An Interview with Griselle Ponce (NJ) -by Johnny Johnson

Griselle PonceGrisselle Ponce is one of the top New York/New Jersey area dancers. Former Model of Television show Sabado 47, she is a performer & instructor director of Runway on 2 Dance Studios. At the age of 24, she has traveled extensively to perform and teach salsa internationally including in Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Italy. She carries her sexiness on the dance floor like second skin, and projects an energy that is captivating to watch.

Johnny: First and Foremost, I would like to thank you for taking time out and doing this interview with; I have admired your stlye of dance throughout my four years of dancing salsa. You are truly one of the brightest stars the mambo scene has to offer! How did you get into salsa dancing?

Griselle: First and foremost thank you Johnny for granting me the honor to be interviewed by La Voz del Mambo. Salsa is in my blood, my mom danced in her days and my dad is a latin percussion award winner. But it wasn’t until I met Ismael Otero that I realized how much love I had for Salsa.

I used to work for a Television show on Telemundo network as a model/dancer and co-host. On one of my jobs, interviewing a teenage beauty pageant contestant; I came across this guy just spinning. It caught my attention and I decided to check out what he was doing. This person was Ismael Otero. He was actually starting a salsa class that day, so I figure I was one of his first students.

My job and school didn’t allow me to go back so it was actually a one day thing. Somehow we crossed paths again when salsa recording artist, Frankie Negron, hired me as a back up dancer and Ismael Otero as his choreographer. From that moment on salsa became part of me like a second skin. In 1997 we were featured at the Madison Square Garden..then everything blossomed from there.

Johnny: When did you begin to realize that you were an awesome dancer?

Griselle: I’ve always believed that I had talent as a performer and enjoyed to social dance and teach a great deal. I learned every day from performing and social dancing with diferent people …I will not say I’m an awesome dancer, I will say I’m a dancer that loves and has fun with what she does for a living. I’m still learning “you learn something new everyday”.

Johnny: What tips do you offer to ladies who are either just starting or trying to take their dancing to the next level?

Griselle: It’s not what you do, it’s definitely how you do it… as the saying goes. Have fun with what you’re doing and don’t try out do anybody. Just out do yourself.

Johnny: In addition to being a member of one of the best Mambo companies in the world, Caribbean Soul, you are also the director of “Taima Las Hijas Del Trueno.” How would you describe these experiences?

Griselle: I have to say it is not an easy thing to do. Being a member of the Caribbean Soul Dancers has helped me to learn so much about being a director. You don’t understand the director of your group until you are put in his or her shoes. I think I’ve been pretty good as a member of the group. But too I’m lieneant as a director sometimes; that’s because I love my girls.

However, when it’s time to work it’s time to WORK! Not to say that Ismael doesn’t love us all. Basically, I’ve learned the do’s and dont’s of directing and I try to use my own judgement.

Johnny: Who are some of your favorite leads on the salsa scene?

Griselle: My Favorite Leads: Ismael Otero (of course); Guillermo Ayala (a former Caribbean soul dancer, with him I’ve had the best connection on the dance floor and on the stage); Super Mario (my favorite, he always gives me a challenge); Aviv from Israel; Danny from Caribbean Soul; Thomas Guerrero (Especially performing); Milton Cobo has a great lead; Troy Anthony; Gordon….Oh my God it’s so many I can’t name them all…..But those who have danced with me know how good of a lead they are by my response on the dance floor.

Johnny: Who are some of your favorite groups?

Griselle: My favorite groups in no particular order….Tropical Gem #1 on my list; Santo Rico (personally enjoy the old Santo Rico, but the new never fails to amaze me…full of talent); Yamule (their routine is awesome); Salsa Brava (when the group was together, love their productions); Hacha y Machete (upcoming group..great energy & awesome choreography); I have to say Caribbean Soul (even though I miss the old csd); and my own group Taima (I have been lucky to have a wonderful group of talented young ladies full of energy to come together as one with all our ideas).

Johnny: Any additional comments:

Griselle: Keep dancing alive’ quit making it a competition amongst each other. Come together and share the beauty of Salsa!

“Stay Unique”
Much Love
Griselle Ponce