Through Their Eyes: Dancer Crystal La-Caille
The interview series “Through Their Eyes” features various artists at the 2017 Folklife Festival. Whether they express their truths through spoken word or acrobatics, these artists share a part of themselves in every performance.
Crystal La-Caille found herself drawn to the colors and cultures of UniverSoul Circus. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, she loves the element of danger in her limbo dance act—the pole and other props are on fire.
“I mean, it’s not very often you see someone bending under fire,” Crystal says. “I like the fact that I get to meet people up close and be really close to other people and the kids. I high-five them. I get up and dance with them. It’s just a blessing, to actually see the surprise on their face when the limbo dancers go under the fire. They’re like, ‘wow, it’s really, really breathtaking!’”
In the circus, Crystal explains that one of the best experiences has been meeting “different cultures from the soul,” whether it’s through food, language, or dance. While traveling the United States in the comfort of her circus family, Crystal adds that she can uncover home in other cities.
“My favorite city to go to was New York—because New York felt like home. I’d be walking down the streets, and I’ll meet someone from Trinidad. I’d be like, ‘hey, you up here, ya know?’ It really feels like home.”
Carnival is a popular celebration in Trinidad, and Crystal loves that UniverSoul brings this tradition to an international audience.
“When the audience leaves, I want them to think, ‘I just went to Trinidad. I’ve never been there, but I felt like I was there. I don’t care what anybody said. I went to Trinidad because I just went to UniverSoul Circus and I just saw Trinidad and Tobago perform.’”
Laura Zhang is studying neuroscience and Plan II Honors at The University of Texas at Austin. She is an intern at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and exudes a passion for social justice, stories, and dogs of all kinds.