Dance Theatre of Harlem’s Ingrid Silva Shares How She Feels Safe and at Home When Dancing Onstage

February 21, 2024

I have always been very energetic. I remember listening­ to music at home with my parents. Dancing came so easily. There’s something in music,­ any kind of music, that fascinates me. Since I was 8 years old, dance has been a big part of my life. I always say that I didn’t choose ballet­—ballet­ chose me.

I’ve had to, and I still have to, overcome so many adversities in dance. But one thing I am proud of is that, no matter what happens, giving up has never been an option for me. As an artist you learn how to develop love, patience, space, and a deep understanding of why you do what you do.

How does dance make me feel? Is it even a feeling, or is it a moment, a dream, a reality? I only know that I am myself fully when I am onstage dancing. That’s where I feel safe and right at home.

As a Black Latina, immigrant, mother, and woman I carry so much culture and so many ancestors. I embrace all of them. They make me unique, and I bring them to my dance, making it unique.

Over the years my relationship with dance has changed drastically. There have been many ups and downs, disappointments and moments of great happiness, especially after becoming a mother. I can’t quite explain, but I feel more powerful when I am onstage, because onstage I can just be an artist. I don’t have to prove anything. Choosing this art form has given my life a new purpose.

Dance to me is connection, creativity, love, a way to tell a story, and that’s why I do it. But I also see dance as a type of transformation. I continue to expand my artistry on- and offstage. I’m working to change the future of dance.