When Lacey Romero takes the stage, she feels like nothing else matters.
Minutes before she was set to dance during an Española Moving Arts production on May 5, her mother Charlene Romero said Lacey was confident going into the performance.
It was one of the earlier performances during Fecundity: A Creative Awakening Springtime Festival on May 5 at Española Moving Arts in Ohkay Owingeh.
She performed with other students, flamenco guitarist Jose Valle “Chuscales” and her dance teacher, Mina Fajardo.
While the 10-year-old Romero was one of the smaller dancers on stage, her presence easily matched everyone else.
“She’s come far,” Charlene Romero said of her daughter. “She knows what she’s doing.”
Lacey Romero first got interested in dancing when, around age four, she saw dance tutorials on television in her room.
“So I closed my door and started to imitate them, and I started to like it,” Romero said.
At that time, Charlene Romero said, Lacey Romero was very introverted.
“I started noticing at three or four years old, she had a lot of self-esteem issues going into kindergarten,” Charlene Romero said. “She never really fit in, or that’s what she thought. And as she got older, got into higher grades, the bullying and stuff obviously progressed.”
Lacey Romero said back then, she had a hard time with other children at school.
“I just felt a little broken sometimes,” she said. “So now, when I found dance, things have gotten way better. I’m more happy.”
And now as a fourth grader, when things aren’t going well, Romero said she has a better place to go.
“It helps to take my mind off that stuff, because I get to do what I love,” she said.
Charlene Romero said her daughter is a totally different person on stage.
“She found a platform she can finally stand on. She’s had to learn how to overcome and be independent,” Charlene Romero said. “I’ve come to realize bullying isn’t just in school, bullying is everywhere.”
The preparation for the May 5 show consisted of about eight hours of practice each week from January to May, Charlene Romero said. The practice was often with Romero’s teacher, Mina Fajardo.
Most of those rehearsals were done in four-hour sessions on weekends, Charlene Romero said.
Roger Montoya, co-founder of Moving Arts Española, said before the performance that Lacey had advanced very quickly in her time at Moving Arts.
In the spring of 2018, Lacey Romero joined the Santa Fe-based Flamenco group Compañia Chuscales y Mina Fajardo. She is one of more than six student solo dancers who performed at the Flamenco Fiesta 2019 at Teatro Paraguas in Santa Fe.
Charlene Romero said Lacey’s work with Moving Arts, compared to her work with the Compañia, is a “whole different ballgame.”
Before joining, Romero had seen the group perform with Fajardo.
“One day I decided to ask my teacher when I can do it, and she told me that I could do it because I’m one of her best students,” Lacey Romero said. “So one day, I ended up taking a class with them, and it was good.”
Before getting interested in dance, Lacey Romero mainly wanted to be a teacher. Now, she thinks she could combine her interests.
“Being a dance teacher seems perfect,” she said. “Because when I grow older, I can still do what I love in the form of what I’ve always wanted to do, which is teaching kids. So I could dance all I want, and teach kids.”