Dance for All Bodies Instructor Interview Series: Auti Angel
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
The Dance for All Bodies organization has recently conducted interviews with its instructors Alicia Langlais, Antoine Hunter, Janpi Star, Clara Rodriguez, Auti Angel, and Stephanie Bastos. Each instructor brings a unique perspective and experience to the world of integrated dance. During this 6 week series, the Dance for All Bodies blog will feature one instructor interview on Saturdays.
In 1992 Auti Angel, a professional dancer on her way to stardom, faced devastation when she experienced a life threatening auto accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. However, through years of many trials, Auti Angel has been able to reinvent herself as the shining star she is. Auti Angel has experienced life’s challenges that would later become her tool to help mentor others through their struggles. Returning to her first love of dance, she pioneered wheelchair hip-hop dancing worldwide and has continued to pursue her career in music and acting; showing this industry that she is unstoppable!
Auti Angel has been seen on several major TV talk shows sharing her story of triumph over tragedies. She has been featured on: "Good Morning America", "The Marie Osmond Show", "The Jeff Probst Show", "OMG Insider", "Access Hollywood Live", "CNN", "The Katie Couric Show", "Latina Magazine", "US Magazine", "New York Times", "Los Angeles Times", and "Los Angeles Magazine," just to name a few.
Auti Angel has become a true symbol of survival and overcoming adversity. She inspires, motivates, and empowers audiences. She shares how perseverance and setting goals have helped her overcome obstacles, embrace change, and how to maintain a productive life.
No matter what obstacles may come your way, they are always overcome-able! - Auti Angel
Once a dancer, always a dancer! - Auti Angel
During an interview with Dance for All Bodies, in her own words, Auti Angel describes Hip Hop dance, the inclusiveness of Dance for All Bodies, and the amazing community that she has become a part of and wants to share with the world.
“My name is Auti Angel and I was born in San Diego, but I was originally raised in Los Angeles, and I still reside in Los Angeles. Dance for me always became my sanctuary. Like anytime I was going through any type of hardship, or trial, or life lesson, dance was always my saving grace, whether it be painful, I would exude and let everything out. Whichever manner I have needed to express at that moment, or if I was super happy, then I’d have a happy dance. It has pretty much been a marriage made in heaven.
When I came into Dance for All Bodies, it is exactly what it sounds like, dance for all bodies: ambulatory, wheelchair users, amputees, Cerebral Palsy, Hard of Hearing, visually impaired, all bodies, all walks of life. I really really love your inclusivity of all abilities. I cater to your needs or the participants’ needs as much as possible because it is my passion for them to get the best out of the class and whatever it is that they are looking for in the class.
Hip Hop is mostly I would say a gumbo pot of all dances. Dance for All Bodies Hip Hop is dance for all dances. There’s endless possibilities when it comes to Hip Hop. What I teach is free for all so there’s three elements that I do teach: I teach the basics of Hip Hop, then I also teach musicality class which breaks down the body parts along with the music, and then I also teach a freestyle class which in return I teach the individual how to bring their best self.
Initially we started off for an hour, then we found out really fast that that did not work for Auti Angel, because she likes to get to know everybody which takes a half hour, and then we only have a half hour to dance. So we extended it to an hour and a half. I’m super thankful that you accommodated my needs to connect to the people.
We are not all going to look the same. We can all do the same move, but I love the flavor of watching everybody bring their own character, their own characteristics into that dance. My goal is to embrace all walks of life and give back the gift that God has blessed me with and that is the gift of dance.
I wasn’t always in a wheelchair. I was 22 years old when I had an accident that left me paralyzed from the waist down. I tell everybody, especially the ambulatory community, able-bodied, I always say ambulatory, because we are all able. I would go up to them and say “Yo, I wasn’t always like this, but man did I join an awesome community.” Like literally I wouldn’t change a thing. If God gave me three wishes, they would probably be: bring my mother back, make me dance until I’m on my grave, and what else, I don’t know, allow me to continue to touch lives across the world.”