| Compiled by Manny
(posted on SalsaNewYork on
Maria Torres is an old school NY mambo
instructor who has been a quiet yet powerful force in the local dance
community for years. If Eddie Torres is the King of NY style mambo, then
Maria, his wife is the Queen. She was performing mambo gigs with Eddie
even before Eddie started teaching mambo for a living. You can even say
that she is probably Eddie Torres best kept secret weapon. She has
been working with the NY Mambo Grandmaster for much of his career to the
point that her name has become synonymous with his (i.e. Eddie and Maria
Torres). The two represent the ultimate couple when it comes to NY mambo
dance relationships. She
has helped Eddie forge a style of dance that is presently enjoying its
greatest growth in popularity ever.
Her years of
experience with Eddie, along with the fact that she currently teaches an
average of 4 classes a week makes her one of the most experienced female mambo
instructors in all New York. Many top female dancers have gone through
Eddie Torres and much of their female mambo styling has come from Maria.
She has probably danced at more Tito Puente events than any other person
(with the exception of Eddie Torres). Her presence has grace countless
stages including Madison Square Garden, Town Hall and The Manhattan
Center to name a few. She has traveled across the United States and
overseas to perform and teach with Eddie. They say that behind every
successful man is a woman, well Maria is that woman. And though she has
always been content to remain in the shadows, her recognition as a mambo
teacher is long overdue.
Maria Torres teaches her popular mambo
class before Eddie's. Usually she fills the ballroom studio to capacity.
Those meeting her for the first time will feel the warmth of personality
and her smile. Though small in stature, she is a force to be reckoned
with. She takes command of the class with an ease that comes only
with years of practice and experience.
Open Floor Shines:
Maria teaches all her classes by herself. They
are broken into two major segments: Open Floor Shines (solo dancing) and
partner work (turn patterns). During the Open Floor Shine segment, she
breaks down each shine first by verbal description; then by the count of
the clave in both English & Spanish. With a little work, she soon
has them performing the shines in unison like an army brigade. Only a
few shines are covered in each class, but she breaks them down
thoroughly before reviewing other basic steps. Shines are covered one at
a time, first to slow music, then to faster music. Maria drills students
on getting into and out of each shine and back into the basic step.
Students are periodically rotated from front to back so that everyone
has a chance at being in front. Maria loves to compliment students on
their performance whenever they do something right. She believes in
giving people positive re-enforcement.
(Students interested can ask Maria for a sheet containing a list of all
the shines being taught in class).
During the partner work segment, Maria has students pair off and form
two circles (one inner circle the other an outer circle).
She usually demonstrates one to two turn patterns to the class and begins to break
it down a little at a time. During the entire learning process she'll
offer beginner partnering tips concerning styling, how to cup hands,
connection, spotting, etc. Its interesting to hear her because she tries
to provide info to all her students from both a male (leading) point of
view and a female (follow) point of view. Students are periodically rotated within each
circle so that everyone has the opportunity of practicing with different
partners. When the turn pattern has been completed, Maria will
choose a couple from within the class to demonstrate the sequence. At
the end of the combination, the demonstrating couple will receive a
hearty round of applauds from the other students for their performance.
This is yet another example of Maria's positive re-enforcement philosophy.
last 5-10 minutes of each class is dedicated to practicing the new turn
patterns to music.
Maria's Style in a nutshell
If I were to compare Maria Torres to other instructors, I
would say that she has a very classy and fun style of mambo dancing. She
loves to innocently play and flirt with her partner. Those watching her
social dance can appreciate her styling (never too much to draw
attention, but just enough to compliment her partner). To Maria its all
about blending and balancing with her partner. Its like the analogy of
the picture and the picture frame. To Maria, the man (the lead) is the
one who provides the strength and foundation (picture frame) for the
female (the follow) who is in essence the picture. In the long run, one
partner should not outshine the other. The woman makes the man look good
and visa versa. So if you are looking for a beginner
mambo class from someone who help formed the foundation of what is
today called "The
NY Style of dancing On 2", then Maria Torres
may be the instructor for you.
(These tapes feature
Maria's husband Eddie Torres)
- Phone: (718)319-9317
- Phone: (646)245-6117
(title emails "Attention to Maria Torres")
- Maria is currently available to
teach private classes. Those interested should contact her
directly to discuss fees and scheduling.
- Maria caters mainly to an Adult
Mambo student crowd.
Since classes are given in various
locations and are subject to schedule changes, see
www.EddieTorres.com for current
- Contact Maria
directly to find out current rates for group classes and privates
subject to change without notice
it is always a good idea to confirm classes or clubs before heading out
: NYC Public
Transit Authority Website which supplies you info on train/bus
routes, transportation, etc.
: Map/direction providing website for those using their own vehicles
to get to class location.
Yahoo.com: This is
the link to the Yahoo maps starting page. According to Steve Shaw,
it may be the better of the two Map websites.
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