Dance To the Movies in Patchogue had a cast of incredible artists, and these very versatile performers have showcased their talents all over the world. In addition to Tristan MacManus, Karina Smirnoff, Lacey Schwimmer, Chelsie Hightower, and Jonathan Roberts, we were treated to performances by artists from American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance but that's just the beginning. One of those very special entertainers was the multi-talented Antonio Martinez who not only showed us his dancing skills in many numbers but also proved to be a huge fan favorite with his work on the silks. He graciously agreed to this interview, and we can't thank him enough for taking time from his busy schedule to talk with us. Links to Antonio's social media accounts are at the end of this interview, so be sure to follow him and like his pages.
Additional photos are posted at the end of this interview. Click on any image to enlarge it.
Antonio, many of us had the pleasure to see you perform in Dance to the Movies in Patchogue. Would you share a little about how your involvement in the show came about?
I auditioned with many other male dancers in LA for a position in this production. Lacey Schwimmer lead the preliminary ballroom audition then I was called back for a second ballroom audition lead by Jonathan Platero. A few days later, after sending my aerial choreography links and performances, Scott and Stacie Stander offered me a dancer / aerialist contract!!
You were in a lot of different types of numbers. Obviously, one of the most spectacular was your performance on the silks while Vonzell sang “I Will Always Love You.” What kind of rehearsal and preparation went into that jaw-dropping number?
Since I choreographed and performed this particular number, I was in charge of creating and rehearsing it. I teach and rehearse all of my aerial work at Aeriform Arts in Hollywood. Scott sent me a You Tube link of Vonzell's beautiful voice singing "I Will Always Love You", then I went to work emulating her powerful voice and emotion with aerial choreography and dynamic musicality. It was a pleasure working with Vonzell on this. We both agreed that our performances together were electrifying and emotional.
What were some of your other favorite performances from DTTM?
I truly loved each and every routine that was taught to me! I love all styles of dance especially ballroom so I was in heaven from beginning to end of this production of Dance To The Movies! Everything from Jazz Dance, Viennese Waltz, Jive, Tango, Salsa, ChaCha, Contemporary, Musical Theatre, Samba, and Adagio work... I can't possibly pick my favorite. LOL!
Did you already know many of the dancers before rehearsals began?
The only dancer I knew was Ekaterina Fedosova, who I had worked with recently on the set of Jane The Virgin and Gilmore Girls as a dancer. We never got to dance together though until Dance To the Movies coupled us up for a few of the featured ballroom roles.
Are there any fun moments from rehearsals or the performances that you would like to share?
We were lucky enough to get to celebrate 2 birthdays during our 6 days of rehearsal with the cast. We had cake and donuts! Chocolate is my favorite!!
What was the most challenging part of being in a show like this?
The new cast members had only 4 days to learn all of the choreography and 2 days to clean it. It's usually very challenging to learn almost 3 routines a day and partnering with dancers that you have never worked with before. But the entire cast was super professional and we pulled it together for an amazing opening night and entire week of performances!
Who was the most serious member of the cast? Funniest?
Well, definitely a matter of opinion but I would say most serious goes to Kimalee Piedad and Eric Ascione while Legacy and Karina were the funniest!
If you could have been involved in any other number from DTTM (other than those you were in) which would it be?
I would have loved to have been in the "Men In Black" routine. I love the movie, song, and choreo for this particular routine!
What are your thoughts on DTTM in general? (the concept, production, choreography, cast, etc.)
I love every aspect of the show! I really do! I hope to perform it again. I was very pleased with my role and track in the show. I loved every routine I was and was not a part of and hope to perform it again with the same cast members. It truly was a joy and a fun challenge. This show has so many styles of dance and everyone has their moment to shine and bring their best to it! I'm so impressed by every choreographer, dancer, singer, and actor in the show. The production team behind the scenes as well were all a joy to work with as well.
Do you have a favorite type of dance that you love to perform in general?
I typically love anything Latin so I would say the final Lion King Samba routine choreographed by Jonathan Platero and Oksana Dmytrenko [Platero]. I love the music and dynamic choreo along with the dance formations and flow of the routine.
You seem to have a real love of performing and being on stage. Describe for us what it’s like being in front of an appreciative audience like we saw in Patchogue.
It's thrilling and very inspiring. The energy you feel coming from the audience is addictive indeed. There is already a passion that is ignited in my heart and body for dance but it multiplies when there is an audience that reacts to my artistic choices. It really does help fuel the flame within!
Seeing you in so many numbers from our favorite movies was a special treat, but if you could dance to any number from any film, what would it be? Who would you visualize as your dream dance partner for that number?
Fun question. Let's see. I would want to dance "El Tango de Roxanne" from Moulin Rouge with Karina Smirnoff. That is my favorite scene in the movie and Karina would definitely perform it well.
What advice would you give to anyone who is hoping to have a career in the performing arts?
My advice would be to focus on one or two styles the most but diversify your skills with all other styles of movement. It is important in this industry to be well-rounded. Take everyone’s criticism as constructive and don't forget why you love to dance and perform. Stay focused and motivated...you are your own boss.
And since this is a Tristan MacManus website, we thought we would ask – what did you think of Tristan and was this the first time you had met him?
I love working with Tristan! This was my second time working with him. He is always a pleasure to work with as both a choreographer and fellow performer. His energy on and off stage is an absolute joy. He is always witty, funny, and thoughtful! I look forward to working with him again very soon.
Tell us more about you – your background, training, etc. – anything you would like to share. How long have you trained/worked on the silks as well as been involved in dance and other forms of the arts?
I am first generation Mexican American, born in Chicago, raised in Wagoner Oklahoma and now reside in Hollywood, California. I have trained in dance for 16 years and aerial arts for 10 years and continue to do so every day in LA. I have a dance degree from Oklahoma City University as well as a BA in Spanish. I have training from the Toronto School of Circus Arts and continued training in LA. I have worked on tv, film, music videos, stage, tours, industrials, and commercials as a versatile dancer, aerialist, and model. My most recent TV credits include Gilmore Girls as a Tango dancer for Marguerite Derricks, New Girl as a Bollywood dancer, Jane the Virgin as a Latin dancer, and Angie Tribeca as a Zombie Thriller dancer! Other credits include Dancing With The Stars, Bun Heads, True Blood, America's Got Talent, Beach Body Fitness, the Will Ferrell Dodge Motors Campaign, and the international tour of West Side Story. Being a part of Dancing To The Movies is a dream come true! I pride myself on being a versatile performer and my favorite quote is "Luck is preparation meeting opportunity" (source unknown).
Finally, you seem to be gaining a lot of new fans lately. Is there anything you would like to say to everybody?
I want everyone to know how happy I am to share my passions, creativity, and love for movement. I am very pleased that everyone has been enjoying all my styles of dance and aerial performances. Stay tuned for more performances with Dance To The Movies!!
Social media links and for more information:
Instagram: @antoniomartinezla https://www.instagram.com/antoniomartinezla/
Twitter: @AntonioAerial https://twitter.com/AntonioAerial
For Bookings: Contact MSA at 323-957-6680
Please leave comments for Antonio below.