Featured Profile: Erica Villalpando
How and why did you get into dance?
I started with gymnastics in junior high; I loved moving and wanted to fly! In high school, I danced as a song leader and in dance club. This is when I really knew that dance was going to be my life career. I thought my high school teacher had the best job ever and I wanted to be just like her. I went onto Riverside Community College and then Chapman University and ended up with an A.A. in the Arts and a B.A in Dance with an emphasis in Education.
How did you find out about Nannette Brodie Dance Theatre, and how long have you been dancing with NBDT?
My friend, Jennifer Smith, who was a dance major at UCI at the time saw the posting and asked if I wanted to audition. It was 1997 and I was still in school but I auditioned and made it in. I have been with NBDT for 13 years. I started out as an apprentice, moved up to principle, and now dance and act as rehearsal director. I have learned so much and have had many opportunities with the company, teaching, traveling, choreographing and performing.
It is hard to pick one but I really enjoy 'Ever near at Hand," a duet that Nannette choreographed on me and Javier. I like all of the lifts and the partnering; it feels very natural to me. I also enjoy performing "Somewhere in Between" for its edge and power.
You have gone on tour with NBDT to many places. Where was your favorite place you performed and why?
The Czech Republic amazed me! I loved the storybook city of Prague. I had the chance to perform in an old, old theatre, raked stage and all! I also loved Helsinki, Finland. The city was so clean, efficient and artistically inclined.
You had your son Eli this past year; is it challenging to balance your dance life and family life? How do you do it?
Finally what is your favorite NBDT memory or moment?
Oh, there is so many!!!! Everything from dancing on top of the sun pyramid in Mexico City, to taking class with Murray Louis in New York City, to snowmobiling to a glacier in Iceland, to dancing in company members weddings. I have really grown up with Nannette and all of the NBDT dancers. Sharing life moments like birthdays, weddings, babies, that is why I have stuck around for so long. Dancing in NBDT has brought me some good lifetime friends and some amazing life changing opportunities. Thank you Nannette and thank you NBDT!