Tina Cavicchio is featured in this edition of Dance Spotlight! Tina is a dance instructor and choreographer based in Boston. She teaches at events across the US and is a major advocate for individual empowerment and expression. She was nominated by Serena Spears, Angelica Medina and Jahaira Fajardo.
Serena said, “She’s not just an incredible dancer, but also a beautiful person who has been raising awareness for some really important causes, and she deserves community recognition.”
Check out some fun facts and information on Tina including her thoughts on empowerment and the relationship between gender and lead/follow rolls.
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What are your first memories of Latin dancing?
My first memories of Latin dancing are actually from the ballroom scene. I started doing ballroom when I was about 11 and I always loved when they would play salsa, cha cha cha, rumba, bolero, and the very rare bachata. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the other dances, except hustle! I miss dancing hustle, but, I loved salsa so much that I started heavily training in it (in ballroom). I loved the music and the feeling I got from listening to it. One day someone suggested I check out Havana Club in Boston, a latin social, and I never looked back.
You will be offering an “Empowerment Challenge” at the 2020 Queer Latin Dance Festival as part of the event performance challenges. Can you please explain what empowerment means to you and why it’s important to the latin dance community?
Wow. What a great question. Empowerment, I believe, is the goal of who I am as a teacher, human, and dancer. Empowerment to me means loving yourself. Truly loving yourself. Not letting fears, doubts, and insecurities get in the way of being present, loving others, and loving ourselves. Sometimes we need others to love us before we can love ourselves. And when we find that love within ourselves, we can give it to others. I believe empowerment is about helping others showcase their strengths, celebrate differences, and creating unity among all.
You and Juan Calderon created a dance video called ‘Switchcraft.’ Can you explain what the term ‘Switch’ means in relationship to latin dance? And, also, what message did you want to communicate to the dance community through the video?
The term ‘Switchcraft’ was coined by Juan Calderon, and means to switch between leading and following and sometimes having a dance where we can’t even tell who is leading and who is following. Some people have misconceptions that leading and following are determined by gender and sexuality. We wanted to showcase that both of us equally love to lead and follow and that we can create intimacy and connection in a non-sexual way. I want people to know that I don’t like to lead because I’m gay and I don’t like to follow because I’m a female. I like to lead and follow equally because I love dance.
Dance Pet Peeve(s): (Hygiene, No connection, People who teach while dancing, etc)
- When someone won’t dance with beginners. We were ALL beginners at one point.
- When instructors don’t explain what is appropriate on the social dance floor, or what’s appropriate with people who may not have the same comfort levels as us. I believe that most people choose to dance to have fun, and I believe to have fun, we need to foster an atmosphere that’s safe, communicative, and consensual.
You’ve trained in a variety of dance styles (salsa, bachata, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, African etc.) Which of these is your favorite and why?
I truly and honestly do not have a favorite. I LOVE to learn new things. I love fusing dances together and I believe any movement in our bodies will help us grow as dancers and help us to find new ways of healing.
What are your current favorite songs to social dance to? Top two or three…
- “Salvaje” by Messiah and Elvis Crespo
- “Mi Dicen Cuba” by Havana D’Primera
- “Muchachita Loca” by Teodoro Reyes