PaperCity Magazine

September 2017 - Dallas

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Page 99 of 163

98 Michael Garcia "I started dance when I was seven years old. My mom put me in classes because I was one of those kids who always danced when music came on. After my first class, I was hooked." Originally from South Texas, Garcia is the first person in his family to attend a university other than a community college. Booker T. has been his safe haven, he admits, a place for him to be free, creative, and to obtain the real-world experience that ultimately appealed to the major players at Juilliard. In January of last year, Garcia exercised his strength in a dynamic and athletic solo performance choreographed by Jessica Hendricks during Miami's YoungArts Week, a scholarship program that recognizes talents of dancers, photographers, musicians, and other visual artists. "That was one of the best performances and weeks of my life." Todd Baker "To have an effect on people just by using your body is incredible. Expressing something that someone can relate to can almost change a life; it can do wonders." Movie musicals fascinated Baker, who began dancing in fourth grade. In high school, he started off as a classical jazz commercial dancer but fell in love with ballet after performing Dwight Rhoden's "Testament," a contemporary ballet dance ensemble, at the annual Dallas DanceFest. "It changed my path," he says. "I was never exposed to something like that — the feeling I got from performing to an audience that's just there to appreciate the art of dance." Todd Baker Michael Garcia Zane Unger (continued from page 96)

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