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This Month we interview NY Mambo Instructor Lillian Santiago-Negley. Lillian the wife of fellow NY Mambo Instructor David Negley has been involved in the NY mambo scene for some time. She has traveled to LA to perform, participated in the New York Congresso Mundial de La Salsa, was a part of Jimmy Anton's Dance Group, Nelson Flores Student Dance team and a member of the Curvas Peligrosas. She has been teaching privates for the last couple of years and co-teaches a mambo class with her husband David. Lillian can be seen dancing the night away at such popular social gatherings at Jimmy Anton's Bi-Monthly Dance Social. This will be her second exposure in SalsaNewYork (her instructor listing was the first).
Cyber-Interview: Lillian Santiago-Negley
SNY: How long have you been dancing and what got you into mambo dancing?
LS: When it comes to Mambo, it's been about 7 years and I started because I discovered it was a great way to stay in shape and meet many wonderful people. It's also a fantastic way to be able to express yourself from the depths of your Latin soul. It can be spiritually, emotionally or because the passion for dancing is endless and invigorating. Needless to say, it helps you get rid of that stress!
(Laugh) I've been dancing as long as I can remember. I've always loved our music and my Dad used to play some great big band music in the house all the time. You know the type of music you would hear at the Palladium or at the Cabo Rorreno in the Bronx. Funny how not to many people may know about this popular place back in the day.
But, I always remember a story that my father told me about the days when he used to go to the Cabo in the Bronx on Prospect Avenue. One day he went into the club and it was crowded and the night was full of excitement. But most importantly, what he saw before him had him mesmerized! There was the woman who became my mother dancing on one of the tables with her sisters and friends having a great time! They met dancing and the rest is history. Funny....but the same thing happen to me except I still haven't danced on the table. I really loved that story.
SNY: What was
it that got you into teaching?
So for me, it's basically the same feeling. I love to see my students get excited whether it's in a private or in a class environment after having learned a few shines or turn patterns. Making them feel special, happy and challenged is very rewarding.
SNY: Who would you
say are people you consider your mentors?
Jimmy's creativity and willingness to let you give your input was always very positive and encouraging. It really was and will always be memorable experience. Some of our best times together with the "fun" crew. You know who you are!SNY: What would you say mambo dancing has done for you (personally, socially, professionally)?
LS: Mambo has given me the opportunity to meet many interesting and wonderful people from all over the world. I've had so many great experiences traveling, performing celebrating birthday's, weddings and even seeing future Mambo dancers being born, from some of my dearest friends who have been married and met through dancing.
On a more personal note, I've been blessed with many special people who have come into my life with whom we've mutually shared some of the most saddest times in our lives such as a loss of a parent. By comforting each other through our dance we've been able to realize how precious and beautiful life can be and how much dancing can give you the inner strength and positive energy to help you move on with your life. As strange as it may seem, it can be a very healing experience.
On a professional level thinking about where and when the next venue is helps me get through the day in the Corporate world!
SNY: What do you think
is the best thing that you've gotten out of dancing?
SNY: Do you still go
out to dance socially and if so what are some of your favorite spots?
SNY: Do you still
actively teach? If so where?
SNY: Are is your
favorite thing about teaching?
SNY: Do you still
like taking classes?
What do you think of the development of mambo as a performing art over the
last few years (Mambo Showdowns, Congresses/Conventions, Latin Madness, Salsa
SNY: Would you say
that your wedding a mambo
SNY: Do you have any
mambo plans in the near or distant future?
SNY: What do you
think a person should be looking for in an instructor when learning how to
SNY: What do you
think someone looking to teach should do before opening up a class?
SNY: What is your
advise to all those beginner mambo dancers wanting to get into performing.
What is the best way for someone interested in learning mambo can get in
contact with you?