AJ Guevara has been a company dancer with ETD since 2016 but this is his first year as a movement instructor with ETD Outreach. No matter the population, AJ has an incredible ability to relate with anyone! He is a natural. We are so excited to have him on #teamETD. Here is a little about him and his life in NYC as a professional dancer...

When did you begin dancing? Has being a dancer always been your dream job?
I discovered dance at a young age, recreationally enrolling into Hip-Hop as a supplement to my martial arts training. After a prolonged hiatus, my intrigue for dance was reinvigorated as a teenager. It was then that I began formal training to eventually persue it as a career.  The trajectory with dance was somewhat accidental; In my youth, I remember being attracted to to the fields of animation, architectural design and aeronautics. 

What other dance, theater, or film companies have you worked for or taught with?
This is my inaugural season teaching with ETD. Currently, I teach in the Bronx at one of the Acacia Network sites.  My experience has been very fulfilling.  It’s great to share the space with individuals who are discovering the joys and possibilities that movement brings to the body and mind.
Over the span of my 15 year teaching career, have been blessed with opportunities across the globe.  Some affiliations include AXIS Dance Company, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane,  Gibney Dance, Company E, Fairfax County Public Schools,  NBCUniversal, and U.S. State Department

What is your ultimate goal as a professional dancer/instructor?
My goal as an instructor is to share the benefits of movement as an outlet for creativity, communication, and self-practice.  I also thrive to spread the idea of movement as an all-inclusive modality that can bring people together regardless of ability, background, or experience.

Describe your style of dancing and teaching. What artists have impacted you the most?
My dance style is a product from a cornucopia of influences.  I would say that primarily, it is a fluctuating blend of Jazz, Ballet, Hip-Hop, and Yoga. On the teaching side of things, I take an approach that has a progressive flow with task-oriented movement explorations. I also implement a somatic approach to a kinetic phrases to encourage an individual experience for everyone present

What public figure has had the biggest influence on you and why?
President Barack Obama and his legacy, for the countless milestones he’s  achieved; both as an individual and as Commander in Chief.

Do you have a quote or mantra that you live by?
Carpe Noctem is Latin for “Seize the Night”.  For me, its the idea of harnessing the energy of a difficult experience, braving the journey, and using it as an opportunity for growth.

What's been the largest obstacle/struggle in your life to becoming an artist in NYC? How did you overcome it?
The day-to-day struggles in NYC are the most difficult.  It almost takes a certain endurance to live as an artist here.  I overcome the stress of NYC by dedicating time for myself.  Whether I do absolutely nothing, or a leisurely activity, I actively schedule ‘re-grounding’ time to do whatever I please. Even if its only a couple hours a week, the mental and physical benefits are incredible.