Gerson Lanza is a talented, charismatic tap dancer/ choreographer extraordinare.
As a child growing up in Honduras with parents of two different ethnic groups, I was exposed early on to the rhythms of the Afro-Honduran/Garifuna and Mayan ancestry folklore music derivatives. This up bringing brought a rich culture and variety of music into my life. Nonetheless, it wasn’t until I moved to Harlem, New York that I discovered tap dance. As I grew into the art form I embodied those very same rhythms every time I danced.
January of 1991 my mother moved to New York City to find a better life for our family. From that moment, she made a promise that one day we would all be together. She made that promise come true in 2001, when my three siblings and I moved to New York City. At that point I realized, that I was given a chance to create my own path to success. I am continuously reminded of how grateful I am to be chasing the American dream with my tap shoes at my side.
Obtaining an education was an expectation in my household since both my parents were educators. I remember that missing school was never an option unless we had a deathly illness. This idea in mind, I chose to attend Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in 2009, where I double majored in History and Spanish. While at Wake Forest I truly focused on my academics but I never let my tap shoes collect dust.
During my sophomore and junior year of college I traveled to countries such as Spain, Brazil, Portugal, and Sweden where I discovered how tap dance is influencing people around the world. As I travel the world with my tap shoes I am consciously making an effort to be a citizen of the world by developing a strong cultural capital. In doing so I have committed myself to learn Portuguese and become trilingual.
I wanted to find a way to actively dance and give back to the university’s community at Wake Forest. So I founded “Setting the Groove Tap Dance Club”. As a first year student I managed to recruit 15 dancers with a variety of experience. After a few information sessions we were all committed to the “Groove”. At the beginning I was in charge of orchestrating all practical responsibility as the choreographer. I also led all administrative duties from secretary to treasurer to president of the club.
Throughout the years of STG, I managed to delegate responsibility among group members of the club. Gradually we became recognized on campus and had the opportunity to perform at university galas, fundraisers, special events, etc. I am proud to say that three years later, STG has continued to perform and grow its popularity among the student body since I have graduated.
After graduating from Wake Forest, I committed to a full time position teaching at a dance studio call “In Motion Dance Center” in Winston-Salem, NC. During my year at “ In Motion Dance Center” I travelled to Oslo, Norway, Stockholm, Sweden and Madrid, Spain for numerous workshops and performances. Soon after my contract was over at In motion I decided to head back to New York City.
In 2014 I moved back to Harlem, New York where I joined Chloe Arnold's (Leader of Syncopated Ladies) Apartment 33, composed of tap dancers from around the world of whom have come to New York City to dance with the finest artists of the art form. I have been fortunate enough to dance along side Jason Janas, Chloe Arnold, Joseph Webb, Jason Samuel Smith, Omar Edwards and many great dancers of this American art.
My American Dream has not yet been fulfilled. There are still places, stages, and people i have not yet share my passion with. I am a Honduran tap dancer with a firm belief in success, passion, and integrity. I will forever be a student with educated thoughts in both the classroom and on the wood. I hope I get to reach you soon.
Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC
Bachelor of Arts, May 2013
Wadleigh High School for the Performance and Visual Arts
Advance Regents Diploma. 2006- 2009
Harlem School of the Arts
Dance Performance September, 2008 -June, 2009
“Brazilian Jambush” Winston- Salem, NC Summer-Fall2011 Director/ Soloist/ Choreographer
· After being granted two fellowships for arts research I traveled to Brazil to examine the different rhythmic patterns, musicality as well as body movement in Brazil for two months. The focus point of the research consists of how Brazilian art forms influence tap dancing. As a result I produced a capstone project, which I named the“ Brazilian Jambush”. My independent research was display at Wake Forest University Scales Fine Arts Center.
“Dancing Through the Decades” Brooklyn, NY September 2015- June 2016
Director/ Performing Arts Specialist
New York base Tap Dance Co. “Apt 33” Tap Dance, 2016 Dancer City College Center for the Arts
Music From the Soul 2016 Dancer Creative Alliance Theater
Washington DC Tap Dance Festival, 2010, 2013. Dancer American Embassy of Dance
The Cotton Club Show Dancer/ Soloist Scandinavian International Tour
Los Angeles Tap Dance Festival, 2010, 2013 Dancer UCLA’s Freud Playhouse
Wake Forest University Dance Co. Spring Show 2012. Choreographer, Dancer Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University Dance Co. Fall Show 2009. Dancer Wake Forest University
Kerry Dance Academy Poughkeepsie, NYJanuary – Present
· Currently serve as tap dance instructor for all advance classes as well as choreographer for dancers who are pending future performances or competitions.
“Amor Latino” Queens, N.Y May 2009
· Bronx Community scene from Amor Latino presented by Thalia Spanish Theatre May 2009. Based on Romeo and Juliet and West Side Story, the rival gangs were flamenco/salsa dancers based in Queens, and tap dancers based in the Bronx
Fluency in Spanish and intermediate Portuguese