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Dancing Across Borders

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  The School of Dance at the University of Arizona is host 
to a diverse group of dancers from across the United States
 to beyond its borders. Ana Estrada, a junior in the program,
 was born and raised in Hermosillo, Mexico in the Mexican state of Sonora. For her, dance has been a huge slice of her life.

Ana started dancing at 3 years old at her mom’s dance
 studio in Hermosillo where she continued to train for most of her 
life. At the studio, the training focused on ballet, modern dance and jazz. Ana’s specialty was contemporary jazz. At 16, she moved 
to California where she finished high school. She trained at the
 University of California Irvine for two years before she auditioned
 for the program at the UA and moved to Tucson.

Ana said adapting to life in the United States was not
 difficult for her, and she had no trouble adjusting to the dancing.

“It was a lot more competitive here than it is in Hermosillo,” she
 said, because there was not a lot of competing in her small town where 
everyone knew each other’s names.

One of Ana’s greatest support systems is her family,
 especially her mother. She said her mom has encouraged her to continue
 dancing all of her life. However, Ana said growing up and training
 with her mom wasn’t always easy, especially during her teenage years. But, despite a few attitude problems, all the experiences she went through helped shape her into the dancer she is today.

Ana visits home whenever she can, but said she cannot visit
 as much as she likes with such a busy dance and rehearsal schedule at
 school. Hermosillo is about a four-hour drive from Tucson. “The only 
thing I don’t like about it is crossing the border to come back into 
the U.S. because sometimes it takes an hour or sometimes it can take 
four,” she said.

Through all of her traveling and experiences, Ana said the
 main thing she has learned is that dance is a universal language.

“It’s a good way to communicate everywhere,” she said.

Written by Hope Jamieson

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