I am a NYC based dancer and choreographer. I currently dance for Michiyaya Dance Company, which is an improvisation based all-women 's contemporary dance theater based in NYC. Beside that, I am also a co-artistic director of my own dance theater company, Suku Dance Lab. With Suku Dance Lab, we merge dance with different form, genres, media and style of art as an agency to establish a dynamic and nuanced lens through which to examine community - how human experiences can be deeply unique and simultaneously universal. Additionally, I am also an independent contractor who create, direct, perform and collaborate with different artists throughout NYC. I have worked closely with Yara Travieso, Katie Rose McLaughlin, and with an arts organization called The Creators Collective.
2. What are you currently working on right now?
I am currently working with Michiyaya Dance for our second evening length concert called "Spline" premiering this March 25 & 27 at Manhattan Movement & Art Center (MMAC). You can learn more about Spline here . Together with Michiyaya Dance, we just wrapped up our collaboration with THINX, a woman empowering underwear brand, on the launch of their latest activewear collections. I am also working on our first evening length project called "Me Hago Falta" with Suku Dance Lab that will premiere Fall 2017. I am excited to share that this project was a recipient of the Brooklyn Arts Council (BAC) Grant Award. You can learn more about Me Hago Falta here
3. What visa are you on right now?
I am currently a O-1 visa holder.
4. Tell me about any difficulties you may have faced while applying for the visa?
The most difficult part in this process is definitely to get as many press coverage on my work as I can. The fact that I just move to NYC a year ago when I started the process of applying for my O1 visa definitely does not make it easier. I started my dance company at the same time I moved to NYC; I auditioned to almost all the posts I saw on Dance NYC; I applied to almost everywhere looking for a venue or festival where I can present my work. Nobody knows me in this city. I don't have the community or connection that I can reach out to to ask for help. The fact that I am so new in this city makes it really hard for me to get people to say yes, whether it is to write an article about me or my work, to give me an opportunity to work with them, or to say yes to presenting my work. It is a very draining and nerve-wrecking process. To do all these in a year post graduation, to collect proofs and paperworks, showing that you are "extraordinary enough" for someone who probably has no idea what your voice is as an artist to judge your artistic value, didn't seem to make sense and sounded impossible at first. However, the rules are the rules even though they aren't pretty. There's nothing much we can do to change it. But it is doable. Every little things count no matter how little they are. It leads me to one thing and then to the other thing. The good side is, this visa application process definitely give me an extra boost of motivation since I cannot afford to slack because clock is ticking. In the end, I get to kill two birds with one stone - secure my status as a woman immigrant artist in this country and launch my career faster.
5. Do you have any advice for people who might want to apply for the same visa as you?
Not to wait on others to give you the opportunities to showcase your work. Create your own opportunity. You should in general anyways, but especially in this case. Don't procrastinate, hustle, and don't forget to give yourself a rub on the back.
For more information about the O1 / Artist visa check out our O1 / Artist Visa Application Guide and O1 / Artist Visa Immigration FAQ.
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