Interview // Margarita Armas // Dancer, Choreographer
“In April of 2021, Margarita Armas created her first piece for Pacific Northwest Ballet titled “kawsay”. The piece explored the importance of languages that were prevalent throughout her family’s ancestry, but more importantly showed the way that movement itself can transcend any language.”
A: How was it when creating your piece “kawsay” for Pacific Northwest Ballet? Did you have any specific intention?
M: My goal of this piece was to not only share my culture and share my specific Peruvian culture, but to hopefully open peoples’ eyes and start a conversation. We don’t realize it but seeing dance and seeing music is in itself a universal language, and without meaning to this piece has encompassed something that each and every audience member can relate to or see themselves in.
A: What made you want to choreograph?
M: I started choreographing to mainly put myself out there. I’ve been fortunate enough as a student to dance with major companies and receive opportunities, but I still wasn’t fully able to express myself and my culture entirely. Choreography is a way for me to do that, and to bring light to my unique background and perspective.
A: What do you hope to do in the dance community moving forward?
M:I intend to keep doing what I’m doing, and keep making pieces that specifically showcase my Peruvian culture and Indigenous ancestry. I would like to continue folkloric dance with concert dance forms as well, and to promote collaboration with the artists around me.
People can sometimes not take folk dance as seriously as an art form like ballet, but it holds just as much value, if not more. These dances don’t just represent our culture, but they are our history. They are what survived and what continues to connect us to our roots.