Amadeus Anzaldua is a 36 year-old single father of two young daughters with a love for Dancing, said he began his dance journey when he was 10 years-old. On a recent Sunday afternoon while conducting a dance class at I.D. Gym in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood, Anzaldua, a Humbodlt Park resident, sat down with 1st Amendment Media and reflected on his career as a professional dancer and what his mission in life is today. He talked about growing up in the city’s West Town neighborhood and battling anyone who dared to dance against him. From the streets to school dances, Anzaldua said he competed anywhere he could find a challenger. And while he still makes a living providing private dance lessons, he spends a lot of his time as a volunteer dance coach to youth groups. Currently he serves as the artistic director for the dance company Future Shock Chicago.
1st Amendment Media: What got you interested in dancing?
Amadeus Anzaldua: It’s a family thing. My mom was an amazing dancer when she was young. She would dance to a lot of Latin and salsa music. Dancing is something she really liked to do. She would go out on weekends and dance with her dance partner.
1AM: You said you give private dancing lessons but what kind of dancing do you do?
Amadeus Anzaldua: I teach about 23 different styles of dancing from ballroom, Latin, hip-hop, waltz, swing, you name it.
1AM: As a professional dancer what goals, if any, have you set for yourself?
AA: I have danced on TV and danced with some really great people, so for me it’s not about reaching that high mountain, but more so about sharing my talent with others. I have an 80-year-old couple I give dance lessons to and I also teach a lot of teenagers. Last year I did 47 weddings where I taught the couple how to do their first dance
1AM: What do you find so exciting about dancing that makes you want to continue it as a career?
Amadeus Anzaldua: Every person is blessed with a gift. Dancing is in my heart. It’s in my soul and I can’t see myself doing anything else. I’ve worked a lot of different jobs before, but nothing ever spoke to me the way dancing does.
1AM: So I hear that your youth group will be auditioning for a TV show. How did that come about?
Amadeus Anzaldua: The TV show, “So You Think You Can Dance,” is coming up with a “Next Generation” series and my dance group [Culture Shock] is preparing for an upcoming audition in Chicago. I received an email from one of the producers a few months back asking me if I had any kids I thought were good enough to be on the show and of course I said yes. I’m confident the audition will go well and you will soon see them on TV.
1AM: Dancing is not as popular in urban neighborhoods on the South and West Sides like it is in other Chicago neighborhoods like Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Beverly or Bridgeport. Are any of your youth from the inner city?
Amadeus Anzaldua: The majority of the kids come from the inner city and from all parts of the city. I teach roughly 100 kids from kindergarten to 18-year-old.
1AM: What would you say has changed the most about dancing from when you first got started as a little boy?
AA: There are more opportunities for dancers now than when I was coming up. Dancing has been around since the beginning of time, but when I was growing up there weren’t too many places you could go to dance. But now these kids have so many places to go to learn how to dance and that’s great!
1AM: Who were some people you admired as dancers growing up?
Amadeus Anzaldua: My uncle inspired me as a dancer when I was young. If you ask me he was the baddest dancer out there. He was a regular kid on the block who liked to dance and became the best in Chicago.
1AM: When you are not giving private dance lessons or teaching kids how to dance, what do you like to do to relax?
Amadeus Anzaldua: I like to write about life experiences when I am not dancing. Writing helps me relax and allows me to focus on important things in life like my two daughters.
1AM: If you had to describe the dance industry in one quote what would it be?
Amadeus Anzaldua: Dancing is universal. It is a part of life.