Zeke Ruvalcaba is featured in this edition of Dance Spotlight! Zeke is a multi-talented dance instructor living in Chicago. Not only is he owner and director of PhyZeke Dance, but he also owns PhyZeke Dance Brand, the apparel branch of his dance business. He has designed costumes for many popular dancers including Ataca and Alemana, Alien Ramirez, Jorjet Alcocer and Griselle Ponce (to name a few). He was nominated by Jason Haynes.
Check out some fun facts and information on Zeke including his thoughts on being a capable lead AND follow, and a few of his favorite dance costumes that he’s designed.
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What are your first memories of latin dancing?
My first memories of Latin dancing were watching my parents and family dance at family parties and participating in over twenty-five quinceaneras (Sweet 15’s). I loved it!
The movie that inspired me to dance was “Flash Dance”. The movie “Center Stage” also inspired me and kept me motivated.
You pride yourself on being both a capable lead AND follow. Why is that quality important to you as a social dancer and dance instructor?
I pride myself in being a capable lead and follow for many reasons. As an instructor, it’s a valuable asset to have because you are able to help correct both roles equally. As a social dancer, it challenges me when I follow, which helps me learn and improve.
Social Dance Pet Peeve(s)? (Hygiene, No connection, People who teach while dancing, etc)
I don’t really have any social dance pet peeves, however one thing has become a common issue for me. It is when instructors or advanced dancers are tired or need a break and someone asks them to dance and we say ‘no’ and the dancer gets mad and takes it personally. Dancers have to understand that we are human and should respect that we get fatigued. A helpful action dancers could do is say ‘thank you’ and move on to the next dance.
Another issue is when dancers say no to someone and then immediately dance with someone else! Please don’t be that type of dancer.
You’re trained in ballet, modern and jazz dance. How does that training help you as a latin dance instructor?
I am fortunate enough to have a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Dance. I’m not teaching as much of what I trained in (Ballet and Modern), but it has helped me tremendously as an instructor and with directing my teams and being a coach. It is not necessary to have a degree in dance, but it does help you to be better prepared in order to be more successful in your craft. I love teaching movement classes and workshops and I owe that to my extensive study in Kinesiology (the study of the mechanics of body movements).
Describe a moment in your dance life that has made you proud.
Wow, I have had many moments that made me proud, but there are four important moments in my career that I’d like to highlight.
- Celebrating 10 years with my All-Star Teams
- Opening PhyZeke Dance Academy
- I was selected to be a judge in two highly respected dance competitions: the World Salsa Summit and Euroson Latino World Salsa Championships
- Starting a kids dance team
You’ve created lots of latin dance costumes. Do you have any favorites that you’ve designed?
I have designed and created hundreds of costumes for all my dancers and dance colleagues. I would have to say that the following are probably my favorite costumes I have ever created. They were for Kathy Reyes, Daniel and Desire, Junior and Emily, Tamara Livolsi and, of course, my All-Star Teams Gold costumes. There are many more that I could pick, but these received lots of attention. If someone would like a costume designed they can reach me through www.phyzekedance.com!
(Click on the images to see examples of Zeke’s designs!)
What are your current favorite songs to dance to? Top two or three…
My Favorite Songs to dance to are:
- “Sabanas Blanca” by Omi Hernandez
- “Paris” by Picasso
- “Corazon de Acero” by Yiyo Sarante
- “Por que” by Joel Santos
Favorite dance video(s) you’d like to share?
The dance videos that I can watch all day, everyday are: