Incredibly shy when you first meet him, he completely and confidently transforms into the embodiment of strength and grace before your very eyes. And after you get over being awestruck and you finally ask him why he dances, it all makes sense. As he explains, “ [Dance is] the best form of expression for me. I’m not the best writer, not the best singer, not the best model (laughs). But when I dance, I feel at home.”
In many ways, the reason his movement is so powerful is because he embraces both the masculine and the feminine. “Being that my movement quality is ‘fluid’ and ‘graceful,’ there are times where my masculinity is challenged and I am asked to dance ‘stronger’ (whatever that may mean), or more ‘masculine,’” Gabe reveals. “But I think it’s important that…. people understand that there is not one version of a man and that men are complex and should in fact challenge those social norms.”
Whether he understands it or not, Gabriel is a gladiator. No, he doesn’t don impenetrable armor and he certainly doesn’t fight to the death against beasts, but he does fight against himself and valiantly remains committed to using dance–on and off-stage–to better understands who he is and, most importantly, who he can be. And like so many other fearless movers, he’s often had to do so while feeling alone and forced to figure it out, even when it felt like he was the only one in the world having to do so.
“ When I started dancing, I didn’t have a platform where I could see men be comfortable with being themselves. I think this [this campaign] will be important for young male dancers to see and think, ‘Oh wow, this is something I can do….’ Discovering my own voice and my own story, and finding dance and becoming comfortable with being a male dancer…there was no one that could tell me that it’s going to be okay or that your story deserves to be heard, and you’re not the only one going through this….I hope [this campaign] will inspire a lot of young male dancers to continue to do it or start doing it…. [because] dance changes lives just like it did mine.”