Crystal Serrano

Interview Highlights
Q: What has been your professional dance journey, and how did you come to dance with  Dance Theatre of Harlem?
My parents are from Mexico. Both my parents came to the U.S. as immigrants. My parents were full time workers—my mom cleaned hospitals and my dad was doing construction, so to keep me busy, my dad put me in ballet class. I continued, and I remember at a certain point we couldn't afford it. But the school gave me scholarships, and tried to find ways to help me continue, which helped. I remember when I was 15 years old, and the director's son, Daniel Wilkins, who was a dancer with the New York City Ballet (NYCB), would come and teach us classes, and he ended up staying for the year because our director got sick. It was audition season and all the girls were getting ready to audition. He told us there was an NYCB group coming to the audition. This was in Seattle, Washington. I was the only one who wasn't going to audition; I didn't have any pictures or money. But he said “you have to go”, so he drove me to the audition. I didn't want to go. I never really believed I could be a ballerina. I always wanted to be a lawyer, and do something that would make money for my family, and I thought of ballerinas as unicorns.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you as a performing artist?
It has affected me a lot from day one, which was two weeks ago. We were on tour in Detroit. We had just finished a school show. We were so thankful to perform for over 2,000 students and it was so rewarding to share our art form with young people. Right after that, we were told that the rest of the tour would be cancelled. After that, everything was shut down, so we didn’t even get to perform for the public in Detroit. Our New York season is in April, and we usually perform at New York City Center. That was cancelled.
Read full interview here

Born: Denver, CO. Training: Pacific Northwest Ballet, School of American Ballet, Olympic Ballet Theatre. Professional experience: Dance Theatre of Harlem, Ballet San Antonio, Oregon Ballet Theatre, Sacramento Ballet, Pacific Northwest Ballet. Repertoire: Works by Don Quixote, The Nutcracker, Peter Pan, Firebird, Donizetti Variations, Cinderella, The Four Temperaments, Allegro Brillante, The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Serenade, and Swan Lake.