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“Not only are we co-captains, but we’re also best friends,” Angélica del Mar González Laró begins. She refers to Keynalee Valentín, the other captain of the UPRM Dance Team. Talk about girl power!

This semester started with auditions for the Dance Team. Everyone had to go through this process and afterwards, Jesús Acevedo, the coach of the team, met individually with each of the dancers that were accepted, including the old members. When he met with “Kuki” and “Keyna,” as they’re better known in the team, he invited them to be the captains of the team for this upcoming year. Keyna recalled how she was always aware of the responsibility she was about to add onto her student life, but was also aware of its value. “It is amazing to be able to have an influence and help the growth of something so important in your life.” Similarly, Angélica feels “really grateful to be a part of this huge responsibility and excited for what’s to come.”

Both girls have been part of the team for quite some time. Keynalee’s on her third year on the team and Angélica has been part of the team since January 2015. Amidst smiles, she mentions that she’s the oldest member of the team right now.

The three words Angélica uses to describe herself are: Versatile, Curious, and Passionate.

The three words Keynalee uses to describe herself are: Responsible, good listener and helpful.

For both women, the experiences they’ve gained from the team have been wonderful. A woman of few words, Angélica describes how “it has been a great way to keep on dancing while studying something completely different to dance: Chemical Engineering.” Keynalee added a more inspirational perspective: “As in everything worth fighting for in life, we’ve had our ups and downs, but every time we’ve become much stronger. Those experiences, such as Hurricane María, have molded us not only as individuals and a team, but as a family. You could tell these are the stories you’ll be telling for years to come.”

The co-captains at last year’s “Letra Insignia” event for athletes, along with another member of the Dance Team, Andrea Mercado.

Going back to their roots, for Keynalee it all began in Long Island when she was two and a half years old as she walked into a ballet class for the first time. When she came to Puerto Rico, she started her adventure through different dance styles with belly dancing, as she accompanied her mom to her classes. Angélica was welcomed into the dance world when she was four years old.

Fast-forward a few years and they realized dance was meant to be theirs; they were born to be dancers. Angélica always reminisces on going to all those classes with a smile because she remembers always feeling happy. For Keyna, this discovery narrows down to one event. She was part of a group that performed at a community service activity for children with Down Syndrome. “From there on, I noticed how talents could be used to brighten not only my own, but other people’s day.”

However, Dance has also helped them as people. Keyna explains: “Once my shyness began to fade, I began to see how dancing could relieve stress and help me gain control. It’s a way of expressing emotions in a physical way. A unique art that inspires you to become something else altogether. You become the canvas.” Meanwhile, Angélica explains: “A younger me would say it means everything. Now, I would say it’s a big part of who I am. I owe who I am in life to dance and art in general.”

Coming back to their current adventures as co-captains of the UPRM Dance Team, Angélica quotes how Acevedo, their coach, told them this was a new beginning, “It’s a resurgence. It’s a new beginning; most of the teammates are freshmen and they have a lot of good energy and optimism. I’m really excited on how much we are going to work for the betterment of the team.” With equal excitement, Keynalee explains how she has “always been confident in creating amazing experiences with those in the team and this year is no exception. I am proud of our potential and know that we will work hard to bring the name of our University high.”  


Furthermore, this semester is already on high-power for the team. They’re going to have a lot of sales, including t-shirt and food sales to gather funds for their yearly competition trip to UDA Nationals in Orlando, Florida in January. They’ll also host events such as “Conoce a tu Dance Team” which will take place on November 6th, 2018. Another event they will host is “La Voz RUM,” for which they will be having an orientation meeting on September 24th, and the competition will take place on October 9th at the Figueroa Chapel Amphitheatre.

You can follow up on the Team’s updates on their Facebook and Instagram.


Author of "Partida en Dos," a self-published poetry book, and also published writer featured in magazines such as Sábanas, El Vicio del Tintero, Emily, and the Anthology of the Revolutionary Alliance. Bachelor student of English Literature and minors in Comparative Literature and Teacher Preparation. Born and raised in the West of Puerto Rico, artist, dancer, tree-hugger and animal rights activist. 
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