Carmelita Islas Mendez

Adriana Morales, a student at Cerritos College, has been dancing since the age of three. Dance is currently a hobby for Morales and is involved in the dance group, Limitless, which helps teach those who are disabled how to dance.

“You know how some people dance and some people are dancers, she’s a dancer,” said Rita Morales of her daughter, Adriana Morales.

When Adriana, 21, was three, her mom caught her dancing to a Maná song in the living room. That is when she put her in tap and ballet.

Adriana began by dancing tap, ballet and jazz through a parks and recreation program, but later got bored and wanted something different. “I wanted something more upbeat, something faster,” she said.

Being of Mexican and Guatemalan descent, Adriana took interest in dancing where she could make noise with her feet.

TM Jasmine Martinez
Morales has been dancing Folklorico since the age of five and considers this type of dance as the one she is best at.

Initially, she wanted to dance Flamenco, but since her family could not find a studio who practiced that style, she went with Folklorico instead.

She has been dancing Folklorico since she was five years old and considers it her dance, the one she is best at.

Adriana elaborated, “I really do like Folklorico, because not only do we know the dances, but my instructor teaches us the story behind each dance and why they dance the way they do and each movement has a meaning.

“I like my Latin class, ‘cause we don’t only do Salsa and Bachata, but we do a fusion of hip-hop mixed with Bachata, so it’s like something cool and something fun. It’s a Latin fusion, so it’s a little bit of everything.”

TM Carmelita Islas Mendez
Adriana Morales enjoys dancing Salsa, Bachata and hip-hop fusion. Morales has also participated in the “Hold Me Tight” Fallout Boy music video.

Adriana does not consider herself a verbal person, so she feels she can express herself through dance.

She continued to explain her love for dance by saying, “I don’t like to share my emotions or feelings verbally, but if I’m on the stage, I can release everything that I feel inside and leave it there on the stage. I connect with the music.”

But Adriana is not the only dancer in her family, her two younger siblings also dance.

Aaron Morales, 20, and Andrea Morales, 17, have been dancing from a very young age and did it ‘following in her footsteps,’ according to their mother, Rita.

Aaron has been dancing from the age of four. He began dancing Folklorico, but says that he does not dance as seriously his sisters do. He says he likes to dance as a hobby.

“When I’m dancing, it just takes my mind off of things. It just makes me happy,” he said.

Andrea has danced since she was two years old. She picked up dancing by watching her older siblings practice.

Andrea recalled, “From what I know, what my mom has told me, is that I would be on the outside of the room practicing and I would learn the dances in my diapers.”

Andrea is also currently the captain of the Lakewood High School advanced dance team.

TM Jasmine Martinez
Morales has been dancing Folklorico since the age of five and considers this type of dance as the one she is best at.

She explained that after 15 years of dancing Folklorico with Adriana and Aaron she is in sync with her siblings, but has outgrown that dance style. They know how to dance together, but also have the freedom to be their own dancer.

Andrea now follows more contemporary dance styles, such as lyrical and hip-hop, which she has been doing for four years.

However, Rita explained that her children’s dance careers haven’t always been so easygoing.

She explained that at their first studio, which they had been with for 13 years, ‘things didn’t go well’ and they were asked to leave.

“That was very difficult because that is where they worked as dancers. That is where they learned everything.

“That was a very challenging time because it was a sense of loss. We all went through a grieving process, depression and what-not,” she said.

She also said that it was difficult to leave the studio because she was ‘grateful’ for the skills they learned while dancing.

“One of the many things I am grateful for in terms of their characters and who they became, they have develop a sense of responsibility and commitment. Dancing did that for them,” explained Rita.

She said that she tried to keep herself and her children positive throughout that time.

She remembers it as it being, “A moment of darkness for a world of sunshine because that brought us here to Limitless and other studios that they are in.

“For Adrianna, it gave her a bit more freedom to stretch her wings and truly fly.”

Leaving her first dance studio meant that she was able to join other dance groups and learn more contemporary dance styles as well as attend Cerritos college and “meet her Cerritos family,” as Rita put it.

Some other opportunities that arose after were the chance to appear in the “Hold Me Tight” music video from the Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz-lead rock band, Fall Out Boy.

“I come out like three times and only two seconds, but that was something cool to do. It was a new experience,” said Adriana.

Rita said that although she enjoys watching her children dance, she doesn’t expect them to become professional dancers.

She would like them to have professional careers, but to continue dancing as a hobby.

Limitless, a dance group that includes people with disabilities, performed at the All Abilities Fair hosted by the city of Malibu where they danced to three songs, which included salsa and pop.

Debbie Wang, co-founder of Limitless, is an occupational therapist at a rehabilitation facility as well as a dancer. She is responsible for organizing the choreographies that the group dances to.

Wang has known the Morales family for about seven years and when she needed women dancers for the group, she reached out to them.

“They are like amazing people and a great family. They are the best family,” she said.

She clarified that it is sometimes difficult to choreograph the dance routines for Limitless because she tries to include everyone to showcase their skills and talent.

She concluded by saying, “We try to find songs that have like a positive message or that they can identify with or help us like, something that inspires us when we choreograph. We don’t really do like hardcore hip-hop or gangster rap or anything.”

Heidi Dombish, co-founder of Limitless, added, “When we show up together, it’s a family and it’s supportive and we enjoy being together and having a good time together, whether we are dancing for fun or dancing for a show.”

Despite of her love for dance Adriana has other ambitions that don’t include any performing arts.

However, in the future Adriana hopes to continue dancing, but maybe only as a hobby.

She said, “I definitely want to continue dancing, but my goal as I grow up is to be a forensic nurse. I still want to dance on the side if I have time, I don’t want to lose it for sure.”