Keep Rising to the Top (KR3T's)
ABOUT: “There is a way out of no way,” says Violeta Galagarza, choreographer and director of the dance company Keep Rising to the Top. KR3T’s, which provides a “positive alternative to social and street pressures,” serves students ranging from five to thirty-two years of age, exposing them to a variety of different dance styles, from ballet and modern to hip-hop and merengue. More importantly, the troupe also provides its dancers with self-esteem-boosting opportunities to perform before varied audiences. Galagarza trains students who “feel they have no way of escape” from the hardships of urban life. “Dance is spiritual,” she says. “It’s where you can finally feel free. It’s like a church.” However, Galagarza’s dancers are more than just students. “I train all my dancers to become teachers,” she says, and it shows. Each student that enters Galagarza’s rehearsal room greets her with a handshake or a warm kiss on the cheek, and older students patiently coach younger ones through warmups and stretches. As Galagarza gets up to begin a four-hour rehearsal, it's easy to see that she is crafting a new generation of talent, and ushering in a new generation of leaders in the process.
COMMUNITY VISIONS: Despite the wonders she works in the rehearsal space and on the stage, Galagarza struggles to find sufficient funding for KR3T’s. She believes that it is more difficult to find funding because she lacks a permanent space for the company's operations. In the past, KR3T’s rehearsed in the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center, but due to a change in the Cultural Center’s management, the organization was forced to relocate to Draper Hall, where it currently rents space two days a week.