPHIS,” “JERSEY BOYS,” “THE ADDAMS FAMILY,” “NEXT TO NORMAL,” AND I DID NOT GET CLOSE TO WHO I REALLY WAS. I FEEL LIKE I PUT THAT PART OF MY LIFE ASIDE. AFTER I FINISHED “THE ADDAMS FAMILY” AND “MEMPHIS,” I THOUGHT I NEEDED TO GO BACK TO MY ROOTS. I WAS SO FOCUSED ON MOVING AHEAD AND THE FUTURE THAT IT WAS NOT LIKE — NOW I FEEL LIKE MY LIFE IS RICHER BECAUSE I HAVE EMBRACED WHO I AM, WHO I WAS, MY PAST — IT HASN’T BEEN EASY. THE IMMIGRANT STORY I HAVE LIVED IS A FULLY LIVED ONE, WITH SACRIFICES AND OBSTACLES, AND AT THE END OF THE DAY, THIS JOURNEY HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING. THAT HAS TO MEAN SOMETHING NOT FOR ME, BUT THOSE WHO WILL COME AFTER ME. I TAKE THIS MOMENT AND THIS, MY CAREER, MY LIFE, VERY, VERY SIGNIFICANTLY BECAUSE I WANT TO MAKE SURE I DO LEAVE A TRACE OF WHAT I DID AND AN IMPRINT ON OTHERS WHO WILL COME AFTER ME.>>AND THE RICHNESS IN YOUR EXPERIENCE AND THE RICHNESS OF EMBRACING YOUR PAST HAS EXTENDED TO YOUR DANCES AS WELL. IT IS SO MUCH A PART OF THE DNA.>>THANK YOU. I THINK WHAT I HAVE LEARNED TO TRUST AS WELL IS THE SOUNDS, YOU KNOW? YOU ARE GROWING UP AND YOU HEAR, — IN COLOMBIA, WE LIVED IN A NOT SO RICH, IN A VERY POOR, LITTLE NEIGHBORHOOD, BUT THERE WAS ALWAYS MUSIC. EVEN IF PEOPLE WERE SCREAMING, CRYING, AT THE END OF THE DAY THERE WAS ALWAYS MUSIC, ALWAYS DANCE. FOR ME, THERE IS ALWAYS THIS JOY. I CARRY THIS JOY THAT IS VERY MUCH INGRAINED IN ME, AND EVEN TO THIS DAY, MY FAMILY, WHENEVER I GO HOME OR WHEN THERE IS A PARTY, THERE IS ALWAYS A DANCE OFF, THEY ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO SHOW OFF WHO DOES THE BEST — I ACTUALLY DO NOT DANCE ANYMORE BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE I ALWAYS HAVE TO PRACTICE BEFORE I GO THERE. IT IS THAT PART OF IT THAT I CARRY VERY DEEPLY, AND THAT HELPS MY WORK, THE JOY, REALLY.>>THE JOY AND THE SEXINESS. THE LATINO SEXINESS. YOU BROUGHT THAT JOY TO YOUR TONY SPEECH, WHERE YOU DELIVERED A MESSAGE TO ANYONE WHO COMES, — TO DREAMERS PARTICULARLY. I WOULD LIKE YOU TO SORT OF GO BACK TO THAT MOMENT IN THE TONY AWARDS, BECAUSE IT WAS ONE OF THE HIGH POINTS AND EMOTIONAL MOMENTS OF THE TONY AWARDS OF LAST YEAR. WAS THIS SOMETHING YOU HAD PREPARED AND CONSEQUENTLY FELT YOU WANTED TO EXPRESS IN THIS MOMENT IN OUR COUNTRY’S LIFE?>>YEAH. TALKING ABOUT COMING TO THIS COUNTRY AS AN UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT AND ALL THAT’S TOUGH, IT WAS NOT SOMETHING I WASN’T SURE THAT I WANTED TO SHARE. THERE IS ALWAYS THAT CULTURE, THERE IS A SLIGHT SHAME YOU’RE DOING SOMETHING WRONG WHEN YOU ARE REALLY NOT. YOU HAVE COME HERE TO LIVE A BETTER LIFE. I CAME HERE TO BECOME A BROADWAY DANCER, REALLY TO ACHIEVE MY DREAMS. AS CORNY AS THAT MAY SOUND, IT IS TRUE. HAD I HAD THIS MOMENT 10 YEARS AGO, AND VOICED THAT, NO ONE WOULD HAVE UNDERSTOOD THAT. THOSE 90 SECONDS NEEDED TO MEAN SOMETHING NOT ONLY FOR THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE HELPED ME GET HERE AND, YOU KNOW, IT WAS NOT JUST THE TEAM — >>YOUR ANGELS.>>INCREDIBLE ANGELS. I HAVE HAD SO MUCH LOVE AND SUPPORT FROM THE COMMUNITY AND PEOPLE HELPED ME WHEN I FIRST GOT HERE IN THE BEGINNING AS WELL, BUT AT THE END OF THE DAY, YOU USE THAT MOMENT AS A PLATFORM AND A PLATFORM TO INSPIRE OTHERS WHO ARE WATCHING AND WITNESSING THIS MOMENT. FOR ME, IT WAS IMPORTANT FOR THE DREAMERS TO UNDERSTAND THAT THEY NEED TO HOLD ON, YOU KNOW? IN MOMENTS OF CHALLENGES LIKE THIS, IT IS IMPORTANT TO CONTINUE, TO BELIEVE, TO DREAM, TO HOPE, BECAUSE IT WILL CHANGE. THINGS WILL CHANGE, AND I WAS, YOU KNOW, I AM AN EXAMPLE OF, IF GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY, GIVEN THE SUPPORT, THE LOVE, WHAT CAN HAPPEN TO THESE YOUNG KIDS. YOU KNOW, SOME OF THEM, THEY ARE SO INCREDIBLY TALENTED, THEY ARE NOT GETTING THAT OPPORTUNITY.>>YOU ARE GIVING PEOPLE LOTS OF OPPORTUNITIES, AND I’M GLAD YOU GOT THE OPPORTUNITY TO ENRICH US. IT IS A REMARKABLE STORY.>>IT MEANS A GREAT DEAL TO ME THAT YOU TOOK THE TIME TO TALK TO ME. I AM A HUGE FAN AND MORE THAN ANYTHING I WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT THIS MOMENT IS HEARD. THANK YOU.>>THANK YOU SO MUCH. THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. WE WILL BE BACK NEXT MONTH WITH ANOTHER LOOK AT THE EXPERT AND SINGULAR ARTISTS WHO LIVE AND WORK ONLY TO ASTONISH US. I’M PATRICK PACHECO. ♪ [THEME MUSIC] ♪

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