SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Dancer Brayan Catalan moved to Utah from Chile a year and a half ago without any family here. And now, his “local” family has exploded in size.
“When you live too far from your country, it’s a little hard because it’s, it’s really new,” said Catalan.
Lucky for him, he’s not only been able to keep true to his culture, but with Viva Chile Utah, he gets to perform it regularly. A dance troupe with nearly two dozen dancers of all ages and experiences, Viva Chile has not only allowed native Chileans to share their culture with Utahns, but to also foster a sense of community among local Chilean Americans.
The troupe started in 2019 to share their love for dance.
“Behind all the people who make up this group, there are wonderful stories,” said Viva Chile Artistic Director Macarena Rodriguez. “Stories where self-love, where affection, where the feeling of family has gone, has deepened so much that today we can say that we are a big, big family.”
The dances, incorporating bright colors and traditional music, have been passed down from generation to generation.
“Even if we’re in the US and it’s very far away, we’ll keep being in touch with our culture and it’s nice to be representing it,” said dancer Julieta Pino.
While the group performed Monday night in Provo, they are also preparing to dance at an upcoming Grizzlies game. They also perform in places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
“This is my culture,” said Catalan. “This is my past. This is my everything.”