If you need inspiration for positive energy and fueling happiness, Luis would be it! Beyond being an amazing spirit, Luis ignites his purpose on such a deeper level through giving back with the organization he founded, R.Evolucion Latina. I’m so in awe of the impact he is making by living his passion day in and day out & FIT FOR BROADWAY!
Note from Luis: Hola! I am from vega Alta Puerto Rico currently performing in the Broadway musical On your Feet!, I play Kenny Ortega. I have a one and half year old baby that I love, his name is Angel Hikari. And I am beyond excited to join the list of inspiring people that have been a part of Fit for Broadway! From my stunning friends Ali Solomon & Courtney Reed to the most recent Broadway debut stories of Carlos Gonzalez, Ana Villafañe and Eric Ulloa; I Thank you for creating a space that celebrates Broadway and inspires us to be and stay FIT FOR IT!
“Built for Broadway” from Fit for Broadway Apparel
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Q: Luis, I am a big fan of yours. I can’t wait for the event next week and to hear more about your journey as a performer and with R.Evolucion Latina. Where did it all start for you? What was your journey to Broadway?
A: Thank you so much. I am honored and quickly becoming yours as you constantly bring a radiant empowering light to this world!
To answer your question, I had a dance school in the island of Puerto Rico and realized I needed to continue to grow in order to bring the best knowledge, training and discipline to my students. So I came to NYC every summer to see Broadway shows and train at Broadway Dance Center from 1997 to 2001. It was a journey that got me “Fit for Broadway” as I fell in love with NYC and made the jump to this city. The experiences accumulated and the Broadway path I have been able to have has taken me deeper into my roots as I learn my own, as well as other cultures in Latin America. Through the years I have been able to travel, teach, choreograph and direct in places like Peru, Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, Guatemala, and Santo Domingo. I never imagined working in places like Germany and Japan but NYC gave me that as a gift and it all has not only made me a better artist but a better human being. I have been devoted to and a fan of training methods like Meisner, Viewpoints and Suzuki, mixing all of that into my dancing, choreography, performing and directing shaping my work and my vision.
Q: On Your Feet! is so incredible on every level, the dancing, the story, the cast, the music! What makes this show different for you than anything else you’ve done?
A: The present time! I feel that a show like On Your Feet! would perhaps not have been received with the same open arms 10 years ago.
Victor Hugo said “nothing like an idea who’s right time has come” I love that quote and sometimes you do have to “wait for it” but the truth is that waiting is never inactive… Action makes it happen and the action does not always have to be taken by you alone. Many took steps before us, from Jose Ferrer, Raul Julia, Chita Rivera, Rita Moreno all of their actions opened the doors to opportunities like the Capeman, a try out like Mambo Kings and eventually a success like In The Heights. The musical theatre world (a.k.a BROADWAY) little by little has come to discover the potential of Latin music and stories to its American art form and now comes the perfect story for it to be raw and real! A show full of Latin Dance, Latin rhythms, Latin faces talking about what it is to be an American, showing that it IS POSSIBLE to make our dreams come true. The time is right!
Sergio Trujillo is in his prime, Alexander Dinelaris is validated, Jerry Mitchell has achieved enough human vulnerability, artistic growth and cultural values to be the best leader he can, able to fuse his Broadway know-how and commercial success to a clear vision and great collaboration with the heart and soul of all the individuals around him. Gloria and Emilio Estefan have nothing to prove, they simply, joyfully share their hearts full of passion and love and we sense it each day they are around us. The time is right! Donald Trump can say all he wants cause each and every night 30 something of us stand on a stage with love, with passion, with pride and respect to unapologetically share what Latinos who dare to go beyond really look like.
Q: How has fitness played a role in your life as a performer and specifically in On Your Feet!
A: I might say that in the process of making this show I might have had the biggest physical challenge to date in my career. Sergio Trujillo was not playing in the process he was “not throwing away his shot” and so we danced and danced and danced until the energy for every number was what the creative team wanted, and needed to take our audience on a roller coaster. So for the last 6 months we have been nonstop and being in excellent physical condition has been a key! I was at a comfortable 180 pounds the first day of rehearsal and yesterday I weighed 154 pounds! Conditioning the body and the mind is crucial for this show and I have merged myself deep into the boxing world to arrive warm and ready for each performance. I owe a lot to the physical therapist, as well who got me strong and ready for this process after a bad left hamstring injury during the On Your Feet! workshop last year. So I too, happened to have gotten back “on my feet” and got fit for Broadway as we walked the path!
Q: It’s pretty obvious cafecito is fueling the On Your Feet! cast. What other foods keep you fueled for the show?
A: I have become a huge fan of Green Symphony with this show. I’ve heard about it for years but never experienced it. Their powerful smoothies, fresh food and healthy choices like the fire vinegar have become a huge part of my routine for this show. Kodama Sushi has been another healthy option during this run but going for a nice dinner and desert at my favorite spot, Sevilla on 46st is as important to me, especially on the weekend.
Q: You literally have the best energy in all of New York — happy & glowing spirit all the time!! What are your top 3 tips for maintaining nonstop, positive energy?
A: Jajajajajajajaja thanks for the compliment, I wish that was true. We are all human and there are always highs and lows but I do consider myself a very blessed individual. I will have to say, do what you love. Surround yourself with the right people, life is to short to allow toxic energy around you, having a great group who has different ways of inspiring and challenging you always is super important, I find this in my R.Evolución Latina team. Also, speak your truth always, don’t hold on to things cause that will kill you inside out!
More recently and most important my son, my angel of light. His eyes and smile remind me that every single one of us were kids once. We were born to be light and manifest that light and if we try we can find the good in all! If that’s what actors do with characters why can’t we do it in life?
Q: I can’t wait to hear about your mission with R.Evolucion Latina at the upcoming event, Fueling Happiness through Theatre and Dance. Can you tell readers who may not be able to make it about how you started this organization and the mission?
A: We are an organization that utilizes the arts through educational and collaborative programming to empower. We are committed to making a difference through the arts and are blessed to have the support of not only some of the most inspiring performers on Broadway and beyond but we also have the best example, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. They really are an organization that is fit for Broadway and make it clear that Broadway REALLY CARES!
We have been active for eight years now and were born out of the inspiration created by In The Heights and all the inspiring stories I found in that cast. I feel thrilled that that power, momentum and empowerment we got to provide to so many is pushing forward stronger than ever with works like Hamilton with Lin-Manuel Miranda and Alex Lacamoire at the helm, two latinos who truly dare to go beyond. With On Your Feet! we are blessed to the have Gloria and Emilio Estefan as examples that not only give us a new opportunity to shine on the great “white” way but have been opening doors and representing us with their on going positive work for decades. We celebrate that this is one of the best seasons yet for minorities and the artists in On Your Feet!, The Color Purple, Allegiance and more are examples of believing in your dreams and making them come true.
Q: What’s your advice for performers who are pursing a career on Broadway?
A: I always go back to the same. If you are going to follow the path of your dream you must COMMIT and follow that path. Training is everything… EVERYTHING, stay on your toes by training, learning, reading, exercising and exploring your potential is the only way your light can shine and get that job. Train as if you were in the audition so that your audition is like you are simply in class. Be yourself, only from there can you build the layers for your characters.