Paloma Limas started dancing before she was born.
“My mom told me that whenever the music came on, [as a little girl] I was dancing around the house. Even when I was a fetus in her stomach, I was always kicking or doing something,” she laughs.
By age 2 1⁄2, Limas was taking classes in dance, eventually covering ballet, jazz, tap, flamenco, folklorico and lyrical.
Dancing her way into acting
“I’ve always liked jazz and hip-hop more, [but] it didn’t hit me until middle school how much ballet helps you,” says the resident of McAllen, Texas. “Because of ballet, I became more focused and determined, and I calmed down a lot. When I was little, I was really hyper. Ballet helps you with your discipline.”
Limas has appeared alongside professional dancers from the Orlando, Fla., and Houston ballets. She danced with the Moscow Ballet in “The Nutcracker” and performed with Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet during a summer workshop production.
At age 12, she started acting. Limas has been in independent films, local TV commercials and many local stage productions. Her modeling work includes David’s Bridal, Charlotte Russe and Macy’s ads.
At McAllen High School, the SkillsUSA member competed in Job Skill Demonstration Open. She described modeling in her first competition. The following year, demonstrating ballet’s arm and foot positions, she made it to nationals.
Limas says the competition experience improved her verbal skills and led to a job at Missy’s Modeling Studio in McAllen, where she teaches models and helps coordinate fashion shows. “I’m her assistant, and I’m also her choreographer. I need to speak with her clients, and if I didn’t have those skills, it wouldn’t help. With SkillsUSA, I learned how to present myself better.”
Limas also rents an aerobics room in one of the local gyms to teach dancing. “I’m teaching jazz and hip-hop, because that’s the main attraction for every teenager and every child,” she says. “Once I get more students, I’ll start adding ballet and tap and everything else.”
Limas is also doing some contract work at a local middle school, preparing the dance squad for competition. When her first group competed in January, they placed first. And there’s more, she says.
“I also teach basic jazz, hip-hop and ballet to economically disadvantaged children at my church. They only pay $5 a month to help cover the use of the electricity. I meet with them once a week, and the classes have really been growing.” In January, she was hired by Explosion Dance and Fitness Center to teach a variety of classes.
After taking dance for years, Limas says she knows a thing or two about how to treat students. And, like many teachers, she becomes energized when a student finally gets the steps right.
“I’m physically and mentally prepared for [owning my own dance studio] with the help of my parents and my family, of course, and their support. Oh, I love them to death. I stand really blessed with them. They’ve helped me with everything.”
Now a full-time student at the University of Texas at Pan American, Limas is double majoring in business accounting and media television/film production with a minor in dance. — by Ann P. Schreiber
Watch Limas dance at: http://tinyurl.com/palomalimas
View her modeling work at: http://tinyurl.com/palomalimas2