He Is One Of Broadway’s Best Choreographers And His Story Of Being Undocumented To Chase His Dream Is Inspiring
Colombian dancer and choreographer Sergio Trujillo has lived a life, and it’s getting more colorful. The artist won his first Tony award last weekend and took his stage moment to thank his cast, his husband, and to come out as a formerly undocumented immigrant.
This isn’t just a story about an immigrant who has made spectacular contributions to American culture and art. Trujillo wants other dreamers to know that, despite the political climate, they should keep fighting for their dreams. Anything’s possible.
Trujillo first dedicated his award “to my Colombian family who had taught me to love music and dance since I was a little boy.”
As Trujillo stepped up to the mic to make his acceptance speech, he literally jumped up and down on the stage. “I’m so lucky,” he began. “There are so many people I love in my life.” He specifically thanked his mother and siblings in Spanish and continued his speech in English.
“I arrived in New York City over 30 years ago as an illegal immigrant.”
“I didn’t just show up yesterday,” he announced. “I arrived in NYC over 30 years ago as an illegal immigrant.” Trujillo later told AP News that his announcement felt like he was coming out as a gay man all over again.
Only his husband, family, and close friends knew about his immigration story.
He opened up about the internalized shame he still carries from living in the U.S. without papers. “One keeps it so deep inside, it’s like a secret that one must maintain. So when I talk about it I still feel guilty, like I’m doing something wrong,” he told AP.
Trujillo felt called to use his platform to send a message of hope to the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S.
“I stand here as proof,” he said to an audience giving him a standing ovation. “For all those dreamers, I want you to hear this. The American dream is still alive. You just have to keep on fighting because change will come.”
Trujillo quickly code-switched and concluded with a rallying call in Spanish.
“For all those who are listening, I want you to know that if I, Sergio Trujillo, born in Cali, Colombia, can win this moment, so can you. You can do it.”
Trujillo’s family moved from Cali, Colombia to Canada when he was 12 years old.
They lived there illegally for a few years until they were granted amnesty. He then crossed the Canadian border with his Colombian passport and stayed illegally for ten more years until he was granted citizenship.
He studied biochemistry at the University of Toronto until he quit to try his luck on Broadway.
He lived at friends’ houses, took dance classes and auditioned. Once he started being hired to perform in Broadway shows, he was able to get temporary visas.
Trujillo’s hard work has certainly paid off.
While he hasn’t publicly spoken about this very long chapter of his life–one which necessitated his success–he told AP that “now, more than ever, is the perfect time to talk about that.” Trujillo doesn’t anticipate dancing at the White House anytime soon.
In 2014, four Broadway shows, all choreographed by him, were playing at the same time.
Trujillo first started out as a dancer on Broadway and worked up to become a choreographer. He’s also won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Theatre Choreographer for Memphis in 2015.
His first Tony is for Best Choreography for Ain’t Too Proud.
The Broadway musical is based on the lives of The Temptations. As the Chicago White Sox owner is seeking to commemorate the organized burning of disco and soul music created by Black and Latinx artists, this commemoration of The Temptations is more important than ever.
His first Tony nomination was for his work on On Your Feet!–the Broadway depiction of the lives of the Estefans.
In an Instagram post, the infamous Gloria Estefan congratulated Trujillo, “CONGRATULATIONS to the wonderful @sergiotrujillo1 who was nominated previously for our musical, @onyourfeetbway and last night won the 2019 Tony Award for Best Choreography for @AintTooProud. #TonyAwards This is SO well deserved and it’s about time, baby!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️”
His name has also graced the Broadway production of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.
His work on that production earned him a 2018 Chita Rivera Awards for Dance and Choreography. The entire cast was all-female.
Trujillo has been with his husband, Jack Noseworthy, for 30 years.
The two met in 1990 and married in 2011. Just last year, they welcomed a beautiful baby boy into their family.
We stan this family photo.
“My world all in one beautiful picture!!!!,” Trujillo’s caption reads. We assume that the woman is his beautiful mother. We’re mami’s boys and girls all our lives.
Apparently, if Trujillo was trapped on a desert island forever, he’d want to be with Jeremy Pope.
He played Eddie Kendricks in Ain’t Too Proud, so the two have worked together. Don’t worry. We have footage of Trujillo’s husband’s reaction.
Noseworthy’s face when hearing Turjillo’s answer:
Trujillo digs the hole deeper when he says that Pope is just so talented that he’d be able to do anything. He’s also a good cook.
Honey, you in trouble.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has named him one of the Top 100 Colombians in the world.
His work cannot be denied, and, truthfully, neither can his love for marido, Jack. Happy Pride.
Congrats on your Tony and a much-appreciated coming out, Trujillo!
This time, for coming out as a once undocumented immigrant. Your story is an inspiration.