UTEP student works her way to Premios Texas
Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
Junior dance major, Maira Montes, missed her best friend’s wedding in order to make a nine hour drive to Austin and perform as a back-up dancer for Premios Texas.
That was one of the many sacrifices she made in order to achieve her dream of becoming a professional dancer, but she doesn’t look back and aspires to perform again on the big stage.
“I first became aware of it (Premios Texas) through one of my friends, she sent me the flyer that was publicized on Facebook,” Montes said. “ I was thrilled with the idea and decided to take a chance.”
According to Montes, auditions for the annual people’s choice award ceremony honoring the best in the Latin music industry were held the week of summer I finals, so she made some arrangements and without over thinking it, she drove to Austin.
“Being my first audition I was really nervous and I had no idea what to expect,” Montes said. “When I finally got there, there were about 50 other dancers waiting in line to audition.”
Out of the 50 dancers, judges would only choose two winners, a female and a male to perform as back-up dancers for Latin Artists. Auditions included learning a thirty-second choreography followed by a one-minute freestyle of the participant’s choice. Moreover, participants had to be between the ages of 18 and 28.
“It was nerve wrecking since we didn’t have a lot of time to practice,” Montes said. “Not to mention that we all had to perform in front of a camera, along with the director, producers and photographers of the show.”
After the judges’ decision, Montes was selected to be the female winner to be a part of the televised Univision show, the only participant coming from out of town.
“I was informed through email and I was really excited to hear the good news, I couldn’t wait to drive back to Austin the following week and start rehearsals,” Montes said.
According to Montes, rehearsals took place July 9-Aug. 1 at Austin, and all dancers practiced 27 hours in total for the month of July. As the date of the performance drew near, dancers had to practice all day long in order to polish their dance routine.
“It was such an amazing experience that helped me grow as a dancer,” Montes said. “I had the opportunity to meet and dance with Latin artists such as Dulce Maria, Elvis Crespo, Eight Seconds and Fedro.”
Montes said that the three-minute costume changes along with back-to-back presentations contributed to the adrenaline of her performances.
“Backstage was so hectic that dancers, including myself, needed help from other dancers in order to change costumes and make it on time to the stage,” Montes said. “There was one time that I thought that I was not going to change fast enough.”
After her experience, Montes said she hopes for more opportunities like this to come her way.
“As a result of performing at Premios Texas this year, I couldn’t be more happy with the invitation I was given to come back next year and perform for it again, without having to audition,” Montes said.
Meanwhile, Montes will continue to be a dance instructor at Shundo Ballroom, giving hip-hop and punk/jazz classes every Wednesday at 5 p.m. She will also continue to be part of Jago Sazu, which translates to “wild him, sassy her,” a dance team she has performed with for almost two years.
“Maira is a very dedicated and a very passionate person with a very humble personality,” said Mikel Martinez, choreographer and creator of Jago Sazu. “Her strong work ethic and her reliability as a dance performer and friend are just one of her qualities.”
Prior to her premature success as a dancer, Montes had been dancing for almost 14 years, but not academically.
“My previous major was a Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations, but after taking ballet as an elective my first semester, I completely loved it and decided to switch majors,” Montes said. “I figured it could broaden my dancing skills and I could be part of the close relationships that are formed with other dance majors.”
Montes, who according to Martinez was the first one in line for the open auditions on Sept. 2010, said she will continue the life of a dancer with passion and commitment.