In your own words, what is your ethnic identity? (for individuals)
I was born in Pampanga, the Philippines and was raised in San Antonio, Texas.
Your Artistic Background/Mission
As an International Artist and Educator Leonard Cruz has throughout his life believed in three goals:
• to incorporate the rich and historical Southeast Asian thought and traditions into contemporary Western Dance and Improvisation
• to inspire mutual understanding between diverse peoples and cultures through dance within the education system and the surrounding community
• to nourish the heart, mind, body and soul through somatic dance methods which strengthens and centers the body to mindfully move with total body awareness and control
Your Creative Influences
As a child I learned Filipino and Hawaiian Folk dance forms with my two sisters and four brothers. These experiences allowed me to transform to different beings, animals in celebration of life and nature. After having worked 5 years with Bill T. Jones in the early 90's I learned to think on my feet both as an improvisor and activist. Bill's charisma is one that I adore but as an Asian American find it difficult to embody. German Tanztheater has had a strong influence in my work both in terms of the expression and approach to technique. My first contract was as guest with Pina Bausch and member of the Folkwang Tanz Studio in Essen, Germany where I stayed only a year because I was invited to become a soloist with Susanne Linke in Bremen, Germany for 5 years. So my solo performance/choreographic work is a mixture of all these influential dance icons as well as my traditional folk dance forms melding together to form an embodied warrior.
If you are not in New York City, what are your ties to New York's Asian American artistic community?
My work is created/shown/produced in NYC regularly
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