As a third generation ballerina, you could definitely say that ballet and artistry are in her DNA!
This impressive ballerina balances teaching, her professional performing career and graphic design projects. Her ballerina mom has been an influential teacher to her, not only of ballet but of valuable life lessons, which Mercedes then passes on to her own students - never give up, work hard and to always dance for yourself, not anyone else. Valuable and inspiring lessons for us all!!
Where were you born? Where do you live now?
I was born in Lubbock, TX and currently live in the Tampa Bay Area in sunny Florida!
Do you have brothers and/or sisters? And if so how many?
Yes! I have a one older brother (also a dancer!)
When did you start your ballet training and why?
I started ballet when I was 3 years old being taught by my mother. I started taking ballet more seriously/in the first place because my mother was a professional ballet dancer with the National Ballet of Mexico (Compañia de Danza Clasica del INBA in Mexico City) and she owned her own studio in Texas where I was born. She also performed as a soloist with Fort Worth Ballet and Bristol Concert Ballet.
Her mom was also a professional ballet dancer performing with Manolo Agullo in Puerto Rico so you could say it runs in the family! :)
I’ve always loved it and I’ve never been forced to dance either which I believe is why I’ve been involved in it for so long.
Please tell us about your mom & dad and how they have influenced you – in life and in dance.
My mom was a professional ballet dancer and is now a master teacher and my dad used to be a bullfighter! (crazy I know!) My mom has influenced me in life by always being there when I needed advice and guiding me towards making the right decisions that were for me. In dance she has influenced me by showing me to never give up, work hard and to always dance for myself, not anyone else.
What company do you dance with and what ballet method/style do you teach?
I teach and was trained in the Vaganova Method by my mother Ingrid F. Lozano. I currently freelance professionally and have just finished performing with Brandon Ballet as the Step-Mother in their production of Cinderella. I danced as the Sugar Plum Fairy in their Nutcracker as well as Lucy in Dracula this season.
Why do you love ballet?
I love ballet because it has always been a part of my life and it allows me to express myself but also become a different character in every performance!
Who is your favorite ballerina and why?
I thought about this question for a long time and realized that I don’t really have a favorite ballerina! I think the ones I would say are my “favorite” are the ones that don’t fit the “normal” ballerina body but have still made it to top ranking companies and stayed humble!
What is your favorite ballet and why?
Ooo, having to pick a favorite ballet is hard! I would have to say that Romeo and Juliet is one of my favorites, particularly the masquerade scene because the music by Prokofiev is so powerful and I also like seeing how each choreographer stages that scene.
When did you first realize that you wanted to be a professional ballet dancer?
I knew I wanted to become a professional ballet dancer when I realized it held true to the saying of “do what you love”. I think a lot of people get stuck in mundane jobs because they think they can’t do what they love in a professional manner but with ballet you can!
What is the most challenging ballet you have performed?
I wouldn’t say there was a challenging ballet but definitely challenging roles! For me I feel like I dance better in character roles like Kitri, Lucy in Dracula, roles that require a little more “power” so to speak. So when I was chosen to be the Sugar Plum Fairy this year I really had to dive into my softer side and really just let go in order to dance it well!
What is your dream role?
My dream role is Kitri because of the fire and character that I mentioned above! I also recently realized that I would love to dance Arabian in The Nutcracker, it’s the only role I’ve never done from it!
What other dance styles do you love and why?
Another dance style that I love is contemporary because it infuses the technique of ballet but allows for experimentation in body movement!
Photo by Pnk Afterglow Photography
Do you have favorite choreographer(s) you’ve worked with?
Every choreographer that I’ve worked with has had something different to offer in terms of how they give corrections and the way they work. They’ve all helped me become not only a better dancer and teacher but also choreographer.
What is your fondest memory of your career so far?
My fondest memory of my career so far has been performing Pas de Quatre last February with Brandon Ballet! It was a challenging role because of the softness that needed to be portrayed but I did it and learned a lot about myself in the process. Sometimes we are so used to doing certain roles that we start believing we can’t do anything else but this definitely proved otherwise.
Photo by Richard Curry
What is a typical day like for you?
A typical day for me starts out with waking up around 9am (perks of being a dancer, you can sleep in!), I make myself breakfast which usually consists of coffee with 3 scrambled eggs and some hash browns. I catch up on any work or tv shows I might be watching, my favorite is The Walking Dead! I shower and get ready for dance and head over to the studio for class at 12 followed by rehearsals until 3:30.
After, I go teach ballet and pointe at a studio just down the road, I’m usually there for about 2 hours. When it’s close to production time we have rehearsals at night as well so after teaching I go back to the studio and rehearse until sometimes 9pm Finally I get to go home, make dinner and relax to some Netflix and repeat it all over again the next day!
Do you have any tips/advice for aspiring ballerinas?
My tip would be to never lose hope. There are a lot of dancers and a lot of companies out there, just because one or a few don’t work out doesn’t mean it’s the end! There will always be someone out there that will give you a chance.
You also have to do it for the love of the art, of course you can have goals about what roles or companies you want to dance with but that can’t be the only reasoning because you will drive yourself crazy that way!
You are also a graphic designer. How do you balance both careers ?
Right now I do freelance graphic design which allows me to work on my own schedule so when I have any free time where I’m not teaching or in rehearsals, I work on any graphic design projects I might have going on during that time.
Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself that you would like to share?
Yes! Not only do I love ballet and graphic design but I also love Dachshunds and succulent plants! No pup yet but I do have 51 succulents/plants.