When I first auditioned for Culture Shock LA, I was looking for a dance company where I could meet new people and train in new dance styles. 17 years later, CSLA has been not only a place where I have grown as a dancer & choreographer, but where I have evolved as an artist, a leader, an educator, a collaborator, and an advocate for community outreach. It has been a vehicle to launch our shared vision of creating community dance programs, in-school and after-school dance programs, our very own youth dance troupes Mini Shock LA, Mighty Shock LA, and Future Shock LA, and also our annual benefit shows which utilizes music and dance for education and awareness. The by-product of sharing such a noble vision “cultivating self-worth, dignity, and respect for all people” has been bringing together generations of amazingly loving, talented, fun, and inspiring CSLA dancers whom I am so honored & grateful to now know as family. Through both personal joys and personal challenges, CSLA has been a place where my art can have meaning and the family support is felt so genuinely. I can honestly say that Culture Shock LA has been and continues to be one of my greatest life blessings, a home away from home, and a source of some of my biggest artistic and life inspirations. I continue to be incredibly proud to be amongst like-minded, positive-minded artists who believe in purpose-driven art with heart. In my eyes, they truly are everyday heroes.
By Arnel Calvario, Culture Shock International Board President