'I am London' campaign features Colombian immigrant who loves to dance
When Alba Cielo Velasquez first came to Canada from Colombia in 2004 she wanted to bring her passion for dance and teaching others to London.
Velasquez who owned a restaurant in Colombia and performed at the venue is now teaching others about their Columbian heritage through dance.
Only a month after arriving in Canada, she started teaching Colombia Folklore dance/Latin dance to a small group of people, and now more than a decade later she is teaching dance to 60 youth, sharing her passion with others.
The dance group she runs is called ‘Ritmo Y Café’ and they perform at festivals across the province.
Velasquez is one of 14 immigrants being featured as part of the “I am London” campaign.
The London and Middlesex Local immigration Partnership’s “I am London” campaign celebrates London’s diversity and showcases successful immigrants who are making a difference in the community.
“It’s very important for me that the kids, Colombian kids, don’t forget their roots because they are Colombian, we are Colombian, they are Colombian. We live in Canada, but we have a traditional things about our country and I try [to make sure] they never forget that,” says Velasquez.
On top of her day job cleaning offices downtown, she teaches six hours per week, and only charges a small fee for her lessons to help cover the fees for the venues where she holds classes.
“It’s my passion. I love the parents, I love the kids,” she says.
Velasquez also makes all the costumes for the performance to save on having to charge parents to have them professionally made.
She says she’s “very excited” to be featured as part of the campaign.
“I felt very, very excited because it’s important that the government and everyone who lives in London know that the immigrants coming here for work…do something for the communities and for Canadians and do something for the industry."
She’s is one of 14 Londoners being featured this year - one of three revealed this month.