The Gonzalez family stumbled on everybody dance! in its earliest years after mom Lilian Gonzalez overheard fellow school parents praising the program. Today, Anthony Gonzalez, 13, has a blossoming film career thanks to the blockbuster success of the Disney Pixar film Coco – Anthony is the voice of Miguel, the film’s hero.
Anthony’s sisters, Lilian and Katherine, grew up at everybody dance!, starting with pre-ballet at age four and matriculating when they graduated high school at age 18, while all three boys, Anthony, Alex, 9, and Albert, 15, attended Gabriella Charter School for many years.
“Everybody dance! was for me the greatest place ever and the kids were so happy” says Mom Lilian. “And the academic program at GCS is amazing and it is so wonderful that they have dance. When Anthony went to the auditions, they would say ‘Gabriella Charter must be a great school because your academic level is so high.’ It was a wonderful experience.” “It’s cool that we had an hour of dance every day, I learned a lot,” says Anthony.
Anthony’s sister, Lilian, was the star of the everybody dance! annual recital “Gabri’s Gift.” Lilian is now a dance major at UC Santa Barbara, while her younger sister, Katherine, is a Chapman College freshman. Both young women are the first in their family to attend college. For this first-generation immigrant family from Guatemala, the twin experiences of the dance program and charter school were transformative: “For us as immigrants in the U.S. we want to support the kids” says Mom Lilian, “but our salaries are not enough to afford arts classes even though our kids love the arts. These programs are a dream come true.”