As a child, Sparrow Valdettaro emulated the image of the dancer, as she always dreamed of achieving the status of a diva, focused in the spotlight of her audience. Her kitchen was her own private childhood stage, where the backdrop of life became the world she fantasized.
Her mom says she had lots of energy and a love of learning that made it hard to keep her busy. In elementary school, she was involved in every musical school and dance production they offered. At age of twelve Sparrow wanted to be a vegetarian and did a lot of research on how to stay healthy without eating animal protein. She has also practices Kenpo karate until thirteen years old when her life changed.
Sparrow moved schools and stopped wanting to stand out in any way. She was inhibited about showing herself as smart or too capable and hoped to just blend in with the crowd. It wasn’t until the last year of high school into the beginning of college that a love and passion for dance was rediscovered.
It was while a student at UC Santa Barbara in Cultural Anthropology and also Natural Healing that she joined Mariano Silva’s Afro-Brazilian class and became exposed to the rhythms and culture of Brazil. No matter what the school assignment the next day, she made sure to dance and reconnect with an inner joy from her new discovery of another aspect of the Brazilian culture. After college, she returned to her hometown Pasadena and began taking samba classes with Jonia McClenney who has since become a mentor and friend. Sparrow now is a professional dancer with Raiz Brazil Dance Company under Jonia’s artistic direction and a massage therapist for Dr. Adamson, a chiropractor in Monrovia, California.
When we asked her what is “happiness”, she mention her Auntie Inez quote “Do who you are” and complements saying “Dancing, fitness, singing and self-expression are personal to me. I do these activities because it is who I am. Humans were not meant to do the same thing day-in and day-out; we are adaptable and curious multi-faceted and multi-talented creatures. The best advice I have is to follow your bliss fearlessly and never allow yourself to be boxed-in!!”
Sparrow continues to take classes in samba, hip-hop, salsa, modern, jazz and ballet; while keeping the flexibility from gymnastics to increase enhance her skill set as a dancer. “Exercises, especially dance, enhance all the good and reduce all the bad in life. It aids self-expression and is a wonderful outlet for energy” said Sparrow. In time of stress, when she feels stressed or frustrated she dances it away. It is also a way to connect with other people and a way of giving and receiving inspiration and encouragement. For better focus, she practices yoga and Pilates for the last 8 years. “It is very helpful to connect your mind-body-spirit and also help prevent injuries’ she said.
As for her upcoming plans, she hopes to include love of dance with love of travel and performing in various summer or world tours. In her planning is also a marriage to building a new family and continuing to pursue the healing arts, focusing on women’s health. She would love to teach and write about her adventures, but without doubt, will always continue to DANCE!!
*Special thanks to photographer Caca Santoro – www.cacasantoro.com