Meet Anna de la Paz: Q & A
How did you become interested in Spanish dance?
I grew up in Baltimore, MD, but my family is from Spain. My mother really wanted me to learn the dances of her culture and there was a phenomenal teacher at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. Her name was Maria Morales, and I was truly lucky to start my training with such a masterful dancer and choreographer.
Where did you study?
After studying with Mrs. Morales at the Peabody for nine years, I went to Madrid in 1994 for a year to continue my professional studies with Mariemma, La Tati, Tomás de Madrid, María Magdalena and Pedro Azorín. Upon my return to the United States, I studied ballet and modern dance at Towson University where I got my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance Performance, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Literature. At the same time I studied Spanish dance with Carmen de Vicente in Alexandria, VA and I spent a semester at the University of New Mexico's celebrated flamenco and Spanish dance department. I moved to New York in 1999 and studied with Gabriela Granados, José Molina, La Meira, Mariano Parra and Jerane Michel.
Why do you love Spanish dance?
I am not sure if it is because I am Spanish, but I connect deeply with Spanish music. The variety of dances from Spain is extremely interesting and continually fascinates me.
Where have you performed?
I have performed at various venues including The Kennedy Center and Carnegie Hall. Upon moving to New York City in 1999, I began working with Gabriela Granados and the American Bolero Dance Company. With ABDC, I performed in the critically acclaimed production, Olé! Olé! Fin de Siglo, and I continue dancing with the company today. I also perform as a freelance artist in Rockland County, dancing in theaters, schools and libraries.
What are your favorite dances to teach and perform?
I love to perform the classical dances because they incorporate elements of the various types of Spanish dances, such as flamenco and folkloric. But, I love to teach flamenco in NY. Flamenco has so many layers to it, and as I teach, I learn.
What else do you do besides dance?
My three children and my husband are my life, and although motherhood has occupied much of my time, it has also brought a depth to my dancing that I may not have been able to achieve without that experience.