|Compiled by Manny Siverio
(Originally posted on Salsaweb NY on 10/99)
Adelina Diaz (a.k.a. Addie)
is another of New York's best kept little secrets. She is a humble yet hard working next
generation New York Mambo Instructor, Performer, Choreographer and Director of The
Addie-Tude Dance Company. Addie has traveled to such places as LA, San Francisco,
Baltimore, Washington and Switzerland to teach her workshops and has performed in Puerto
Rico, Peru, Colombia, Italy, Switzerland, not to mention in various cities around the
United States and in every major Latin Dance Club in the NYC area. She recently was one of
the dancers that performed for the 1998 Hispanic
Heritage Awards in Washington DC and is slated to author an ongoing "Addie-tude"
series of instructional videos on mambo dancing (check out www.addie-tude.com for Edie The Salsa Freak's review
on her video). Addies is an accomplished dancer with a background in Mambo, Cha-Cha,
Merengue and Hip-Hop. Her popularity is evident because she has been part of several of
New Yorks top professional mambo dance groups. Originally part of the "Dancers
Fantasy Stars", Addie went on to dance with "The New York Salsa Dancers".
In 1994 she was called to fill an opening as an "RMM Dancer" and traveled with
them during the Combinacion Perfecta tour. She has also been a
member of the "Mario Diaz Dance Revue", "The Fuerza Latina Dancers",
"The Santo Rico Dance Company" and was a founding member of the "Descarga
Latina Dance Company" before forming her own dance group. Addie was
also one of the original cast members to the NY Off-Broadway mambo musical Latin
Madness (the play featured three of her choreographed numbers). Always the perfectionist,
she is constantly working on improving her dance skills and researching her understanding
of Latin music and its history.
As an instructor, Addie is among some of the best that
New York has to offer. She is an excellent practitioner of the NY style of
"On-2" dancing. Throughout the time I have known her I have had the pleasure to
witness her teach classes, workshops and privates. As a matter of fact Addie was the
instructor to have taught me how to do my first basic steps back when she was partner and
co-founder to the classes now taught by Nelson Flores. Addie is presently teaching a
beginner mambo class every Thursday nights from 7:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at the Eighth Ave.
Studios located at 939 8th Ave. (between 55th and 56th Street), 3rd floor in Studio 3A.
Those going to her class for the first time will discover that she usually has 2 male
assistant instructors helping her teach. The class is separated into three different
groups (Raw Beginner, Intermediate Beginner and Advanced Beginner). Raw Beginners are
those who have little or no experience in mambo dancing, while Intermediate & Advanced
Beginners are those who have a grasp of the basics in both partner work and open floor
shines. Addie has set up the three instructor system to guarantee more personalized
attention to her students.
The first half of Addie's class focuses on open floor
shines. Each instructor gradually leads their group of students through a pre-determined
number of shines. These shines are carefully broken down, reviewed, performed with music
and combined with other shines to form mini-routines. She finds that this system of
teaching shines not only challenges her students, but leaves them feeling with a sense of
accomplishment. Addie also provides students with a list of shines they are expected to
learn before allowing them to move onto the next level. Its funny to see how members of
the lesser advance groups sneak a peak at what the more advance beginners are doing. You
can tell they want to be there. But these thoughts are quickly forgotten the moment their
instructor begins to lead them through some mini-routines. Soon each group is working
hard, sweating bullets, being repeatedly drilled; while people are heard having fun and
applauding when successfully completing a challenging sequence of shines. Addie not only
wants her students to develop solid basics, but to also enjoy themselves.
The second half of the class centers of partner work. When it comes to partner dancing,
Addie picks up where many male teachers finish off. Most male mambo instructors find it
easy to teach turn pattern combinations (partner work) to both men and women, yet have
great difficulty explaining how a woman should stylize her moves during the combination.
What you get is normally two people who move in a uni-sex sort of manner. That's why even
top mambo instructors need women to help illustrate their dance moves. According to Addie,
in New York "On 2" mambo dancing, its the woman who makes the man look good on
the dance floor. She is like a picture to a frame in that one appreciates the beauty of a
picture frame when placed in conjunction to the quality and beauty of the picture itself.
