The wife and husband duo Erica Cornejo and Carlos Molina recently opened the INTEGRARTE dance studio in Jamaica Plain at 85 Seaverns Ave. The Gazette recently conducted a question-and-answer session through email with them about their dance careers and opening the studio. For more information about the studio, visit integrarteusa.com. (The session has been edited.)
What does dancing mean to you?
Erica: Through dance I have the freedom to express how I feel. It makes my emotions flow out of my body and that feels very good.
Carlos: Dancing is where I get to express things I want to say, what I feel. Is a way of connecting with others and sharing many things of life.
What prompted you to start dancing? Did you expect to become a professional dancer?
Erica: I started dancing ballet when I was four years old. There were ballet classes across my kindergarten class and I could see the kids dancing through a big window. From the very beginning, I felt the passion and love for dance and I knew in my heart that that was what I wanted to do in my life.
Carlos: In my case, it just happened. But as I started, I loved it and I decided to continue.
What would you say to a kid who is interested in becoming a dancer?
Erica & Carlos: To follow their heart and always enjoy what they do as much as they can.
Why did you decide to open up a dance studio in Jamaica Plain?
Erica & Carlos: We always dreamed to have a space where people can enjoy dance and other activities and have the opportunity to learn and express with no judgment. A place where people can enrich their lives through the arts. Express their feelings, improve their health, develop their creativity and training, educate and unify them.
What is a typical kids class like at the dance studio?
Erica & Carlos: In our program children will learn some of the principals in dance that can be very helpful for many other things in life, such as musicality, coordination, balance, working through the space using levels, directions, developing creativity, the ability to express, love and much more. Our intention is to provide children with a fun time, make them happy.
You still dance professional. What are the challenges of doing that and running a dance studio at the same time?
Erica: One of the most challenging things has been able to stay in shape for my performances and also fine the time to have a quality time with Carlos and my three-year-old son Matias. Carlos and I are doing almost everything at the studio. From painting, organizing, cleaning, building spaces, taking care of all the office work plus teaching. I always try my best depending on my Boston Ballet schedule to do things and teach as much as I can.
We are very fortune that we also have found other amazing teachers that work for INTEGRARTE in the area of ballet, yoga, and baroque dance (three activities that we offer right now at our studio). They are great, positive, they care and love what they do and that is very important for us in order to keep our studio running in a very healthy and positive atmosphere. It makes everything much easer.
We knew it would be a lots of work in the beginning, but we are taking the challenge because we love what we do, we have lots of fun and for us to be able to share our passion and help others is very important and make us feel happy.
You are both from South America. How has that influenced your dancing?
Erica & Carlos: People from different cultures express in different ways, fortunately we both have the opportunity to learn, experience, and share with many other people of different places. Carlos and I had a strong ballet school training back in our country (Colombia and Argentina). South American people are known for being very passionate and have an explosive energy. All of this has made of us better artist.
Anything else you would like to add?
Erica & Carlos: Our Mission is to Give, to Love, to Care and Help.