Interview with Eddie Torres in Hong Kong, 2012, Part 1
Video interview with The Mambo King Eddie Torres, filmed by Karen Chau in Hong Kong, February 2012;
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Eddie Torres Biography
The Mambo King - Eddie Torres
Eddie Torres (born on July 3, 1950) is one of the most famous salsa dance instructors in the world. He has trained thousands of dancers, including some of the most well known contemporary dancers such as Frankie Martinez and Seaon Brystol; Adolfo Indacochea and Juan Matos just to name a few. He was the first person to lay down concepts of structure and technique for salsa/mambo. Through his dance school, he has taught thousands of people how to dance salsa in his own distinctive style. He also has a children's dance program that teaches approximately three hundred students a year.
After failing to impress one of his first love interests with his uncoordinated dancing at the age of twelve, Eddie Torres decided that he would start learning how to dance so that this would never happen again. He would subsequently hang out in the few Latin clubs in New York City that allowed teenagers in, slowly picking up the foundations of the dance by hanging out with good dancers, asking them for advice as well as watching and imitating them. About eight years later, he had gained a reputation as one of the best dancers and started participating in dance competitions. He also began teaching as soon as he could so that he could share his knowledge and passion for the dance. He eventually met a woman named Maria, who would later become his wife and dance partner. She learned fast and had become very good within a year. Within three, she had definitely become the best partner he'd ever had.
Dancing for Tito Puente
One day, after a performance by the famous musician Tito Puente, Eddie approached him to pay his compliments. Tito perceived Eddie's talent and recommended that he put an act together and show it to him, so that perhaps he could work for him as a dancer. Years later, he felt ready and spoke to Tito again to offer to demonstrate two numbers that he had choreographed. The latter refused and instead told Eddie to tell his musical director what he would need in the music and how he would like his band to play it, and that he would then feature him and his partner in his next concert. Eddie Torres's debut show with Tito Puente took place at the New York Coliseum in 1980. He performed to two songs, Cayuco first and then Palladium Days. The crowd enjoyed it and the performance was a great success. He would then perform everywhere Tito went and quickly became a genuine part of the show. Eddie Torres then realized another of his dreams when Puente accepted to identify his team as the Tito Puente Dancers and to let Eddie wear a jacket featuring a picture of Tito playing timbales on it. Later on, in the mid-eighties, Latin dance lost some of its momentum. Eddie wanted to dance in one of Tito Puente's concerts at the Madison Square Garden but the promoter insisted that the more mainstream Disco Dance Dimensions troupe perform during the intermission instead. After explaining himself to Puente, the latter reassured him and told him that he would perform anyway during his concert. That night, the Disco Dance Dimensions performed well and the crowd was pleased. However, when Torres performed to the song Para Los Rumberos, the crowd went into a frenzy. The next song, Palladium Days was a very fiery and intense mambo. The couple performed again to it and the roaring crowd gave the duo a standing ovation. The message was clear: they wanted to see Latin dancing accompanying Latin music.
Today, Eddy still teaches around the world in Congresses with different dance partners like Melissa Rosado, Griselle Ponce and Shani Talmor.