By Angela Marston-Halifax, Special to The Sun
When Dakota Granados moved here four years ago with her family,
she was a "little skeptical" about moving into a
small town like Wickenburg. Now she can't imagine living anywhere
"You can drive down the road, and people you don't even
know will wave at you," she noted. "I think it's
such a rare thing nowadays to live in a town that you can
walk down the street and feel totally safe. With every year
that passes, I love living here more and more."
Dakota (now 18) began her acting career at the age of 8 performing
with the comic sword-fighting team of "Don Juan and Miguel"
(Dakota's father Jose Granados as Don Juan and Doug Kondziolka
as Miguel). They travel throughout the U.S. performing at
Renaissance Festivals most of the year.
Dakota's role is that of "Esmeralda," a sword-fighting,
"I have done a little bit of sword fighting in our shows
and it's always been a lot of fun, but I don't think I was
ever meant to have a sword in my hand," she said. "I've
taken lessons with some great teachers, including my father,
but I was never able to pick it up with much skill or grace
. . . both of which are much needed attributes in sword-fighting.
But I have always thought it is such a beautiful skill, and
I might try to learn again in the near future."
Dakota is described as being a "whipmaster,"
"As for what a 'whipmaster' is ... I'm not really sure,"
explained the young actress. "All I know is what my abilities
are and what I am capable of doing. Like being able to cut
a target an eighth of an inch long out of someone's fingers
and rarely ever missing. Or doing more advanced tricks that
people haven't seen before.
"Just being open to learning new things is maybe what
it's more about," she added. "I believe if you think
you're the best at something, then you'll never be able to
get any better. Maybe I'm not a whipmaster right now ... maybe
I'm just a whippersnapper!"
"The Lost Princess" is Dakota's second film, in
which she has the starring role.
The movie was shot at the Scarborough Renaissance Festival
in 2004. There are about 200 cast members involved, plus the
The basic story is this: The Princess Esmeralda is separated
from her father Don Juan, the Prince of Spain and his faithful
sidekick Miguel. While they are sent on their own quest of
epic proportions, Esmeralda single-handedly faces Krankenmal's
secret weapon, "The Fly."
"It's a comedy at heart, but it has a lot of action
and adventure in it as well," Dakota explained. "For
instance, when my character has to fight 'The Fly' (played
by martial arts fighter Thayr Harris), we spent days and days
rehearsing before any film was ever shot. At one point, 'The
Fly' is supposed to throw a knife at me that sticks in the
wall - barely missing my head. I believe that was the only
time during the filming of the entire movie that I was the
least bit nervous about something I had to do.
"Even my dad didn't come to the set that day,"
she continued to explain. "He said he wouldn't be able
to watch knives being thrown take after take at his daughter.
"I had the best time ever making this film! So many
of the people involved in making this movie are like extended
family to me."
The Lost Princess premiered on April 28 in Dallas, Texas.
"The premier of the movie was fantastic," Dakota
said. "Honestly, I was pretty nervous, but all went well
and everyone really enjoyed the movie. It was great to get
together with some of the cast again, and so many of our fans
came out to see the movie and wish us well.
"What's really funny though, is that in all the excitement
of the night, my dad and I completely forgot to eat anything
all evening," Dakota added. "So, when we got back
to the hotel we were so hungry that we got two TV dinners
from the hotel store. But the thing is, there was no silverware
anywhere to be found, and the only thing we did have were
those little plastic coffee stirrers. So there we were, just
back from the glamorous premiere of our first feature film,
sitting in a hotel eating a TV dinner with a straw. We sure
know how to keep ourselves grounded."
Dakota, who had been home-schooled while residing in Wickenburg
due to all the traveling, enjoys knitting, sewing and just
"I'm always knitting all kinds of hats and backpacks
for my friends," she reported. "I'm one of those
people who likes to have something to do. I have always enjoyed
horseback riding. If I didn't live a life where I had to travel
so much, I would definitely have horses." Dakota also
loves watching and collecting DVDs.
"I have always been a big fan of older movies like 'The
Bad Seed' or 'The Wizard of Oz.' I always wish I could go
back in time and film movies in the 1930s or 40s. I think
it would be so much fun."
What's in Dakota's future?
"I would really like to pursue acting in a more mainstream
way," she said."But I feel to be successful in doing
that, I need to take some time and study acting more seriously,"
she added. "I am going to finish the rest of the fairs
we have lined up for this year, and I am also doing the Arizona
Renaissance Festival next February. After that, I think I'm
going to look into some acting schools around the country.
"As far back as I can remember, I have always wanted
to be an actress," she concluded. "Now with all
the work I've done in the past and with 'The Lost Princess'
being so highly accepted, I can almost feel my dream becoming
more of a reality.
"I'm not sure where I'll be, or what I'll be doing in
the future, but for right now I couldn't be any happier with
the direction my career is heading."
"The Lost Princess" is now available on DVD at
Originally posted to the web in News, on Wednesday, May
25, 2005 4:33 PM CDT. http://www.wickenburgsun.com/articles/2005/05/25/news/news02.txt