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Querer es Poder, Where there's a will there's a way

As part of our series of interview with up and coming Latina Voices at Latinavoice.org I had the privilege to chat with an extraordinary young lady who shared with us her experiences a she pursued a very special dream.

Alexa Torres is a professional dancer with The Washington Ballet. At just 14 years old, she moved by herself from the Dominican Republic to the United States in order to train at the elite Kirov Academy in Washington D.C. where she was one of the only hundred students worldwide to be accepted and with a full scholarship. She has had to overcome some very big obstacles along the way to achieving her dream to become a Ballerina.

Here she shares her story with us:

Rocio: Alexa I admire your courage, bravery and passion. At 14 years old you took flight and embarked on an adventure of a lifetime.

How did you find it in yourself to be gutsy and fearless at such a young age?

Alexa: I had always felt so weird in school not really wanting to do anything other than dance. I knew from a young age that my aspirations were going to be in ballet and not college. I remember people older than me (even adults) saying things along the lines of "You need to go to college ; you can't make a living out of ballet." It was difficult to make people understand that ballet was my place of safety and comfort, where I felt the most at home and where I belonged.

Rocio: I understand that early on upon your arrival at the Kirov Academy in Washington D.C. you faced an almost life changing challenge in your career pursuit.

In that challenging period of your life tell us about what kept you going and about how you maintained your resilience to continue to achieve your vision and big picture of your ultimate goal and dream.

Alexa: I had a knee injury and dislocated my meniscus and tore my medial patellar ligament. I was on crutches for months and did not fully come back until a year later. With the support of my family and school I was able to get through it. I kept telling myself "Why give up now this far in?" I couldn't even say the word "quit" out loud, although I thought about it a lot. My mom told me to look at the progress I had already made and that helped me to keep going. The experience has made me so much more aware of myself and I am much more in tune with my body.

Rocio: Many see you as a bright and emerging star in the world of Ballet. You are an inspiration to many young girls and your story proves that bid dreams are possible.

What advise would you offer to other young Latinas who hold great dreams in challenging situations?

Alexa: There is a quote in Spanish that inspires us to follow our dreams:

"Querer es Poder" which means; When there's a will, there's a way. If one really wants to achieve something then he/she will keep on finding ways to it and will be successful in the end. To want is power and if you have enough determination then nothing is impossible.

Rocio: Lastly, who is someone you admire?

Alexa: My parents. They never gave up on my dream even when people called them crazy for supporting me.

In her own words

"I was obsessed with it from the very beginning, and that feeling never went away; it just grew. I always knew that it was what I was meant to do. I always felt very comfortable on stage. I got into the year-round program at The Kirov Academy here in D.C., and that was the first time I felt like the idea of moving from the Dominican Republic to pursue my dreams was actually a tangible thing. I did NOT think I would actually have the guts to move, though. Even sitting in the airplane, I was thinking "Nope, not real"