Friend of the podcast Brandon Espinoza (Baghdaddy) shares his joy in winning the first annual Chita Rivera Award for Outstanding Male Dancer in an off-Broadway Show.
Honestly, being nominated for an award that has such a high caliber of talent in every category is just astounding to me. I would have been happy to just have the nomination. To win an award is obviously wonderful. Accolades are lovely. A Chita Rivera Award though, as a performer, is beyond thrilling. Its hard to put into words.
She is not only iconic, not only a dancer, but she is the consummate professional. She seems to just outwork everybody, always gives everything she's got on that stage, but most importantly, she LOVES it. I strive to maintain that kind of work ethic and passion for the duration of my career.
I'm currently in Chicago in previews for Ivo van Hove's A View From The Bridge at the Goodman Theater, which is why I was unable to attend the ceremony. When I found out (via text through my childhood friends who were at the award show), I was facetiming my girlfriend (Lauralyn McClelland), and I flew off my couch. Yes, I can fly. According to me.
I feel like there is a "lesser than" attitude in regards to dancers on and off Broadway. The leading/supporting players in shows (more often than not) get all the recognition, the accolades. So to have an award ceremony like this, where the dancers, who can/should be viewed as the backbone of these shows get the recognition they so deserve, I am filled with so much joy and pride. I am honored to be one of them. I have been in this business since I was ten years old, and I grew up dancing in shows alongside such folks as Andy Blankenbuehler, Alex Sanchez, Spencer Liff (to name a few), all of who I admired and idolized growing up. So, to win an award such as this one leaves me humbled and, dare I say it....grateful (no hashtag please). I will cherish this for years to come.