UCLA Student Brings National Dance Moves Into Commercial Realm

Alejandra Rodriguez has has found its rhythm.

The third-year dance and political science student performed in a commercial for Fox Deportes, a Spanish-language division of Fox Sports, airs Oct. 26. The commercial celebrates the network’s 25th anniversary with presenters and dancers moving to the song “Fuego” by Bomba Estéreo. It was her first appearance on a major national network and one of her first dancing jobs since the COVID-19 pandemic, she said.

“There was a time when we couldn’t do what we love the most,” Rodríguez said. “To work on something you love and which is your passion – it’s a complete blessing.”

Rodríguez said she started dancing when she was 3 years old and quickly got hooked because of how dancing can influence people’s emotions and perspectives. She made it her mission to train in as many styles as possible, such as ballet, hip-hop, flamenco and jazz, Rodríguez said. By training in a variety of styles, she said she could avoid being categorized as a type of dancer and increase his likelihood of being thrown into more jobs.

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At 12, Rodriguez was first introduced to ballet and tap dancing. Rodríguez said she started taking her dance training seriously and branching out into other styles when she was 15. At that age, she said she traveled to Mexico City and trained for a month in a variety of styles for 10 hours a day at BlackStudio. Though exhausting, she said it helped her in her decision to pursue a professional career in dance.

“I want to immerse myself in the work of the dance industry, as well as the art form of dance, because for so many people dance can mean so many things,” Rodríguez said. “I just love every aspect and every scope of it.”

Rodríguez was hired for all of her dance gigs through industry connections, she said, and was not required to audition for the commercial. The two salespeople choreographer, Jesús Mosqueda and Rodríguez are from Tijuana, Mexico, which Rodríguez says is known for its tight-knit dance community. Rodríguez said Mosqueda reached out to her after looking at her Instagram account and asking if she was interested in advertising. Mosqueda said he was looking for versatile Latin dancers, and Rodríguez fit that image.

As advertising required a large production, Rodríguez said the filming process took place over a period of five days at Popsicle Studio and Quixote Studios, both located in the Los Angeles area. The dancers stayed at a nearby hotel and spent long days on set filming hours of footage for the commercial, she said.

“It was just me and the camera,” Rodríguez said. “It was me dancing for my life and even though I knew I had eyes on me, they were all blocked.”

Since the dancers and news anchors were shown dancing together, Rodríguez said the choreography was mostly made up of simple, high-energy moves. From references to sports, such as throwing punches, throwing soccer balls and dribbling soccer balls, to balancing dance moves and technical sports moves, Mosqueda said the overall theme alludes to sports .

Although much of the choreography was set up, Rodríguez said the dancers also had freestyle moments in order to show off their different styles of movement, such as salsa, reggaeton, acrobatics, hip -hop and the contemporary. For Rodríguez’s freestyle moment, she said she was tasked to improvise in front of a spotlight.

[Related: Online dance performance emphasizes resisting white supremacy through movement]

With dancing featured in the ad, Mosqueda said he was delighted with the end result. In many commercials featuring dancers, Mosqueda said days of footage could be cut into 10 seconds of dancing. However, he said, this time the footage of the dancers was a significant part of the video, taking up nearly half of the ad. The whole team was proud of the final product because of how smoothly the production process went and how cheerful and clean the publicity was, he said.

Throughout her dance journey, Rodríguez said a big source of his support was his friends and family. Third-year dance student and close friend of Rodríguez, Christopher Aguirre, said he has always bonded with Rodríguez over their similar career goals. He said he witnessed her growth as they went through the dance program together and was filled with pride when he saw Rodríguez appear in the ad.

“When I saw her on screen I was like ‘Wow,'” Aguirre said. “I was very speechless. I see her doing the job and I see her achieving that dream.

For the future, Rodríguez said she aims to dance on world tours with musical artists like Bad Bunny and KAROL G, get signed to a talent agency, and teach dance. This publicity brought her closer to those goals, she said.

“Even though the art form fills me, personally and internally, dancing for a commercial changed my perception of dance,” Rodríguez said. “There’s so much I can do now that my name is out there.”