Dancing involves many steps and becoming great takes dedication, but Stephanie Camacho and her dance team skipped the tiptoeing and leapt into motion.
Danz Motion, her six-member ensemble of Southwestern College students are now international stars after a dazzling appearance on Mexican TV. They are in lockstep in so many ways.
“We take the same classes and are always together,” said Camacho.
A bond based on dancing quickly blossomed and the six individuals became tight.
“We are not just friends,” said Camacho. “We know everything about each other and we have become a family.”
Their style ranges from the sensual stylings of The Pussycat Dolls to contemporary ballet, but their main focus is rhythm.
“We focus more on dance hip-hop and jazz hip-hop,” said Camacho. “It depends on the concept of the dance and we can mix many styles together.”
Dancing as a team is more than simple synchronized movements, they must become one.
“When you are dancing you have to perform as a unit,” said Karla Hernandes. “We are a family, we work very hard and support each other.”
Their unity was put to the test recently when they were invited to a premier dance competition in Tijuana. “Show Us What You Got” was a 16-team competition judged by two of the city’s most prestigious instructors, Rhonal Ruvalcaba and Denia Zepeda. Danz Motion grabbed second place, but Camacho said she feels they were the best.
“We all worked super hard, it was a really long and stressful six months but it was worth it,” said Camacho. “We did great, we are okay with the result and are happy with the experience.”
Camacho’s love for dance brought the group together, and her vigor is the glue that binds its members.
“She’s the one that pushes us to go to rehearsal and to be on time,” said Hernandes. “She is our leader because she keeps the group organized and motivated.”
Camacho found her fire in 8th grade at the Chula Vista Middle School performing arts program. She plied her way through high school and into the South Bay Dance Academy before joining SWC’s dance department. She is a dance teacher at National City and Chula Vista dance academies, and teaches private lessons in her home studio.
“Dancing relaxes me and I love it, I love the movement,” said Camacho. “I thought it was a hobby, but it has become much more.”
Her passion has captivated her soul, but she recognizes that the sports physicality would impede her from doing it forever.
“I changed my major to psychology because I am not sure if I’m going to be able to dance my whole life,” said Camacho.
SWC alumni Abigail Macias is a professional dancer at Disneyland and Camacho’s role model.
“My inspiration is my old instructor Abigail,” said Camacho. “She would tell me to push myself and thanks to her I took dance seriously. I dance for her.”
Macias has been working closely with the team this fall because she will choreograph November’s dance show at SWC.
“They have worked very hard,” said Macias. “It is difficult because not all of them know ballet, but they are all working hard.”
When on stage and performing with her team Camacho keeps the audience in mind, she hopes her steps kindles small fires in everyone’s heart.
“When I dance for them, I want them to believe in dance,” said Camacho.