Dance partners should not look identical. They should compliment one another like the
Chinese symbol of Ying & Yang.
During partner work, Addie usually separates her class
into 2 general levels (Raw Beginners and Intermediate/Advanced Beginners). She has her two
male assistant instructors lead each group. This frees her up to check on the progress of
both groups. The Raw Beginners are expected to learn basic partner work skills like the
cross body lead, single right turn, inside turn, drop hand catch, L-turn, shoulder check,
etc. before moving onto the next group. The more advance group usually starts off by
seeing a new turn pattern. The pattern is usually broken down first without the count and
later to the count of the clave (so that the students could get the feel of the pattern).
This is where the fun begins. As soon as students learn the turn pattern they practice it
to music. Everyone rotates every couple minutes so that they can practice with different
partners. Once they do it to music, old turn patterns are gradually thrown in for a
review. By the end of the class, students are doing a mini-routine of turns (or what I
like to call one long monster turn pattern). Addie uses this time to bounce back and forth
between each group to provide invaluable tips to both men and women. As a woman she can
explain mambo dance concepts to another woman from a woman's point of view. Also as a
woman, she can give men direct feedback on their lead (i.e. too rough, not strong enough,
etc.) or on other things they made need to work on (i.e. eye contact, footwork, etc.).
As a Private Instructor
As a private instructor she is sought after by beginner, intermediate and advanced dancers
for one of her favorite specialties: As a private instructor she is sought after by
beginner, intermediate and advanced dancers for one of her favorite specialties: LADIES STYLING. She
knows that a man cannot always teach a woman how to move which is why she offers private
instruction. Many women have complimented Addie on her dancing and have hired her to teach
them how to emulate her style. Most of the time Addie begins her privates by breaking down
open floor shines. Her simple approach to teaching is very direct (like Addie herself).
She breaks down each shine, then gradually explains how to add that New York flair to
these moves by first focusing on the legs, followed by the hips/torso, next the arms/hands
and finally the head. Students are usually surprised and happy to see what happens when
all these dance elements are blended together. Then depending on the student (knowledge,
ability to learn, etc.) shell have the tendency of tying each open shine with the
previous ones so that in essence she begins to teach them mini-open floor shine routines.
If a student can handle it, Addie will also stand in front of them (men or female) and do
shines in front of them. Either Addie will execute these shines in a random pattern
(leaving it up to the student to mirror her moves) or perform the mini routine that was
taught to them that day. This is great, because it forces students to do floor shines with
a partner, gets them use to the concept of having fun while doing solo dancing and teaches
them to overcome the apparent confusion and fear normally associated with shine steps
(solo dancing). When teaching partner work, Addie takes a turn combination and carefully
breaks it down. She gives valuable styling tips to the woman, that help add beauty and
sensuality to their moves during the turn combination. Its these pointers that help
heighten the womans sexiness when dancing and its all done in good taste. Addie
identifies with most women learning how to dance mambo. She knows what to look for because
shes been through the process herself. And like most good instructors, she keeps her
eyes open for new ways to express her styling moves.
Addie's Style in a nutshell
If I were to describe Addie Diazs style to other New York Mambo Instructors, I
would say that she has a very Bronx style of dancing with mucha Latina Sabor and attitude.
She offers a very classy and sensual style that is entertaining, energetic and fun to
watch. Always on the move, she is constantly performing, teaching and learning
salsa/mambo. As an instructor I would say that she is humble, patient, communicative and
offers a fun yet challenging class. Her styling moves help bring out the femininity in a
woman and she has a great time doing it. Though she is an experienced teacher and
performer, she will always eternally be an eager student looking for new & different
ways to improve her dancing, her performing and her teaching. So if your lacking flare,
styling, enthusiasm, attitude ("Addie-Tude"), want to develop a solid foundation
in your mambo dancing while enjoy doing it, then Addie Diaz may be the instructor for you.
- Addie is only teaching private
classes in Westchester County. Those interested should contact her directly.
- Fees for privates are negotiated with
Addie over the phone.
- Prices usually includes studio rental
& teaching fee
- Privates are usually 1 hour long, but
other lengths of time can be negotiated during initial phone
Those going to her class for the first time will discover that she usually has
1 to 2
assistant instructors helping her teach.