BTS SPECTRA: Marty Dorado

An interview with SPECTRA choreographer, Marty Dorado

Company artist Marty Dorado, after receiving a BA in Dance from New Mexico State University, moved to San Diego and has performed with many local dance organizations like San Diego Dance Theater, Malashock Dance, and Visionary Dance Theater. We are stoked to have him choreographing for DISCO RIOT’s spring show! His piece, inspired by his 10 year anniversary of moving to San Diego, highlights the story of four characters who use experiences of their past to inspire their future. We recently asked Marty about his dance background and the process behind creating his piece. Marty reflects on his own history and how he uses these ideas to create his dance.

Tell us about your history with dance, performance, and art practice. How has it influenced your voice as a choreographer?

I began exploring dance in high school. My teacher was excited to have a boy interested in dance and once I started moving, I instantly felt like I had found something that felt great and made me happy. Once I got a taste of the spotlight, I knew I had found one of my callings in life as a performer. I made lifelong friends, shared lots of happy memories on and off stage, it was an activity that helped me excel in school, stay out of trouble, and develop a lot of great habits. I pursued a dance degree in college where I learned that performing on stage in front of people wasn’t the only thing that made my spirit happy and not the only thing dance could be. My college teachers taught me how to create, expand, and share dance and movement in other ways. Making dance didn’t come so easily to me at first as it did my colleagues, at least it didn’t feel that way. I was always fine learning and doing other people’s choreography but when it came to me teaching others or myself my own movement/ideas I felt like I struggled to translate my thoughts. I also learned music and nature were my places of inspiration. The last dance piece I created in college was a dance many of my colleagues still remember the most because I used the sound of waves crashing on the beach, which was a very new concept for us at the time. It assured me that dance truly has infinite possibilities and isn’t just about performing on stage; dance is a practice that can exist anywhere. As a professional, my dance making has taken on a “story telling” vibe. Often I enjoy portraying my ideas with distinct characters and a plot, similar to the ways that theater and movies are created. 

What inspirations, launching points, or ideas are you working with for your piece for DISCO RIOT’s show?

For the piece I’m creating with DISCO RIOT, I chose to go with the “10 year challenge” as a source of inspiration. It’s a quartet I’m setting on myself and three other members of the company where we are each developing our own characters based on ourselves now, versus ourselves 10 years ago. I draw much inspiration for the design of my dance from movies that have flashback moments so one of the sections in my dance serves as a “recall” moment for the four characters. I think our past and memories we have and share with others can be one of the greatest sources of motivation and information for us to move forward in life. 

What are some challenges, revelations, or unexpected aspects that you’ve had to overcome when choreographing this piece?

I feel like my fellow dancers really excelled at conveying my ideas with their bodies. However the holes in my piece that I’ve not yet decided on are with my own character in this dance. Now that the design of the quartet is well developed, I struggle with figuring out how my own character exists in all this. Setting movement on myself and retaining it is still, for some reason, one of my hardest challenges.

What role will sound play in your piece?

So far in my dancing-making career my main go-to for music for most of my work has come from my favorite composer Olafur Arnalds. I discovered his music in college and ever since, I feel as though his music is written for my life somehow. His music has a dynamic, a build, a rise and fall, a story-telling element that has always resonated with me. I chose to use three pieces of music of his, one of them being from his most recent album and probably one of my favorite pieces of music of all time. 

What would you like the audience to know about your work in this show?

So my 10 year anniversary of moving here to San Diego is on April 23, the weekend of our spring show! It means so much to me that I’m choreographing and dancing in a piece 10 years into my dance career that I’m so proud of. I feel like this piece could be a love letter to myself, me telling myself “we did it! And we’re still doing this thing called dance!” When I moved to San Diego, I gave myself the long term goal to dance professionally. I still have the same restaurant job I found in 2012 and that’s also been an amazing part of my life. Now I find myself figuring out what I want to do for the next decade of my life.

Marty will be presenting his work at SPECTRA, which will be held on April 21-23. Come for a show filled with stories of heritage, magic, play, and dreams. Other choreographers include Zaquia Mahler Salinas, Anna Brown Massey, and Chelsea Zeffiro. 

SPECTRA will be held at San Diego’s City Heights Annex on April 21-23 at 7pm. Admission to this show is by donation ($12 for artists/students and $25 for the general public is suggested). Please reserve your seat in advance; tickets will not be available at the door. Masks are required upon entry.