We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Zambrano and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kevin, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risk is a factor I play immensely with, within my career, as I believe it is a tool which allows for your most authentic self to be portrayed. Whenever I have banked on risk at an audition I have left either booking the job or feeling best about my performance. I say to myself in these instances “to risk being you and giving it your all is better than regretting having not done it in the first place.” It not only allows for your most authentic self to shine, but also pushes the boundaries of your creative capabilities. With each risk taken, you learn something about yourself. Whether that’s learning the action you made is not affordable for your own career or that it’s a new asset to utilize as a performer, both present possibilities. Possibilities you may have never uncovered before. I also believe risk taking, as a performer, allows for directors or creative teams to question their own choice making. They may have a set ideals as to what they’d like, but you as an auditionee/ employee can change their mind by bringing in a novel view of dance, singing, whatever it may be. Take the risk to not fit in the mold and allow the mold to change for you. In these instances, colleagues I have witnessed do this are usually those more understanding of themselves as performers. The ones who always question the work, further the development of theater or art. In addition, I find, risk taking grants freedom and fun! We, as performers, are conditioned to be active listeners and doers. This in turn tends to diminish our ability to provide imagination and to question our craft. With risk you have the ability to ignore these sets of conditions or rules. Risk taking plays with form, bends the “norms”, destroys stereotypes and breaks down walls. A giant playing field is available at all times, might as well enjoy everything your body and art has to offer. And have fun with it! History is defined by risk takers. I intend to challenge what is in front of me and risk being my most authentic self.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
From a very young age I considered myself as a creative. Whether it was drawing or performing, I have always felt the need to express myself through art. My journey to now has taken many different forms. I began as a musical theater kid, then found my love for choreography, studied concert dance, worked jobs as a backup dancer and model and am currently back in the musical theater world making my Broadway debut in West Side Story. It has been a wild ride and one I would never expect, however along the way, I have learned to ride the wave. This lesson has been very challenging to grapple and I am still in the midst of doing so, but it is one I find most true for myself. As much as I would like to be in control of the outcome of my path and career, the universe is the beholder of this truth. With that, I must always work as hard as I can in order to plant the seeds, but the fruits it bears may come in many different forms and colors. It is my job then to accept what is given to me. To work with what I got. So ride the wave, learn from the challenges and accept the outcome. Using this life “motto” I have overcome challenges in regards to my look and performance style, allowing myself to accept the abilities I have been given. A teacher once told me, “You need to start dancing like a man. You’re too fragile.” This terrible advice affected me greatly. It not only showed their own insecurities and basic view of dance, but made me question the possibilities for myself in the future. Instead of letting it define my reality, I used it to ignite my passion and to prove them wrong. To dive deeper into the “feminine” way I dance. And here I am, achieving a childhood dream to dance on Broadway. Not only did the “non manly” dancer make it there, I did so improvising in the auditions as a fragile nimble dancer. I am a performer at heart. I believe the rest of my abilities are me playing pretend. I am a jack of many trades. I intend to bring my queer world view to the mainstreem. I am unapologetic. I am constantly learning. I am always trying to improve. I am never satisfied. I believe we are all performers. I will always try to dance differently from the person next to me. I enjoy being feminine. I enjoy being masculine. I enjoy the challenge. I am history.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Welcome to Los Angeles! If you enjoy hikes, I recommend Brand Park and Amir’s Garden. Both have great views and the latter you can enjoy a picnic at one of the many picnic tables at the top. I enjoy coffee from Philz and Coffee Commissary, both have multiple locations and are reasonably priced. Restaurants to eat at include: El Sauz in Glendale, Sushi Stop in Hollywood, Yellow House Cafe and Bulgogi Hut in Koreatown, and Mh Zh in Silverlake. Driving is essential, so I highly recommend renting a car. With a car, you can spend much of your day driving around the city. I love Mulholland Drive and driving by the Hollywood Reservoir, which leads to the Hollywood sign. Lastly, shopping is something I love to do, especially thrift shopping. Magnolia street in Burbank is lined with tons of thrift and costume stores meant for the television industry. There’s a plethora of clothes and shops to choose from and this trip can last you all day!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My journey has been assisted by a plethora of mentors and teachers. I believe working with mentors is a great way to gain insight on your path and expand the horizons of networking. The people I would like to bring emphasis to providing success to my craft are: Bret Easterling (Batsheva/ USC Faculty), Rauf ‘Rubberlegz’ Yasit and James Gregg (WeWolf/ Rubberband Dance), Ryan Kelly (Gerard and Kelly), Rosanna Gamson (RGWW/ CalArts Faculty) , Laura Aladjem (Manager), Estee Fratzke (Highschool Coach) and my family. The support from my parents and sister is the scaffold to my career and without their belief in me I would not be able to have achieved the successes I have today. As the saying goes, it takes a village. A village of believers it has taken for me. Thank you to those that have been such crucial parts of my journey!
Mimi Haddon, Jessie Butera, Little Fang, Philip Montgomery, Broadway.com