You’re very famous for your Lady Styling classes. Do you feel your role as a female bachata teacher sometimes blurs with the one of a role model?
I didn’t realise this until my first Lady Styling group. When I started teaching at Bar Salsa, I noticed I was getting followers; people who like your job and what you have to offer.
When I started with the Ladies Touch’s first Lady Styling, I had 10 different girls – all completely different, different nationalities, different ages, different personalities, different problems. I’m there thinking this is not just a dance group, this is something else. I realised the potential I had as a female dance teacher. You have to be not just a teacher but something else too. You need to suggest something, give a certain image. You need to teach confidence and a sort of feminine empowerment, for example.
They see you as an idol, so I need to lead. My idea has always been to have a dance group made up of all girls, with my choreography, empowering them as women through dance. That’s the next project for me. Women are awesome, we have to realize that!
Where do you draw inspiration from for your own styling?
My styling represents everything I studied throughout my life. I take my inspiration from the different dance forms I learnt, different people, different music styles.
Your personality is styling
I always vary my styling. Every kind of dance form is in evolution. Every time I teach something I need to see others dancing it to get inspiration, and I like to experiment with other types of dance. I studied contemporary and I learnt how to express my body, how to communicate a feeling with my body. I apply this when I dance salsa or bachata.
I’m bringing things I’ve learnt from ballet and contemporary into the salsa and bachata worlds. I give a lot through what I’ve learnt, but I have to get something back in order to keep giving. So, I keep learning. I take classes, actually I love more learning than teaching. I learn new things and keep developing my style.
To be sure, styling comes with practice, and with confidence. You need to be confident not only with dancing, but also with your persona. Your personality is styling.
Who are your ‘idols’ in the dance world? Who do you look up to?
First and foremost – Lina Chiriatti, my dance teacher in Italy who taught me contemporary dancing and ballet. She is my mentor and my first idol. I studied with her ten years. She was training me every day.
always be yourself when you dance, without “showing off”
In the salsa world, Kirenia Cantin Diaz & Maykel Fonts, who were partners in Cuban Salsa. In bachata, Ataca y La Alemana of course, also Korke y Judith, to name just a very few. There are too many!
I’d also like to underline the influence ballet can have on someone’s dance journey, and personal journey. It gives you so much method and discipline. Ballet is like a method it’s not just about dance. It’s about life, it’s about how to plan your life, how to deal with things methodologically, I recommend everyone to do a ballet course of three or four months.
What part of teaching you like the most? The least?
What I like the most about teaching is when I can see my passion through people. When I can follow their progress and see the results after hard work, that is really a great feeling. What I don’t like though is that in this environment there is too much competition, like any other business I guess. Also, people forget that this is not our hobby, it is our work and we put 100% into what we do. It is a whole process centered around the students and what they want, and what they need.
Bachata means you can get very close to a woman, so try not to confuse dancing with approaching a girl
I like teaching, but I also love being a student. I miss studying. When you teach, you take another perspective, you have to explain the moves. But when you are a student, you can concentrate on how you want to get the move; I see the move but then I want to work on it, to see how I want to make it mine. That’s why I like to discover different kinds of dance and not just bachata. Bachata is a full-time job and I really like it, but I love dancing so many different other types as well.
What advice do you have for women wanting to dance bachata? For men?
Ladies – I recommend to always be yourself when you dance, without “showing off” so-to-speak, because you can end up doing too much and it won’t necessarily look nice. Don’t do too much. Try to simplify, keep the move clear and simple so that it looks nice, without too many extras that will end up making it ugly. Feel the moves, be simple in your own way, and represent yourself.
Men – Don’t rush. As leaders, men need more time to learn so the focus for them is to be patient and to be constant in their learning. Then they will see the results. Bachata means you can get very close to a woman, so try not to confuse dancing with approaching a girl, always respect the girl you are dancing with. A man has to be a gentleman, respectful. Even if the dance is close, there is always respect.
What else do you like doing, apart from dancing?
I’m a gym and fitness freak! I run almost every day for example. I also love some nice, spa time. I like reading, watching movies, going to the cinema, travelling. I love cooking, and be creative with my dishes! And, I always like to try new things! I also love pizza!