Freshman Oscar Gutierrez breaks down dance boundaries
He pauses in the center of the stage, wearing a crisp white shirt and tie, while glancing off to stage left, the figure of confidence. Just minutes later, he reappears on stage wearing a gray shirt and khakis, stretching his arms out to the side with a tortured expression. He next morphs into a jubilant dancer, as he waves jazz hands for the next performance. The next dance reveals him with his hand outstretched as if yearning for something. Next, he commands the stage in his solo, slipping on different dance personalities like a chameleon.
Energetic. Passionate. Inspirational. This is freshman Oscar Gutierrez. His dance styles range from ballet, contemporary, lyrical and tap, with contemporary being his preferred style because of the wide range of character opportunities it offers. A dancer who first started in a ballet class five years ago at Class Act Dance, he has snagged the lead role as the Nutcracker Prince in the annual
Christmas Nutcracker recitals and even performed a solo at the 2016 PRHS Dance Show. The types of roles he tackles only proves how versatile of a dancer he is: the acrobatic Moor Doll, the high energy Russian dancer, the amusing Chef, the courageous Nutcracker Prince, and in his own words, a “weird creepy possessed person.”
“When you’re on stage…you’re in your own little world and it’s the coolest thing because you get to share part of yourself with the audience,” Gutierrez said.
Getting up on stage in front of an audience ready to judge your every move is nerve wracking; however, Gutierrez draws on his self confidence to transform into different characters.
“I think of becoming nothing, because you have to be nothing to be something” said Gutierrez, going on to describe that on stage, he fully embodies the character by driving negative thoughts out of his head.
“It is really great to have a male dancer that other boys can look up to. He dances very masculine and powerful, which I appreciate,” Leadership and Dance teacher Jennifer Bedrosian said.
His passion for dance has lead him to compete for a spot in a professional summer dance camp, also known as “an intensive.” The American Ballet Theater, company to the first colored female principal ballerina Misty Copeland, hosts a prestigious summer intensive that Gutierrez participated in last year and auditioned for this summer. Intensives comprise of up to seven classes a day, taught by professionals, with only two breaks.
“You get inspired to be a better dancer, or a teacher…there’s so many great people that go there,” said Gutierrez about his experience at intensives.
Competitions are also part of a dancer’s life, with Gutierrez’s favorite being the JUMP Convention held in the spring. When dancing in a workshop held by esteemed choreographer Mia Michaels, he remembers, “I was doing this turn and she grabbed my hand…Someone who appreciates artistry just grabbed my hand,” later joking that, “I’ve been touched by a god!” in response to the experience.
His dedication to dance is noticed both in the professional world of dance and close to home.
“Oscar is an extremely strong and beautiful dancer. He is an original and his choreography is unique and creative,” said Bedrosian, who also describes his technique as “right on point”.
Dancing will not be reduced to just an extracurricular activity for Gutierrez; instead, he plans on pursuing a career in the dance field, something he’s set his eyes on since his first ballet class.
“As a teacher we often look for students to inspire us. He definitely is one of those students that fills that role,” Bedrosian said.