Guest artist Eddie Martinez, a performer with Germany's Wuppertal Tanztheater, spent two weeks on campus teaching movement classes and mentoring students in the dance program.
So Eddie, what's your story?
I'm a Mexican kid from Newton, Kansas whose father died in Vietnam. My mother, Lee, was left to raise four children on her own. As a gay kid coming to terms with my sexuality, I fell in love with dance at the age of eighteen and decided this was my dream. Eventually I moved to New York City at twenty-three and tried to do that New York, starving artist thing, but after some time, I'd had enough and decided to go back to school for my Master's degree. I was already thirty years old and this idea did not turn out so good but, just two years later I wound up fulfilling my wish. I then moved to Germany where I had the insane opportunity to work for and with the master, Pina Bausch, and the company members of Tanztheater Wuppertal.
How did you find your way to Texas Tech University and the School of Theatre and Dance?
I met Charlotte five years ago while she was working on one of her pieces at the Wichita State University Dance Company. I just happened to be home for a visit and she was actually leaving the next day. She invited me to come and teach here at Tech and as luck would have it, I realized that I had some time off at this particular moment!
Tell us a little of your experience working with theater students specifically.
I love working with them! Most of the time they have no dance background and I love that—it's because they have no baggage...no technique they have to unlearn. So they make these wonderful, creative things—choices! I love it! As dancers, we have to work a bit harder not to repeat ourselves from all our learned habits. This can be quite difficult, but dancers also come up with some pretty amazing and extraordinary things. We have been trained to be aware of all of the possibilities.
In your career as dancer, choreographer, and instructor, what has surprised you the most?
Nothing has really surprised me. When someone has the desire to learn and to try and step outside of their comfort zone, they will definitely move forward. This is everywhere and it's here too!
Last question, what kind of advice can you offer our students here at Texas Tech?
RISK!!! Be curious! Ask questions! Be obsessed and be possessed by your ART and your LIFE! And of course, get out of your comfort zone! Try new things! Never stop learning.