Meet Yanira Marin ‘01 – a professional dancer, actress, Broadway singer, and producer who is currently living in New Jersey. Read on to learn more about her career, how her dance teacher made a positive impact on her, some of her favorite Gulliver memories, and more.
Q: What are you up to these days?
A: I currently live in New Jersey and spent the last year or so auditioning for TV. COVID really changed the way we auditioned; you used to just show up, perform, and wait to hear back. Having to audition virtually actually made me learn new skills like video editing because you had to tape, edit, do all the behind scenes work to make your audition stand out. Though the time at home was hard for me as a performer, it did allow for spending more time with my family, which I really enjoyed.
Q: What are some of your professional highlights so far?
A: After graduating from college I moved back to Miami and stopped dancing, and I really began to miss performing. One day my friend from Gulliver, Jackie Antun ‘02, sent me a message about auditioning for the Beyoncé World Tour. I asked my agent about it and she was really discouraging me from doing it, but my mom was so enthusiastic and took me to Chicago to audition, and I booked the job! While on the tour I met my wife and reignited my passion for performing. Following the tour, I moved back to New York to follow my childhood dream and booked my first Broadway show, West Side Story, as Anita!
Q: What experiences did you have as a student at Gulliver that impacted your professional journey?
A: Dance team was an incredible experience. I actually joined as a sophomore and never really thought my passion for dance would also lead me to develop leadership skills. As captain, I discovered I had this great opportunity to inspire other dancers. My role pushed me to keep the team united and focused on ways to collaborate, which nowadays is something I really enjoy and do well. These skills are so valuable to the work I’m doing now.
Q: Do you stay connected with other dancers from Gulliver?
A: Yes, I’ll always be connected with Jackie Antuan ‘02 and her beautiful family. I saw Natalie Caruncho ‘04 often by taking her yoga class, and I stay in touch with Arriana Marion ‘01.
Q: Are there any Gulliver teachers or coaches that you credit as having been a positive influence on you?
A: Ms. Gerri [Barreras] is a very special person in my life. She has this consistent energy, positivity, and strength that guided me in high school and even now in my professional life. She is always so supportive, encouraging, and loving. She created a safe space on campus and it made me want to live in the dance room!
Q: What is one of your favorite memories from your time at Gulliver Prep?
A: I’ve always been that person who would rather be early than on time. So in high school, I would get to school way before I needed to be there, and every day I went to the cafeteria and got a bagel with cream cheese and bacon, which now doesn’t seem like such a great option, but it was my go to along with Starbucks fraps. I felt so grown being there so early and catching up with people in the morning. That strange breakfast choice carried over to my days at NYU. I would stop by the deli and get that bagel with cream cheese and bacon and I have college friends to this day that will send me pictures saying “look what I’m having.” So silly!
Q: As a Gulliver Prep alum, what advice would you give to current students?
A: Surround yourself with people who believe in you, encourage you, and don’t let you give up. Don’t take no for an answer if it’s something you really want; even if now is not the right time, go for it and keep trying. Know your worth; if you’ve been brought into a room or creative space, remember you are of value and no one should take that away. If you’re being put down, you have a voice; know you have something to contribute, no matter if you’re just starting out in your career or have 30 years experience. You have a different perspective and you should believe in that.
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