© Colin Frotten

Andrea Rojas Ortiz

From Toluca, Mexico, Andrea Rojas Ortiz started her dance training in jazz at the age of eight. Pursuing her dream of becoming a professional dancer, she moved to Queretaro, Mexico, to study at a performing arts high school. After graduating, she performed with a local dance company, and received two gold medals as best performer in a major dance competition.

She believes in the power that live dance performance and the interaction with the audience has to trigger human emotions and thoughts that eventually might lead to a more conscious existence.

She has taught jazz, ballet, and contemporary dance in Mexico, and nowadays she is an assistant ballet teacher at Leaside Ballet School in Toronto. Motivated to expand her professional and personal boundaries, Andrea moved to Canada to study at the School, where she is living dance to the fullest.

“Although I love my home country and my culture, something inside me was not satisfied; I knew that my body needed to be trained in a different way, and I needed personal, professional and physical challenges. I set myself the goal of studying abroad, which would make me grow in all those areas. After a thorough online research, I came across the School; I loved the prestigious program, the feedback from alumni and the feeling I had, telling me that it was the right place for me to become a professional dancer.”

Andrea was the recipient of the 2019 Kathryn Ash Scholarship, a merit-based award given to a deserving student going into their final year of study and is the equivalent to one-half of one year’s tuition.

In her application for the Kathryn Ash Scholarship, Andrea said:

“Whenever I feel that something is hard, I always remember that for me, dance is what makes me wake up every morning (despite the sore muscles). I also remember that the period in my life when I was not involved in dance was one of the most mentally and emotionally challenging moments I have gone through. I worked really hard to be able to come to this school, break the mental state I was immersed in, and start from scratch to become the dancer I wanted to be. This turned out to be the best decision I made for myself as a dancer. I am willing to be the best dancer I can be every day, while building my strengths and acknowledging my own weaknesses. I continually work hard to better myself with each opportunity.”

2019 Summer Break

On her recent summer break, Andrea performed an excerpt from Newton Moraes’ Wired Love, a piece she performed with the company back in March 2019. She then went on to perform with the Vanguardia Dance Projects. The month of August was another busy month for Andrea; she performed with the Collective of Scenic Exchange (COSE) in Toronto, and was part of the cast of dancers in third-year student Haley Dimeck’s The Hidden Revealed, with Unwrap Theatre in Kitchener-Waterloo. To end her exciting summer of dance, she performed in a piece by 2018 School grad Sasha Speed, as part of Fuse, a collaboration between School grads Olivia Arcangeli (2018), Katherine Semchuk (2016), Sasha Speed and Tyra Temple-Smith (2018).

We asked Andrea for highlights of her time at the School so far, and if she had anything to say to prospective International students:

“Everything has been lovely – my classmates, teachers, classes, performances, the opportunity to choreograph, perform, and co-produce student-run productions, Coffee House, etc. There have been tough days and struggles, but that is life, and I am just thankful that I am in a safe and creative space to go through my path, fully supported.

It is not a rumour – Canadians are super nice! You will feel welcomed and supported during your journey, and if dancing is what you love, the School is a great place to realistically and professional reinforce your training.”