Laura De La Garza Noble on Sharing Her Passion for Dance with Students and Audiences

Originally from Mexico City, Laura De La Garza Noble has been involved in dance for over 20 years. As a dancer, choreographer, educator, and fitness instructor, De La Garza Noble has a true passion for dance, and she has continued to share that passion with other dancers, students, and audiences alike. 

She is currently the dance educator for Bogota High School and Bogota Middle School, and she is also the coach and artistic director of the district's dance company. De La Garza Noble is also an educator with Ballet Hispanico, as well as a teaching artist, performer, and collaborator with the New Jersey-based dance company OCA Dance. 

De La Garza Noble has collaborated with numerous choreographers, dancers, and artists, including Chien-Ying Wang, Paul Ocampo, Randy James, Camille Moten, Deja Darbone, Willy Laury, Kennyth Montes de Oca, and Kiri Avelar.  

Prior to her relocation to the US, De La Garza Noble worked as a performer for the artist Emilio Catalan, MB Producciones, MoveOn Dance Agency, and choreographer Maribel Ochoa back in Mexico City. 

We asked De La Garza Noble to share some of her perspectives on her current dance work and her process for working with students, choreographers, and other dancers. Check out our full interview with De La Garza Noble below. 

laura de la garza noble

To start out, what initially brought you to dance?

De La Garza Noble: When I was young my parents decided it was important for my sister and I to take extracurricular classes. It didn't matter to them what the classes were, but they knew it was important that we tried a variety of things and learned commitment and work ethic at a young age. I chose dance and gymnastics. I started dancing in a baby ballet class at two years old and I loved it from the very beginning.

As an educator, what do you prioritize most highly when working with your students?

De La Garza Noble: I think the most important thing to remember when teaching is that every single person is different and to honor that when working with them. I emphasize in getting to know my students, not only as academics or artists, but as people. You need to know how somebody thinks, what they value most, and where their skill sets lie in order to use this to inform what it is they need most because learning only happens when a person's needs are met.

Is it ever difficult to distill certain dance/movement concepts into accessible lessons for your students? 

De La Garza Noble: I would be lying if I said it was not. Most professionals want to make you think that their job is easy for them because they think it makes them look more skillful. But the truth is teaching is hard, and teaching an intangible concept like those in the arts is really hard. As I said before, the best way to approach it is to know your audience and find something that they already know how to do and attach the new information to that to help them grasp it.

You've worked with so many distinguished artists. Do you find yourself feeding off the energy and creativity of other artists? 

De La Garza Noble: Definitely! I want to believe most artists do this. We are a combination of the people who came before us, right? I have always been the type of artist who is a sponge. I absorb as much information as I can and I let it have a home in my body. I have built myself with bits and pieces of all of the amazing artists I have had the pleasure of working with.

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What spurred your initial involvement in professional choreography? 

De La Garza Noble: I have always had a knack for creating movement. Dance always lived in my body, I have never been able to listen to a song and sit still. I found out early on that even though I am not the best at communicating orally, I had a means of expression physically and I wanted to hone in on this and really use it. My choreography skills were innate, but they were not always refined. However, studying dance in college helped me develop it and evolve my creative voice.

Of your many performances, which felt the most creatively or physically challenging to you? 

De La Garza Noble: In terms of creatively challenging, I worked with well-known choreographer Randy James on a group piece where I was asked to create choreography while following the prompt "waltzing insect." This one really took me for a spin. But I do have to say, the ambiguity and weirdness of the prompt helped me find a different way of both choreographing and moving that I don't think I would have found without the creative challenge. 

In terms of physically challenging, I did a performance at the Joyce Theater in NYC where I performed a repertory piece from Lar Lubovitch. With how this piece is designed, I was both a soloist and a part of the ensemble at the same time, so for the entire twelve-minute piece I just kept jumping into choreography then running around backstage just to go back in, which was exhilarating for sure but also required a great amount of stamina on top of the usual physical strain dancing causes the body. 

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Do you have any upcoming performances or events we can look forward to? 

De La Garza Noble: I have performances within the school district that I work in which I am working on tirelessly, and I have additionally been rehearsing work for OCA dance, the dance company I am a part of. However, in terms of my personal work and where you will be able to see it, I am currently working on a few dances for film. I am venturing into this new way of producing and disseminating dance because I believe it is a way of reaching a vaster audience. 

It takes a lot of new skills which I am developing as I work, but I believe it will deliver wonderful results. At the moment, I am working on a dance film that will highlight the violence against women that exists in my native Mexico as well as on a film where I am playing with the concept of balance in life, both physically and theoretically. 

Finally, I am in the creative process of creating a film in conjunction with a Mexican artist whom I have known for a long time now. If you keep an eye out on my website and my Instagram, you will see announcements for all of these projects as early as possible.

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