the Month: David Negley
Originally published on SalsaNewYork on 9/01
This Month we interview NY Mambo Instructor David
Negley. David has been part of the NY Mambo scene for several years now.
He and I have had the pleasure to travel, perform and teach together at
different times during our mutual mambo career. He has performed at the first
New York Congreso Mundial de la Salsa and was Addie
Diaz's assistance instructor for almost three years before on going out on
his own (with her blessings). People will always find him smiling and laughing
the night away on the dance floor. Bottom line, David loves to dance and it
shows on his face. This will be his
second exposure in SalsaNewYork (his
instructor listing was the first).
How long have you been dancing mambo and what got you into it?
[Negley, David] About 7 years now. Where did the time
go? It seems like only yesterday that I was wondering struggling
with the basic!
Where did you originally learn how to dance mambo and who was
(were) your mentors?
[Negley, David] I originally started at Sandra Cameron
Dance Studio but I took lessons all over NY because I had a constantly
changing schedule. Then I found a real home at Jimmy
Anton's and eventually wound up at Nelson
Flores. Jimmy and Nelson were big influences.
How long have you been teaching mambo and what made you decide to
[Negley, David] I've been teaching about 3 years.
People kept asking Lillian and I why we didn't teach, so we taught some
workshops. Then Addie Diaz
asked me to assist her and things just kept going from there.
What do you like most about teaching?
[Negley, David] I love to see people learn and make
progress. It's also helped my own dancing because you really have
to break things down and think about them.
Why do you think people come to learn from you?
[Negley, David] I suppose they like the way you dance to
start with. Then, hopefully after they come to your class, they feel
like you are good at conveying what you want them to learn. I
think they can also tell that I really enjoy teaching and that I want
them to learn.
SNY: Are most of
your students men or women? and why is that?
[Negley, David] We have a pretty equal mix. That's really
we're after--it's good when everyone has a partner.
What is the hardest thing you find about teaching?
[Negley, David] Probably to get the students to let go of
their inhibitions and just enjoy the process of learning.
Do you still like to go to clubs and dance socially?
[Negley, David] I still enjoy going out to the clubs and
dancing socially. It's always great to get together with the Mambo
"family", practice new steps and learn from others.
How about performing? Do you still perform and who have you performed
for or with?
[Negley, David] Not currently performing, although we still
do occasional gigs. I have performed with Sandra Cameron's Student
Dancers, Jimmy Anton
Dancers, Nelson Flores
Student Dancers, Curvos Pellogrosas in Washington DC and at the Copa as
well performances with my wife Lillian in Norway, Miami and the NYC
Name your favorite on stage performance?
[Negley, David] My favorite was performing at the Copa in
NYC as a member of Curvos Pellogrosas.
What got you into performing and what was your first time on
[Negley, David] Nelson Flores pushed me to perform at Side
Street about 3 years ago.
SNY: What did you
feel when you first performed live on stage?
[Negley, David] I was scared as hell.
What advice would you give those just getting into mambo? How can they
work at getting better at dancing?
[Negley, David] Practice, practice, practice. Get out
on the floor anywhere you can--including classes and socially.
Don't worry about getting turned down in the beginning. It's part
of the process--just look for someone else who will say yes.
How best could you describe your way of dancing? of teaching?
and of performing?
[Negley, David] I like challenging turns and moves that
look stylish--not rushed, and that follows through in my teaching.
I'd much rather see someone do a simple turn very well rather than a
more complicated turn poorly. I try to make sure everyone has a
good set of basics before I let them move on and we work on the basics
in every class. I like
performances with creativity and a theme--something beyond turn, turn,
turn, shine, shine, shine.
What is the best way for someone interested in learning mambo can get in
contact with you?
[Negley, David] Check our website at www.justmambo.com.
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