Yusha-Marie Sorzano

Interview Highlights
Q: What have been some challenges in your pre-professional or professional dance career?
Permission. I can always bring it back to that word. Being a concert dancer, there is such a clear codified technique and structure you are supposed to follow, and because it is an aesthetic art form you have to look a certain way. I didn’t look like the ballerinas that I was aspiring to be, so I was always looking for permission. I found myself jumping from company to company trying to find one I fit into, and then I got injured and had to slow down and had to figure out what I wanted to do. When I wasn’t influenced by others and wasn’t constantly asking for permission, I found my own voice and that was the most life-changing professional shift.

Q: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected you as a performing artist?
I keep saying to people I've gone through the seven stages of grief as far as cancellations. I was talking to a friend —  the hardest thing I have an issue with is cancellations. It’s not necessarily the cancellations themselves, it’s the language we use around cancellations that sucks the hope out of the whole community, not just dance. I want to have conversations with artists about the fact that, even though we are cancelled indefinitely, how do we keep building? Financially I will lose a lot, as many people will, and I have to put that in perspective. I can only process it through my own lense, but when I look at the whole world at large, I am ok. I have a home and food. I may not be working right now but I have a husband that has a job and can still be working. But it is hard to feel like the things you worked towards are cancelled… and just may never happen.
Read full interview here

Yusha-Marie Sorzano, originally from the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, received her primary instruction from New World School of the Arts, Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, and The Dance Theater of Harlem. In her senior year, she received an award for outstanding choreography from New World School of the Arts, as well as an award in dance from the National YoungArts Foundation. She went on to attend the Ailey/Fordham BFA Program and in her junior year was invited to join Ailey II. Ms. Sorzano has been a member of Complexions Contemporary Ballet, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Morphoses, TU Dance, BODYTRAFFIC, and Camille A. Brown and Dancers. She has also performed as a guest artist with Benjamin Millepied’s LA Dance Project. Ms. Sorzano has performed in principal roles with the Ailey company and in a wide variety of concert works, including works by noted choreographers Ulysses Dove, Maurice Béjart, Hofesh Shechter, Kyle Abraham, and Mauro Bigonzetti. Additionally, she has performed alongside recording artists Wynton Marsalis, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and Rihanna. Her theater, television, and film credits include being a guest artist on “Dancing with the Stars,” principal dancer in Chicago’s acclaimed Goodman Theater’s “Crowns,” and principal dancer in the independent film “You, Me & The Circus”. Deeply passionate about the powerful role that educators play in the lives of young artists, Ms. Sorzano enjoys teaching both nationally and internationally. From Trinidad to the United States and beyond, Ms. Sorzano has had the pleasure of teaching at esteemed educational institutions and festivals around the world, including the Ailey School, Lines Ballet/Dominican Universities BFA Program, TU Dance, Contemporary Choreographers’ Collective, New World School of the Arts, The Windward School, Brasil’s Mostra Danca, and Italy’s Danzainfiera. Ms. Sorzano currently serves as the Artistic Director of the Joffrey Ballet Schools Dallas summer intensive and as an Associate Director for Community Engagment with Francisco Gella Dance Works.