Originally published on SalsaNewYork on 4/01
month we interview NY Mambo Instructor & Performer Joyce
Blint. Joyce has been around the NY scene for several years. Always
smiling and dancing the night away, one can usually find her at Jimmy
Anton's Bi-monthly Social Dance. She is a very low key and down to
earth instructor and a true joy of a person to know. Like many other of
the mambo instructors I've been fortunate enough to meet she truly cares
about her dancing and the quality of her teaching. This is her first
exposure to the internet mambo scene. I'm happy to be the person to
introduce her to the internet public. - Manny
Joyce Blint Cyber-Interview:
SNY: How long have you
been dancing mambo and what got you into it?
JB: I received a gift from a friend to take one month of group classes at
dance studio. I had no desire to go, I was a racquet ball/rollerblader,
but I went because I liked my friend, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings.
From the very first class, I was hooked. That was, wow, I think 5-6 years
ago (editor's note circa 1995).
SNY: Where did you originally learn how to dance mambo
and who was (were) your mentors?
JB: I learned at Stepping Out Studio with Angel (I can't remember his
last name.) Great teacher. But I kept hearing the buzz on this
teacher, Eddie Torres, Eddie Torres,
Eddie Torres, everywhere. I decided to check out one of his classes.
Angel taught breaking forward on the one, Eddie on
the two. I never looked back. From that first class Eddie
and Maria were my mentors. They
still are. Eddie is a great
SNY: How long have you been teaching mambo and what
made you decide to teach mambo?
JB: I was in Eddie's class, and started to practice with Leo Garcia, who
eventually asked me to be his assistant while he was teaching. Little by
little I started teaching the class. I still don't know how that happened.
I never started out wanting to teach.
SNY: What is it like to learn a choreographed routine?
JB: It is a very intense workout, and I love it. I prefer working
on a routine than going out social dancing. You get to be intimate with
the music and perfect your dance, as
well as stay in great shape.
SNY: What is it like to travel as a performer? What do
you like best about it?
JB: It is a beautiful thing to travel, but to travel as a performer, is
great. Outside this country, performers are treated with respect.
I also got the opportunity to meet other interesting people.
SNY: Where have you gone to perform?
JB: I have performed in Hong Kong, Germany, Puerto Rico, locally in New
York city and the tri state area.
SNY: Which bands have you performed with on stage?
JB: My biggest thrill was dancing with Tito Puente's Latin Jazz Band.
SNY: What got you into performing and what was your first time on stage?
JB: My first time on stage was as an actress, many years ago. But
as a dancer, I performed with Leo Garcia at Dance Manhattan.
SNY: What groups have you performed with?
JB: I've performed with the Carlos Konig Dancers and Las Curvas
SNY: What did you feel when you first performed live on
JB: As I mentioned, I had experience on stage as an actress, but not as a
dancer. I acted like I was Rita Moreno and Betty Grable and I just smiled and
had a ball. I was so nervous, but I think it went well. What a rush!
SNY: What advice would you give those just getting into
mambo? How can they work at getting better at dancing?
Practicing works. There is no other way. Find a partner or partners
and find the time and place to practice.
Try practicing one pattern at a time. Do it to slow music and get it perfect.
Then really fast music, try and get it. Then go to medium tempo music and
practice more. I remember I practiced for hours with my dance
partners. At the socials, don't worry so
much about doing a million turn patterns you learned in your classes, connect to
the music and your dance partner. Some of my favorite dancer partners are
the ones who smile and connect with me and to the music, no matter what level of
dancer. If you give me a great cross-body lead, I am happy.
SNY: How best could you describe your way of dancing?
of teaching? and of
JB: I am a very passionate dancer who likes to have fun. I love to
play with the music and have a great time. In teaching beginners,
technique is the most important, and I emphasize the connection to the music.
I find when they understand the music getting the mechanics is a little bit
easier. Performing is a whole different thing. It depends on the venue,
your partner/partners/group and the music you are dancing to. But in
general, make sure you stretch before and after the show, breath and smile no
what happens. Try and have a good time, the audience will pick up on that and
SNY: How is New York Mambo Dancing different from mambo
dancing in other parts of the country?
JB: There are many different styles of mambo, even here in NY, you can go
to a club and have everyone dancing on a different beat. I like to dance
different styles with different partners, but there is no place like home.
SNY: Do you think that dancers get treated with
respect? If not why?
JB: I think club owners make most of their money by selling alcohol.
As a general rule,
dancers are not interested in drinking alcohol, they are busy dancing, which
means we are not buying drinks. I believe dancers are a form of entertainment
for the non-dancers who are drinking. Alas, the owners don't agree with me, so
therefore we are not respected. In my experience, In Europe they feel
differently. You are treated with respect.
It is an incredible difference.
SNY: What would you like to see happen to mambo within
the next few years?, next decade? within your lifetime?
JB: Wow, what a question. I would like it to continue to grow in
popularity. I would like the dancers to continue to respect one another on
the dance floor. I would like club owners to respect dancers. I would like
all dancers, those who break on one and those who break on two, to dance along
side each other, smile and be able to dance with one another too. I would
like mambo peace.