“Being Cuban and being raised Cuban made me intense.” That’s the line that opens Dance Through Culture, a short video profile on Miami-born hip hop dancer and choreographer Cultura. Sporting hoop earrings, a nose ring, buzzed hair, a cap and an oversized tee, Cultura immediately gives off that intense vibe in Karina Gonzalez’s video. Produced as part of this year’s Knight Foundation Student Project Dance Through Culture gives us insight into this young Cuban dancer’s life and work.
In between candid conversations about her upbringing and her enthusiasm for what she does (she first fell for dance wanting to recreate Spice Girls choreography), you get to see Cultura do her thing. As a teacher at Millennium Complex in Miami (you may recognize their signature rehearsal spaces from those viral Yanis Marshall videos that are shot in their Los Angeles outpost) it’s clear Cultura brings her intensity to the classroom.
Seeing her groove along with her students, you can see why she’s been able to dance for, among others, Wisin y Yandel, Johann Vera (at this year’s Premios Juventud), Nicky Jam, and even as a male/gender neutral dancer on Ariana Grande’s “Dangerous Woman Tour.” That Gonzalez and Cultura don’t spend too much time on the dancer’s sexuality (“I don’t like to say I’m a gay artist,” she says, “or a gay rapper or a gay dancer—yeah, that is who I am but that’s not all I am”) means we get to focus on the work instead. So if you wanna see a kick-ass profile of a strong-willed talented Latina, take a look below. We dare you to not want to dance your ass off right after.