<br></br> <b>1. Can you tell us who is Christina Gonzalez?</b> <br></br>I am Christina Aisha Gonzalez, I was born in St. Ann, Jamaica to Champayne and Christopher Gonzalez. I graduated from the Edna Manley College for dance in 2008, with a distinction in dance theatre and production and the Rex Nettleford award for outstanding choreography. I am a past touring member and choreographer of Jamaica's primer dance troupe, the National Dance Theatre Company (NDTC) founded and formerly directed by Professor Rex Nettleford. Currently, I work in all areas of dance be it choreographing a popular dance music video/ commercial to organizing children's dance concert. I am a dance consultant. I also run the "Dance A lot kids club." <br></br> <b>2. Receiving the Rex Nettleford award for outstanding choreography is a big deal, congrats! tell us about this award?</b> <br></br>The award is given to the most outstanding choreography student at the end of his or her tenure at the dance school by the Edna Manley College. Yendi Phillips was also a recipient during her tenure at the college. <br></br> <b>3. Can you share with our readers about the National Dance Theatre Company (EMC)?</b> <br></br>Yes, The award winning National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica is the leading dance theatre company in Jamaica. It was founded in 1962 by Professor Rex Nettleford and Eddy Thomas. The dance and music are prominently based on Afro Caribbean folk traditions, exploring cultural themes as well as modern dance performances. <br></br> <b>4. Tell us more about your training. How did you end up in the National Dance Theatre Company? What were the major challenges you experienced while there?</b> <br></br>I was selected by Professor Rex Nettleford from an audition during my 2nd year at the Edna Manley College. I was already trained in Contemporary and basic ballet, also afro Caribbean folk techniques.The major challenge was that the company is purely voluntary. The productions were very demanding and also time consuming. It was like an actual job, only with no pay. I continued with the company until 2010 after which I started to embark on my personal journey as an independent dance artist. <br></br> <b>5. Could you tell us more about dance a lot club approach to dance? What it is like to work at that level? What are some differences between studying at Edna Manley and stepping into a major production?</b> <br></br>The dance a lot club approach to dance is simply to have fun. Because we are working with kids we try to create choreography that will keep them engaged. Pop culture as well as traditional culture are featured in our recitals. In this way kids are enjoying the dynamics of the culture they are familiar with while at the same time learning about traditions. The major difference between EMC and the reality of the production stage is that there are no teachers guiding the process. It is a trial and error sort of event one which only gets better with time. <br></br> <b>6. You spent time touring with the National Dance Theatre Company, what countries have you toured during you time with the company?</b> <br></br>We toured the Bahamas and the USA between 2007 and 2010. The US performance took place at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts, at Brooklyn College. <br></br> <b>7. What's your opinion of the contemporary dance scene in Jamaica?</b> <br></br>The contemporary dance scene is certainly evolving, Jamaica has definitely develop a vibrant contemporary dance scene. <br></br> <b>8. When did you start the Dance A lot Kids Club and what type of dance techniques are you teaching at the club?</b> <br></br>This is a 4 year old creative dance program based in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. I am one of two teachers currently on staff. We are teaching Afrocentric folk and ballet technique, as well as groom students in theatre and performance etiquette. The Dance a Lot Club has performed at the Jamaican International Kite Festival twice. Each year we organize a charity concert around Christmas for children who are less fortunate. <br></br> <b>9. Working with children can be very rewarding, why did you choose to teach kids?</b> <br></br>Yes, it is. I’ve worked with both children and adults and I enjoy both. However children are open vessels, they yearn to learn new things and are not afraid to explore . It is very rare that you find adults eager to learn new things and so it makes it challenging for me as a teacher because there is a limit to the amount of information that you can pass on. Kids will absorb everything no questions asked so this makes my job way easier and it keeps me inspired to keep learning new things that I can pass unto them. <br></br> <b>10. When did you discover your passion for dancing?</b> <br></br>Let me think about this. Don’t know the exact age but I know I was very young. My mother was a dancer and she danced while pregnant with me. Perhaps it started in the womb. What are your interests outside dance? I like physical fitness and rehabilitation. I also enjoy coordinating my own photoshoots. <br></br> <b>11. What's your proudest achievement?</b> <br></br>Understanding who I am and what I have to offer this world. You have been a very successful dancer/choreographer in Jamaica. How would you describe your approach to making dance and your style of choreography? I believe that I am guided by a higher power that speaks through me by way of dance. People have many names for this power. I call it God's doings. <br></br> <b>12. What advise would you give to younger dancers coming out of dance school?</b> <br></br>Understand what you have to offer. This is most important because then you will understand what you are worth. Nobody but you can decide what you are worth. <br></br> <b>13. Your dad is one of Jamaica's most important sculptor and artist, he created the first Bob Marley Statue, tell us about your dad's work?</b> <br></br>His works are a reflection of his spiritual , mental and physical journeys throughout his life. He was a well traveled man and so he was also educated in a variety of cultures from around the world. His works reflect this. He also created pieces which portray his family. Some believe that his last paintings actually foreshadowed his passing. But that is just their interpretation of his final works. Others may interpret differently. <br></br> <b>14. You participated in the regional Miss Universe contest, what was that experience like?</b> <br></br>Yes, I participated in the Miss Universe contest and it was a great learning experience for me. This was in 2012 <br></br> <b>15. Where do you find inspiration for choreography?</b> <br></br> Life <br></br> <b>16. What is your philosophy of life?</b> <br></br>Through losing two loved ones my dad in 2008 and my 6 yr old dog in 2015, I’m reminded that life is promised to none. Be who you are and do what you love, love those that love you and go above and beyond for whatever goal you have set for yourself. Be your biggest cheerleader. <br></br> <b>17. Have you a list of places you'd like to visit?</b> <br></br>The places I would love to visit are Italy, Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and all of Asia. <br></br> <b>18. Tell us something you love?</b> <br></br>I definitely love Traveling. <br></br> <b>19. You live in the parish of St Ann what's special about this place?</b> <br></br>I actually live in Kingston. I was born and raised in the parish of St. Ann. The special thing about my hometown is that it is the epitome of Jamaican beauty. It is also the home and birthplace of Bob Marley and Marcus Garvey. So many of my ideals have developed from the legacies left behind by these two Jamaican legends. <br></br> <b>20. What are your plans for the future? and what's next for Christina?</b> <br></br>My plan is to maintain steady growth at what I’m currently doing which is building a legacy for myself one that I know generations to come can be inspired by. <br></br> <b>21. What's on your playlist these days?</b> <br></br>A mixture of genres, I really like soulful music as much as I like popular/trendy kinds. So anywhere between Bob Marley, Sam Smith, Spice and Chris Brown. Music is very much related to my mood too so I may even have an African drum mix or a classical piece. It really depends on my mood when you catch me.