|Compiled by Manny Siverio
(Originally posted on Salsaweb NY pre-1999)
Delille Thomas is yet another of New Yorks
talented mambo instructors. He was one of the principal dancers for the Eddie Torres Dance Troupe as early back as 1987. Hes
been quietly teaching his brand of mambo since 1992 and his extensive list of credits
include dancing for Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Vanessa Williams, Barry Manilow, Rita Moreno
and even for President Bush and his wife. He was a featured dancer at the 1996 Summer
Olympics in Atlanta and a special guest for tapmaster Buster Brown in "The Panasonic
Village Jazz Festival" held at NYU. Delille Thomas has also appeared in such
television programs as "The Cosby Show" & "The Sally Jessy Raphael
Show". He was featured in the "I like It Like That", "The Mambo King
Album Tour" & David Byrnes "Make Believe Mambo" music videos. One
cant forget to mention his featured performance in Vol. 1 & 2 of Eddie Torres's
instructional videos "Salsa Nightclub Style" and in the recently released RMM
documentary film "Yo Soy Del Son A La Salsa". Delille has danced under the
direction of renowned choreographer Geoffrey Holder and has performed in Puerto Rico (San
Juan), Columbia (Bogota, Barranquilla & Cali), Chile (Santiago), England (London &
Leeds) and Italy (Rome, Milan, Naples & Florence).
The first thing very evident upon entering Delilles
class was that he is a very friendly, soft spoken, yet assertive instructor who has
developed a loyal following. He and the rest of the class warmly introduced themselves and
made me feel like part of their family. The first thing that set Delilles class
apart from others was his warm up session. He ran the class through a series of exercises
which are designed to help the student isolate particular body motions associated to Mambo
dancing. These same exercises (which I understand are a Delille trademark), also improve a
students sense of balance and prepare them for the workout which will immediately
follow. The warm-up session starts off small (i.e. warming up the ankles) and gradually
work their way up to larger coordinated body movements.
From that point on I decided to call him Delille "The Machine" Thomas. I call him that,
because the man is in constant motion and he drills his students in the same fashion.
Without sacrificing style and technique, Delille drills his students over and over again.
He believes in practice and repetition. During floor shine practice hell run a floor
shine by his students and break it down. Then hell drill them with it. As soon as he
feels they have it, hell incorporate a second floor shine and drill that one into
them. Then hell combine the two shines together in a back-to-back fashion. This
process continues until he produces a chain of floor shines that become a mini-routine. He
only stops to pass along styling pointers and individual corrections. As I said before he
is "La Maquina" (The Machine).
Delille teaches several classes a week.
He focuses on floor shines and teaches a turn pattern class every first Thursday of the
month. He likes to teach an interesting style of turn patterns where the man is involved
almost as much as the woman when it comes to partner dancing. This way all of the work
doesnt fall on the woman.
Delille's Style in a nutshell
If I were to compare Delilles style to other NY Mambo instructors I would say that
he has a very easy looking free flowing style of Mambo dancing where both the man and
woman share the turn pattern responsibility. Like any Eddie Torres Alumni, Delille is
smooth yet sharp and his style lends itself to making the woman look good on the dance
floor. Though he can be very "busy" with turn patterns he prefers to keep things
simple and that in itself makes him a living piece of art work in motion.
His emphasis on style and technique make Delille the ideal choice for many
men to pick up dance styling tips. So if
you want to develop strength, grace and yes even stamina, then Delille "La
Maquina" Thomas is your man.
Thomas Update Review (1/17/02):
I recently dropped by one of Delille's classes to
discuss his participation in a Documentary I was working on. While there I
sat down to observe his class. I must be getting old because I forgot how
good of a mambo technician the man really is. As my wife would say, he moves
smooth as butter. Seeing him quickly jolted my memory. He warms up his class
like no other instructor I've seen to date with moves that isolate various
parts of the body. Special attention to detail is given to balance, foot
placement, knee placement, hip/rib cage isolation, shoulder movement, arm
movement, spotting and good form. He still is the mambo machine as he drills
the crap out of his students. To him everything relies on practice. He
usually works several of the warm-up moves into one of his floor shines and
repeatedly drills you like the "Maquina" (machine) that he is. To
Delille the goal is to emphasize cool suave dancing. The idea for the dancer
is to do more by actually doing less, thus making it look effortless. To
witness Delille dance is to see him put his theory in practice as he moves
with such grace and ease. He adds a cool Afro-Crio feel to this Latin flavor
dance form. Delille's classes are ideal for both men and women, but with his
focus on technique I would have to say that men could greatly benefit from
his dance styling tips. Click here to go to the top
to read Delille's original review.
- Delille (a.k.a. MamboD) is currently available to teach
private classes. Those interested should contact him directly
to discuss fees and scheduling.
- Delille mainly caters to an adult student crowd.
Mambo D Dance Center
315 West 36th Street (between 8th & 9th Avenues), 10th floor,
midtown Manhattan, Times Square area, NYC.
Delille also teaches in Flushing,
Queens, at the
classes are subject to
change without notice
it is always a good idea to confirm classes or clubs before heading out