Listen to this article
A choreographer born in Colombia was one of the few Latin American quotas present in this edition of the Tony Awards
Working on Broadway is like the American dream, but not only of those who come to the United States in search of opportunities but of the Americans themselves. This is how many who wish to pursue their artistic passion come to New York with the hope of being able to perform in some legendary musical like Jersey Boys. Now, if this "American dream" is for the same "Americans", how will it be for the Latin American community? Will there be room for a Latin American to succeed on Broadway?
Leer en español: ¿Dónde está la comunidad latina en Broadway?
According to NBC, the Latin American presence on Broadway is overwhelmingly white, both on-stage and off-stage. "The Actors' Equity Association, for example, has 51,000 active members and only 2.9% identify themselves as Hispanic / Latino." Similarly, the number of Spanish-speaking viewers reaches only 8.2%.
You only have to see the last Tony Awards, the Broadway awards, which took place on June 9, to realize that the Latin quota is rather small. This year, Robin de Jesus was nominated for his performance in 'The Boys in the Band', Sergio Trujillo, choreographer of 'Is not too proud: the life and the images of the temptations' and Eva Noblezada for her performance in' Hadestown '. However, the only one born in Latin America, more specifically in Colombia, was Trujillo. Noblezada and Jesus, on the other hand, have Latin ancestry.
The only winner
From immigrant to Broadway star, that is the definition for Sergio Trujillo, who has already dedicated 30 years of his life to the theatrical and musical show. Of the few nominees, Trujillo won. This man was born for dance, which led him to Broadway and, today, to win his first Tony Award for the choreography of the musical 'Is not too proud', after having already been nominated in the same category by the famous musical 'Jersey Boys'.
He was born in Cali, Colombia, and today he recognizes himself as a 'dreamer'. According to NBC, Trujillo said that "Being Latino, dancing is our birthright; We are basically born onto the dance floor." And since he was a child he danced, until he started doing it professionally at 19, a very old age for those who want to dedicate themselves to that world.
But little by little, this dancer managed to make way on Broadway, dancing in several musicals before going behind the scenes to focus on choreography rather than the dance itself. In 2010 it reached its highest moment when he was part of 'Jersey Boys', 'The Addams Family', 'Next To Normal' and 'Memphis'.
Today, thanks also to that prize he has just won, Trujillo recognizes himself as a 'dreamer', as one of those people who came to the United States in search of opportunities and succeeded. Thus, with a smile that occupied his whole face, in his speech when he received the award, it was shown as proof that one can achieve those dreams. "I came to New York 30 years ago as an illegal immigrant and I'm standing here as proof, to all the 'dreamers', I want you to hear this: I'm standing here as proof that the American dream is still alive, they just have to keep fighting, because the change will come," he said.
Not feeling less for being Latin American may have been the key to get there, especially in an industry where it is so difficult to succeed, whether you are white, black, Latino, male or female. For an interview with Now New Next, the choreographer said he never thought that if something went wrong was because he was Latino, but because he simply was not good for that. "I've always sort of seen myself as equal and in a certain way, if I got cut or not, it was because I was not good enough, not because I'm Latin. 'I need to be better.' That's the mentality of a dancer," he said.
While hundreds of people applauded him standing because of the inspiring message that gives millions of people who are currently in the situation in which he arrived years ago to fulfill his dream, he took the opportunity to say in Spanish during his speech "for all of them who are listening to this moment, I want you to know, that if I, Sergio Trujillo, born in Cali, Colombia, I can get to have this moment, you can also do it ".
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez
Translated from "¿Dónde está la comunidad latina en Broadway?"