Celtic Dreams Colombia adult Irish dancers
Photo: courtesy Dorotea Rojas Maya 

"When you have passion toward something, you keep on doing what you like."

~Dorotea Rojas Maya of Celtic Dreams Columbia
Despite a lack of certified Irish dance teachers in Colombia, Dorotea Rojas Maya, director of Celtic Dreams Columbia continues to search for training so that she can teach her students. Dorotea agreed to tell us more of what Irish dancing is like in Colombia.
Christy:  What influenced you to decide, along with Daniela Rosales, to start the first group of Irish and Scottish dance of Colombia?
Dorotea:  What influenced both of us to start the group is the love and passion we have towards Irish and Scottish dances.
I met Daniela in 2009 when a Celtic musical group called “Samhain” contacted me in order to dance along with them.
Daniela and I realized that we could start a dancing group. We would continue doing research, and we would cultivate the practice of Irish dancing.
This is why we created Celtic Dreams Colombia. Our main idea is to learn the dancing techniques properly for showing these wonderful dances.
Celtic Dreams Colombia adult Irish dancers
Photo: courtesy Dorotea Rojas Maya 
Christy:  Do you teach adults?
Dorotea:  Since I started learning Irish dances, I gave dancing lessons to children and adults.
I knew I did not have experience enough nor the knowledge in order to teach, but people who took lessons with me knew that my steps and techniques were limited. I learned by myself, watching videos, because the information of these dances is very  limited in our country. Teaching what I learned was a way of introducing people to this culture.
Christy:  Where do your dancers perform/compete?
Dorotea:  In June we danced for a cultural linguistic event, and in July we danced for the ‘premier’ of “Brave” in Colombia.
 I have performed at weddings, Saint Patrick’s Day, Burns Suppers, a Food Festival (Alimentarte), The Irish Pub, different companies, and schools, among others.
As director of Celtic Dreams Colombia, I hope that the group can be requested to dance as well.
Christy:  In September of 2012, you took a trip to Argentina. Can you tell me what you learned there?
Dorotea: In June, the artistic director of a well-known Irish Dancing school of Buenos Aires, “Celtic Argentina”, Ms. Dominique Dure, contacted me in order to invite me to participate in the “First South American Gathering of Irish Dancing”.  
The event took place in the Armenian Theater. The performance dazzled the audience, making it clear that there is a huge interest in South America toward Irish dances.We also took workshops with international well-known dancers such as Mr. Kevin McCormack- ADCRG, Mr. Shane McAvinchey-TCRG, Mr. Augusto Canessa- TCRG, and Mr. Fernando Marcos-TCRG.
Christy:  Much of your instruction is through online and video tutorials. How does this work?

Dorotea:  When I started learning, I used some books of ceilis that my mother bought in Scotland. Then, I continued looking for more information, and I downloaded Jane Buttler ́s masterclass tutorial. Since then, I have continued watching on YouTube, every single video that could teach me steps and rhythms.
Augusto Canessa started to send us videos with explanations of basic steps and dances. These tutorial videos have been a treasure for us in improving the Irish dancing. During the workshops in Argentina,  we recorded videos in order to have enough material for practicing here in Colombia.
It has been really hard, but when you have passion toward something, you keep on doing what you like.
Christy:  How did your mother's Scottish background, and her encouragement of the arts influence your love of Irish dance?
Dorotea:  My mother lived in Glasgow in 1975 and 1976. She worked as a Spanish assistant at St. Augustine's School. When she returned to Colombia she brought several cassettes. I grew up listening to that beautiful, nostalgic music. 
She introduced me to a celtic music band called Espiritu Celta. From that moment on, I started liking the magic environment the music created. My main guide was Riverdance. I started trying to learn from it, but it was really, really hard. Just until 2007 I began to perform in public in a very informal way. I was really surprised when Scottish and Irish people said that I danced well, so I kept on feeling very motivated.
I like to dance, and when I have the opportunity to learn with certified dancers I take advantage of it.
Christy:  What, do you think, is the future of Irish dance in Colombia?
Dorotea:  Due to people's interest, Irish Dance has a promising future in Colombia.There are no qualified Irish dance instructors in the country. Some people have taken workshops in Ireland, Argentina or in the United States, but there is not enough knowledge. Having two T.C.R.G who help the improvement, not only from the group, but also from the company, is the purpose for 2013.
On May of 2012, Celtic Legends came to Bogotá, and two dancers planned a couple of workshops here. Since then, one of them, Mr. David Barkley (a TCRG from Belfast) has been our contact. Mr. Barkley is not only a TCRG, he’s a very good human being. He provides us with online help for free. Laura Ospina, and Mr. Barkley have the great idea to plan a big event in July 2013 that will last 6 days for 180 people. This event is not only for Colombians, we would really like for other dancers from Latin America who have no qualified teachers to guide their process, to come, learn, and cheer themselves up to continue. We hope that the first version of Irish Dancing Camp Latino in July, 2013 becomes true. 
We are going to do as much as we we can in order to improve Irish Dance, and in 4 or 5 years time we hope to see the first Irish dancers from our country competing in the biggest feiseanna in the U.S.A. or Ireland.
Christy:  It is very exciting to see the progress you are making. Good luck with Irish Dancing Camp Latino!
Celtic Dreams Colombia
Photo: courtesy Dorotea Rojas Maya 
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Readers: Are you an adult Irish dancer or a dance school, competitive or not, with a story to share? Would you like to inspire others to feel your passion for Irish dancing and culture? Do you have a question about Irish dancing? Please visit www.christydorrity.com