It’s a bit difficult to peel your eyes away from Lady Gaga when she’s performing, and surely part of that can be credited to the talented and well choreographed team of dancers that surround the music star. Not missing a beat, we were surely surprised to learn that sharing the Superbowl halftime stage with Gaga herself was a professional dancer from Peru. While his name may have been new to us, Victor Rojas is in fact no stranger to the big stage.
Having moved to Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan, New York in 1987, Rojas has had plenty of chances to take certain situations as an adversity rather than an opportunity. Perhaps because his mother chose to migrate the family from Peru to the U.S. in order to offer them a better life, Rojas chose the latter.
Now, thirty years later, the young Peruvian boy who found himself in a new world has grown into a professional: never forgetting where he came from and always looking ahead.
How was the transition for you to move from Peru to the U.S.? Did you experience a culture shock?
When we first moved here my family and I didn’t speak a word of English. Ironically that wasn’t a problem. There was so much Spanish speaking in my school, neighborhood, and with family that learning English was really easy. I never felt lost or out of place. I just had to learn the language and I was fine. I was so young too, I really just picked it up.
How did you get involved in dance, and when did it become your passion?
I started dancing when I was 17. I was an actor from 8 years old to the present day. My senior year in high school my best friend took me to a class at Broadway Dance Center in NY. Everyday after that I kept taking classes. Somewhere in between then is when I knew it was a passion and not just a pastime.
It’s obvious dancing means a lot to you, but I understand you are multifaceted. As far as a professional career, what title would you give yourself?
I consider myself an artist. Under that umbrella I exist as an actor, dancer, choreographer, educator, performer, creative director, and producer. I’ve studied these things in school and have practiced them in the field.
And it’s paid off, as we recently saw you joined Lady Gaga on stage during the Superbowl. What was your reaction like when you learned you got the job?
That job was put together by Richard Jackson the choreographer. He called dancers that have worked with her before. He felt it should be a family affair. I was so happy to find out because I love any opportunity to perform, let alone with Gaga. Let alone at the Super Bowl. It was a huge blessing to do so…to be on that stage at that time with those people was a blessing and it felt good.
It’s been brought to my attention that you have also participated in the film “La La Land.” How were you involved?
I appear really quickly in the house party scene doing some partner work. I auditioned for the opening scene but was booked for this one. I was just so happy to be in any part of such a cool project.
What other projects have you been a part of that you feel especially proud of?
Really any project I’m part of makes me proud. I’m a man from Peru who came to this country as a boy. Now I’m a professional in my field, [something] I only dreamt of. So every project makes me proud Not every project has been top level, but I was proud to be part of the project.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently a professor of dance at Spelman College in Atlanta. It was just named the number one HBCU (Historical Black College University) in the country. So I will be focusing on those students and their growth. But I’m forever an artist. I’m going to keep chasing my dreams. I’m an artist who’s constantly wanting to work. I don’t chase fame, I chase experiences. That’s what’s gonna make me be part of the industry forever. I just want to constantly work.
It sounds like you’ve found your own rhythm in the U.S. Do you still consider Peru home, or do you feel more identified and welcomed in the U.S.?
I’m definitely Peruvian, through and through. Peru is still my home, I just don’t live there. The U.S. is also my home I just happen to live there. I always say ‘Peru birthed me, New York raised me,’ and now I travel the world becoming a man. I will always love being a Peruvian who was blessed to become an American, and an American who was blessed to be Peruvian.
And last but not least: What’s your favorite song to dance to at the moment?
Right now I love “Fast Car” by Jonas Blue and “Bad and Boujee” by Migos, and anything by Eva Ayllon.
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