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You’ve studied many types of dance – rom contemporary to Hip Hop – at the famous Millennium Dance Complex in Hollywood. How do you look back at this time? Why did Bachata stand out for you? Do your versatility and technique come from your broad dancing background?
I look back and I am very thankful that I took classes in these genres, it helped me expand my vision to another level that I never even imagined. Bachata stood out for me for many reasons. First of all, IT JUST FELT GOOD! Second, the guitar is my favorite instrument and being that Bachata is guitar based, it just clicked. Third, I can relate to the lyrics of many Bachata songs. Yes my versatility has been influenced from the classes I took at Millennium from Contemporary, Jazz and Hip Hop.
When did your love for dance start? Was it something you were born with or something you came across later in your life? How did you learn your first moves?
My love for dance has always been in my blood. I was that little kid dancing with all the adults at my family parties haha. I learned my first moves in Junior High and High School through friends who would teach me Hip Hop and R&B, they would teach me in the streets. I also began taking Salsa lessons every so often since age 14.
I’m very curious to how you come up with your Bachata figures. Is it mostly you or did you create the moves together with your dance partner(s)? Where do you get your inspiration from?
Well that’s a great question! I believe it’s team work always. For many years I have practiced to be creative in the moment and improvise, even when teaching I always create in the very moment of each and every class. Therefore, by teaching in the moment, not only do I practice my creativity, but what I am teaching will be 100% social dance material. I get my inspiration from the heart. When you are inspired from the heart, you get excited and are able to do more and be efficient doing it, while enjoying it.
You are founder of dance school Que Rico Dance Company in L.A. that teaches Bachata classes, workshops and has several Bachata teams! Please tell us something about your way of teaching. What does Que Rico mean? Do you have a favorite class to teach?
The meaning of the words ‘Que Rico’ depend on the context. For example when you have a great meal, you say ‘Que rico’, but also when a beautiful woman walks by. Que Rico has seven teams and we have six leaders and instructors within our team/family. They are Demetrio, Valerie, Ruben, Isaac and Silva. Together, we run the teams and classes and when you have multiple leaders, things are done much more properly and efficient. Que Rico is not only a dance school, we focus just as much on personal development in helping each other grow as a person and apply everything learned inside the studio to everyday life outside the studio. I love to teach partnering classes the most in both Urban and Dominican Styles.
I’ve noticed you and your dance partners dance very differently when you give workshops than when you do competitions. This is not surprisingly off course, but what style do you prefer?
I love both because I get a completely different feel from each style and they have their own purpose. I love sharing an intimate social dance with someone and creating that connection. And when I’m performing, I love to give people inspiration, chills and an unforgettable moment they can tell their friends and loved ones about.
What do you do when you aren’t dancing? How do you spend your free time?
I work out Monday-Friday, play basketball a few days a week in an organized league. I also like watching movies, reading and most importantly family and friends!
What is according to you the right way to ask a woman to dance? Do you appreciate it when women ask you (or men in general) to dance or do you prefer asking yourself? What makes you ask a certain girl when you’re at a party with mostly strangers?
There is no “right way”, I believe anyone can ask anyone to dance, more importantly that you are present physically and mentallywhen dancing with someone so that you both may enjoy the most of each dance. I like to make the most out of every 3 minutes shared with another individual and always make it different. I personally like to ask the ladies who are not dancing often to dance with me so everyone in the venue has fun!
What is the weirdest thing that you have ever expierenced on the dance floor?
One time we were on a Bachata & Salsa boat cruise and the boat was rocking side to side and we performed and social danced through the circumstance, it was quite the experience.
Many dancers in the Netherlands have followed several Salsa courses, but feel that there’s no need to take Bachata lessons or workshops, since ‘everyone can dance Bachata’. How is your opinion on this statement?
Sure, that makes sense depending on what you consider “Dancing” is. If dancing to you is just going on the dance floor, dancing off beat, having fun and doing whatever you want, then sure, anyone can dance Salsa, Bachata or any other genre for that matter. On the other hand, if you are judging based on a specific rhythm, a certain body movement related to the style, creativity, then that’s a different story. I personally leave the technique, rhythm and specific details to the performing stage and the fun and creativity to the social dance aspect of the dance. Also the reason many feel not a need to take Bachata courses in the Netherlands could be to the fact that no one is making it interesting and or have not created a course to grab their attention. Bring me to the Netherlands, and we can change this! haha.
I personally find that good Bachata moves and dancing with confidence can turn an average looking man into a very attractive one. Do you think dancing is a good way for people to become more social, less shy and more comfortable around the other sex?
Being an attractive dancer can for sure help your looks and change how people view you off the dance floor. Yes I agree that it can help. To embrace the body connection and to be watched is not something just anyone can do. And when they do, it expands their comfort zone and it is carried over to their personal lives.
Can you share some of your favorite Bachata songs with us? Or maybe a favorite artist?
Some of my favorite artist include: Anthony Santos, Joan Soriano, Migz and Eto just to name a few.
Over the years, you’ve danced with different partners. Do you currently have one dance partner or do you work with different partners?
I currently have a few dance partners. I like to share the stage with different partners, it’s always a beautiful different experience.
I find it hard to believe that your relationships with your dance partners are purely platonic. Is it difficult to keep work and private life separated when you have a profession in which you spend so much (intimate) time with another person?
Yes, this is something that every partnership deals with. For me personally, there has to be a desire and an attraction (on a professional level) to an extent where you feel motivated and inclined to working with this person. It also makes it easier when doing a sensual/sexy/connected choreography. I personally haven’t had an issue as far as keeping things separate because I learned that before I got into dancing. I have always worked in sales and business and so I have learned from seing others make the mistakes that I can learn from with out making them myself.
Are there any other Bachateros or Bachateras you admire and why?
I admire Island Touch, Ataca and La Alemana because of there energy, creativity and passion. They are great instructors and performers, not to mention their personality is awesome. Together with El Tiguere they have opened the door for many Bachateros around the world including myself.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us and the visitors of Bachata.NL?
Yes, thank you Bachata.NL for this interview. I really appreciate it and I feel blessed to have been selected. I love sharing my life story and dance experience with others. Please check me out for more information at www.QueRicoDance.com or JorgeBachata@gmail.com.