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-by Manny Siverio 
Originally published on SalsaNewYork on 4/01

This month we interview NY Mambo Instructor & Performer Joyce Blint. Joyce has been around the NY scene for several years. Always smiling and dancing the night away, one can usually find her at Jimmy Anton's Bi-monthly Social Dance. She is a very low key and down to earth instructor and a true joy of a person to know. Like many other of the mambo instructors I've been fortunate enough to meet she truly cares about her dancing and the quality of her teaching. This is her first exposure to the internet mambo scene. I'm happy to be the person to introduce her to the internet public. - Manny




Joyce Blint Cyber-Interview:

SNY: How long have you been dancing mambo and what got you into it?
JB: I received a gift from a friend to take one month of group classes at a
dance studio.  I had no desire to go, I was a racquet ball/rollerblader,
but I went because I liked my friend, and I didn't want to hurt her feelings.
From the very first class, I was hooked.  That was, wow, I think 5-6 years
(editor's note circa 1995).

SNY: Where did you originally learn how to dance mambo and who was (were) your mentors?
JB: I learned at Stepping Out Studio with Angel (I can't remember his last name.)  Great teacher.  But I kept hearing the buzz on this teacher, Eddie Torres, Eddie Torres, Eddie Torres, everywhere.  I decided to check out one of his classes.  Angel taught breaking forward on the one, Eddie on the two. I never looked back.  From that first class Eddie and Maria were my mentors. They still are. Eddie is a great teacher.

SNY: How long have you been teaching mambo and what made you decide to teach mambo?  
JB: I was in Eddie's class, and started to practice with Leo Garcia, who eventually asked me to be his assistant while he was teaching.  Little by little I started teaching the class.  I still don't know how that happened. I never started out wanting to teach.

SNY: What is it like to learn a choreographed routine?  
JB: It is a very intense workout, and I love it.  I prefer working on a routine than going out social dancing.  You get to be intimate with the music and perfect your dance, as
well as stay in great shape.

SNY: What is it like to travel as a performer? What do you like best about it?
JB: It is a beautiful thing to travel, but to travel as a performer, is great. Outside this country, performers are treated with respect. I also got the opportunity to meet other interesting people.

SNY: Where have you gone to perform?  
JB: I have performed in Hong Kong, Germany, Puerto Rico, locally in New York city and the tri state area.

SNY: Which bands have you performed with on stage?  
JB: My biggest thrill was dancing with Tito Puente's Latin Jazz Band.

SNY: What got you into performing and what was your first time on stage?
JB: My first time on stage was as an actress, many years ago.  But as a dancer, I performed with Leo Garcia at Dance Manhattan.

SNY: What groups have you performed with?
JB: I've performed with the Carlos Konig Dancers and Las Curvas Peligrosas.

SNY: What did you feel when you first performed live on stage?
JB: As I mentioned, I had experience on stage as an actress, but not as a dancer. I acted like I was Rita Moreno and Betty Grable and I just smiled and had a ball.  I was so nervous, but I think it went well.  What a rush!

SNY: What advice would you give those just getting into mambo? How can they work at getting better at dancing?
Practicing works.  There is no other way.  Find a partner or partners and find the time and place to practice.  Try practicing one pattern at a time. Do it to slow music and get it perfect.  Then really fast music, try and get it.  Then go to medium tempo music and practice more.  I remember  I practiced for hours with my dance partners.  At the socials, don't worry so much about doing a million turn patterns you learned in your classes, connect to the music and your dance partner.  Some of my favorite dancer partners are the ones who smile and connect with me and to the music, no matter what level of dancer.  If you give me a great cross-body lead, I am happy.

SNY: How best could you describe your way of dancing? of teaching? and of
JB: I am a very passionate dancer who likes to have fun.  I love to play with the music and have a great time.  In teaching beginners, technique is the most important, and I emphasize the connection to the music.  I find when they understand the music getting the mechanics is a little bit easier. Performing is a whole different thing.  It depends on the venue, your partner/partners/group and the music you are dancing to.  But in general, make sure you stretch before and after the show, breath and smile no matter
what happens. Try and have a good time, the audience will pick up on that and enjoy you.

SNY: How is New York Mambo Dancing different from mambo dancing in other parts of the country?
JB: There are many different styles of mambo, even here in NY, you can go to a club and have everyone dancing on a different beat.  I like to dance different styles with different partners, but there is no place like home.

SNY: Do you think that dancers get treated with respect? If not why?  
JB: I think club owners make most of their money by selling alcohol.  As a general rule,
dancers are not interested in drinking alcohol, they are busy dancing, which means we are not buying drinks. I believe dancers are a form of entertainment for the non-dancers who are drinking. Alas, the owners don't agree with me, so therefore we are not respected.  In my experience, In Europe they feel differently.  You are treated with respect.  It is an incredible difference.

SNY: What would you like to see happen to mambo within the next few years?, next decade? within your lifetime?  
JB: Wow, what a question.  I would like it to continue to grow in popularity.  I would like the dancers to continue to respect one another on the dance floor. I would like club owners to respect dancers.  I would like all dancers, those who break on one and those who break on two, to dance along side each other, smile and be able to dance with one another too.  I would like mambo peace.

































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