Dance Alum Micaela Gonzales (’18) took the time to share her personal story and let us know what she has been working on since leaving Cornish, and during the covid pandemic.
We extend a hearty thank you to Micaela for this interview!
Describe growing up and your childhood.
I was raised by two lovely, but two very different types of people. My mother was a dancer her entire life; an artist through and through. She was also an army brat, so she always made me aware of how beautiful cultures of the world are. My father is an attorney who was raised in a very small town. Always down for a debate, I grew up being ready to bring facts. This caused me to be the most free flowing, analytical person you’ve probably ever met. Ambitious but grateful, and always ready to work. I couldn’t be more thankful for all they’ve done for me, and how much they supported my dancing.
Tell us about why you decided to pursue art and why Cornish?
Art was always what I wanted to do. There was absolutely no question about it. I know that I have one life, and it’s my life, and I am allowed to do what I want with it. I hated the talks about “What’s your backup?” or “What’s your plan B?”. I wish I would have responded with, “Plan B? You have no idea what an artist is capable of.” As an artist, I have realized that the possibilities are endless when it comes to my future or my career. Artists are adaptable, intuitive and skillful.
Also, always remember that doing what you love is how you’ll find happiness. Sometimes that can be hard because we all know that passion doesn’t pay the bills. But passion gives you drive, and drive brings success, and success can look like so many beautiful things.
What was your takeaway from Cornish?
Going to Cornish opened my eyes to all the things that I could do. I thought there was only one way to be a “good dancer”. Only one way to look, feel, move, etc. But Cornish made me find my individuality and taught me to admire the uniqueness of those around me. I also think Cornish taught me the importance of rest and replenishing. But I didn’t learn those lessons until after I had graduated, when I was completely DRAINED. Then, when I regained my breath, I knew that I couldn’t let that type of artistic exhaustion happen to me again.
People who say that art school is easy have obviously never been to art school!
Were/Are your parents artists?
I suppose that I already answered this question, but one of my parents was/is an artist! My sisters were also dancers for part of their lives, so moving was a prominent part of our household. I loved being raised by an artist! My mother has always been so supportive of my artistic career. She was constantly cheering me on, and believed in me through and through. She’s still my number one fan!
How did your art lead you to your current position and are you still practicing your art if your day job isn’t in the arts?
Currently, I am a part time personal assistant for a BIPOC/Queer burlesque person here in Seattle. And I love it! I love that I work for a person that I feel safe around and that I truly admire. I’ve had really bad jobs and really good jobs. The really good jobs have always been arts related. The jobs that were boring, were the jobs that fit into the cookie-cutter idea of a “good” job. Cookie-cutter is boring and so was that front desk job.
Fight for the job you want, and if it doesn’t exist, create it! Believe in yourself and what you bring to the table. Don’t make yourself small to fit into society.
Tell us your vision for the future of our arts world, especially in this pandemic, societal, and financial crisis ~
Funding, funding, funding. There is not enough funding for the arts, yet the arts surround us no matter where we go. Having graduated for a few years now, I have finally been able to grasp how there is no money. Every arts organization is fighting for the same grants, supporters or donators. And living in one of the most expensive cities in the US, it’s heartbreaking. As this pandemic has shown, money can be created. So, why not create it for the arts?