An Interview with Del Dominguez (Chicago) by Johnny Johnson

Del DominguezJohnny: Thank you for granting LVM an opportunity to interview you. We have known each other for sometime as a result of Descarga Caribe. For those who may not know, you are a very sharp dancer and excellent performer. How did you get into performing salsa?

Del: HA! Well to make a really long and boring story short, I was that guy who would go to the clubs and sit around cuz I never really knew how to dance salsa. I ended up taking classes at this one place, but it wasn’t really a good cirriculum and I knew I wanted “more.” Somehow, by the grace of god, I ran into Sekou McMiller and he invited me to take a class with him…the rest as they say is history.

Johnny: Not long ago, you decided to leave Chicago to go and study mambo in NYC. How has this experience affect you?

Del: In a lot of wayz, to be certain. First off, I gotta be “ignant” and say wassup to all the great people I met in NYC. The scene there is truly as good as you would imagine and I met a TON of really cool and down to earth heads out there.

I also would like to give a special shot out to the Santo Rico dance company as Sekou made me watch their performances Over and over and over again while telling me..”I want my group to look this sharp (hint, hint).” While in NYC, I had the pleasure of learning from the likes of Eddie Torres and Thomas Guerrero and all the great people in his company and regret not taking the opportunity to join his training group when the option presented itself, but that is another story for another day.

Johnny: You were recently named assistant-director of Groupo Palante, along with Ms. Leah Patterson. What do you hope to accomplish as the assistant-director of this project?

Del: Man brother, you are on point with your research! We literally ran our first practice this week! First off, for those who don’t know, P’alante is the training group of Descarga Caribe.

As far as my personal goals, I want to see if I can add some of my own ideas into choreography. In my life, I have always had trouble not “trying” creative things and this is no different. I am ready and excited about the challenges that will lie ahead and ready to put the work in to make everything happen.

Johnny: You are one of the key performers in Descarga Caribe and you guys have achieved a lot of success over the past few years. What advice would you give to those aspiring to be salsa performers?

Del: (redirecting question) Er… thank you for the Compliment Johnny! I have no real advice other than look at yourself in the mirror during rehersal and know that you want to be there from day one. As far as anything else goes, I continue to try and learn as much as I can.

Johnny: You have also started another venture that involves Salsa Apparel. How did this project come about? What was the inspiration behind it?

Del: Its more about what I said before…I always want to try things that I think I can do well. Sometimes I’m right and other times I’m wrong, but when it comes to design and illustration, I’m very confident in my ability to create and realize the ideas I have in my head.

Me and my Partner Julian Camacho came up together in Art School and are trying to take a totally different approach to what others are offering in the scene at the moment. My hope is that people will be receptive to more “artsy” style shirts and try to be open to some of the things that we are trying to do. We are only getting started and have a lot of Big Ideas that will hopefully get a chance to be made into shirts!

Johnny: I purchased a few of your shirts and they are hot!! I actually wore the popular “Mambo Soul” shirt in DC. A lot of people wanted to know where I got it. For individuals wanting to purchase your material, where can they go?

Del: Well first off, You can visit to get some general info on what we are doing. We literally made that site the night before the L.A. Congress and have plans to offer a fully functional and redesigned online store very soon. Secondly, I’m very happy that you like the shirt and I hope that you will like (and rock) some of the new shirts that we have coming up!

Johnny: Who are some of you favorite dancers and performers in Chicago and beyond?

Del: In Chicago, By far Sekou McMiller, Micah Boon and Luis Lopez as far as leads go. Follows would have to be Cristina Zavala and Leah Patterson among others (I’m biased). Outside of the Chi, and in no particular order I love watching: Ana and Joel (Boston), Andres and Johnny (Boston), Amanda Estilo (NYC), Juan Matos (NYC), Thomas Guerrero (NYC), Vittico Pacheco (NYC), Kimberly Flores (NYC), Eddie Torres (NYC), Gordon Neil (Atlanta) etc…

Johnny: Where would you like to be as a performer and fashion designer 5 years from now?

Del: As a dancer? Hoping these old ass legs stay up! And as a designer, more than anything I hope NOT to be working in corporate America and working on things that inspire me and motivate me to keep on creating which is the one thing I truly love to do.

Johnny: Any additional comments:

Del: I wanted to say congrats to you Johnny for your performance in D.C. that just passed as I heard you and Lucy did very well. Keep doing what you’re doing Johnny, a lot of people appreciate it.

Del Dominguez