Alumnus Returns with Electrifying Dance Performance
Erik Kersting

The University of Wisconsin- Stevens Point is host to many great alumni, among them Martin Ortiz Tapia. Ortiz Tapia, a former triple major in Dance, Spanish, and Music during his tenure at Stevens Point, returned to his college town on Feb. 27 and performed as a dancer at Sentry Insurance with Giordano Dance Chicago, a renowned dance company.

Ortiz Tapia has excelled professionally in the dance world, even going so far as to be called the “Swiss Army Knife of Chicago Dancers” by Dance Magazine. He is described in nearly every article about him as an extremely hard worker. In a field where hard work is part of the territory, this is a great compliment.

“I have been always a very determinated person where persistence plays a very important part in my life. I guess I get that from my family,” Ortiz Tapia said.

Ortiz Tapia, who moved to Wisconsin with his family when he was 14 years old, had a long way to go in order to get where he is. Unlike many dancers, he did not even start dancing until college, where he picked it up naturally through UWSP’s dance program.

“This is where I started dancing! The faculty has always been wonderful,” Ortiza Tapia said.

His schooling here helped give him the tools to succeed, and he recognizes this, saying “...I’m dancing in an amazing Dance Company thanks to [UWSP’s] schooling.”

Ortiz Tapia is a family man at heart and is incredibly thankful to his own for all the help they had given him.

“They always have been there for me, and I consider myself a very lucky guy with a family that is everything to me,” Ortiz Tapia said.

His biological family isn’t the only one that is important to him. His dance company is a family as well.

“The company is just a beautiful family of dancers,” Ortiz Tapia said. “I am so proud to be part of this family.”

Ortiz Tapia isn’t just a great professional dancer. He is also a great dance teacher to underprivileged youth in Chicago through Giordano Dance Chicago.

“I teach first, second and seventh grade science and health with dance education. I truly enjoy this part of my job as well because I know how valuable education really is,” Ortiz Tapia said. “Dance is not only a beautiful art. It can also be described as exercise, therapy and definitely a way of life because it helps you build great discipline with hard working skills that most definitely can be used towards a healthier and happier life.”

Elizabeth Smith, a music major at UWSP, enjoys seeing the success Ortiz Tapia has gotten in his field of study.

“It reminds me why I’m here at this great school and why I do what I do,” Smith said. “Getting the chance to see what can be achieved is encouraging and inspiring.”

Ortiz Tapia is surely an inspiration for all aspiring artists at UWSP and an encouragement to keep doing what they love.