CFCA stories

Miguel’s story: Spicing up life with salsa dancing

August 19, 2013

Miguel leads a double life as a teenager in Cali, Colombia. During the week, he attends high school and studies hard.

Miguel and Valentina dancing
Miguel and his dance partner, Valentina, dance
the salsa. The two have been dancing together
for three years.

For four hours every Thursday and Saturday, he walks through town to a salsa dance academy where he transforms himself into a fun-loving but focused, driven dancer.

“When I dance salsa, I feel happy and forget other things,” Miguel says.

His house is filled with dance trophies he and his partner have earned as well as videos and tapes of different dance steps. Miguel watches the tapes intently to learn new steps and movements.

Miguel, 13, lives with his mother, grandmother and sister. It has been hard for the family because his mother has not been able to find work.

“When Miguel started to be a sponsored child, we were glad,” said his grandmother, Yolanda. “Our life changed because of all the benefits that sponsorship has given Miguel. We are so thankful to his sponsor.”

In addition to paying for Miguel’s school and other expenses, a small portion of Miguel’s sponsorship helps with his dance academy fees. As part of the Hope for a Family sponsorship program, CFCA encourages children and youth to develop their talents and pursue their interests.

Miguel has a special gift that not only gives him confidence but might open doors for him in the future.

Miguel’s uncle Jonathan first took Miguel to a dance studio when he was 5 years old.

“My talent as a dancer is a gift from God,” Miguel said. “It is a gift to be able to dance. My life changed when I started to dance.”

Miguel and Valentina with their dance teacher
Miguel, left, with his dance instructor and dance partner. Miguel has been
dancing since he was 5 years old.

His uncle Jonathan moved to the U.S. three years ago to pursue a career as a professional salsa dancer. He opened up a dance academy and continues to inspire his young nephew with tapes and instruction.

For the last three years, Miguel has partnered with Valentina, another young dancer at the academy.

“He is a very special friend, and we always dance together,” Valentina said. “He is a happy, fun person. He likes to joke around.”

The two move together effortlessly, executing moves with the precision you might see in much older dance teams. They are both eager to enter more contests and someday dance internationally for Colombia.

“My hopes and dreams for the future are to get a professional degree, and I want to continue dancing like my uncle does and support my family with everything they will need," Miguel said.

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