An Interview with Liliana Hernandez (Philly) by Johnny Johnson

Johnny: First and foremost, thank you for granting this opportunity to interview you. You are by far, one of my favorite social dancers on the mambo scene. There are very few dancers that take me into, what is frequently referred to as “Mambo Bliss;” however, every time I dance with you I feel like I am taken to this Place. In addition, you are one of the lead performers in the up and coming group, “Art in Motion.” For those who may not know you can you give us a little background on how you got into dancing and performing salsa?

Liliana: WOW!!! I’m speechless…Thank you for your compliment Johnny! Well, I have to say, when I was young, I was shy when it came to dancing. Especially when it came to spanish music, I tried to run and hide, but was caught and dragged out to the dance floor. I was (and still am) into hip hop, reggae, and R & B, but it wasn’t until 4 years ago when I got into salsa dancing. One of the members from AIM (Mike Andino) who I have known since childhood was the one that introduced me to salsa. He kept begging me to go to this club (The 8th Floor) in Philly w/ him, at the time I was in school. One night I ended up going and the next thing I knew, I got stuck. Within months after that, I met my partner and soulmate Alex Alvarado (also a member of AIM) and started in my first group “Salsero Unidos” back in 2000.

Johnny: As I mentioned before, you are one of my favorite social dancers. Your ability to follow turn patterns is quite extraordinary; in your opinion, what is the key to being a great follow?

Liliana: “Enjoy the ride” is what I say. It’s like a roller coaster (even though I am frighten by those machines) you never know what’s coming. Don’t anticipate the move and pay attention (as I always say in class) Look up and smile and most importantly, have fun!!!

Johnny: How would you describe the experience of performing in Art in Motion?

Liliana: It’s overwhelming to see us come this far! I am proud of each and everyone of us for doing a great job!!!

Johnny: You guys are all great on2 dancers; however, you frequently perform On1. What the story behind that?

Liliana: When we all started dancing, we learned On1. It was only a few years ago that we got comfortable dancing On2, but by then we had already begun our performances On1. We decided that we’d like to keep our performances On1, and still be able to mix it up when we social dance so that we can be more diverse dancers. For now, we plan to keep our performances On1 though.

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

Liliana: There are so many…. Ana and Joel, Burju and Victor, Sekou, Eddie and Maria Torres, Salsa y Control

Johnny: Art in Motion is quickly becoming a very popular performance group on the salsa scene. What has allowed you’ll to experience so much success, so quickly?

Liliana: First and foremost a group of talented people that are extremely hard-working and driven. Without the dancers that we have, we wouldn’t be able to do it but we’re lucky enough to have dedicated people who seem to want the same thing. When we started the group 2 years ago, one of our main goals was to travel to congresses to not only perform, but to teach as well. We knew that we’d have to “Pay Our Dues” though, in order to be recognized. So we spent a large part of the last 2 years traveling as much as possible, showing the promoters what we could do, so that we could be the kind of group that gets asked to perform, rather than having to ask.

Johnny: What the most interesting thing about you outside of Salsa?

Liliana: Well what most people don’t know, is that I have a twin sister (fraternal) which her name is similar to mine, Lilibeth. We have our differences, one of them is.. she doesn’t perform. But, she is out there with me whenever I am at a social event or congress in NJ/NY area. And sometimes even travels with me to congresses. What you also don’t know is that Jessica Moya (also a member of AIM) is my roommate. We have been roommates now for the past 4 years and still manage to miss each other when we don’t see each other for a couple of days (lol)

Johnny: Where do you see yourself as a salsa dancer 5 years from now?

Liliana: Well anything can happen, but in 5 years I would like to “perhaps” open a dance studio and also become more involved in other types of dances. Like jazz, ballet, tap and other type of dances.

Johnny: Any additional comments:

Liliana: “FIRST AND FOREMOST” (lol) I want to thank you Johnny for taking the time to interview me, I am honored, and flattered! I also want to say, to you Johnny, your doing such a great job with your website, keep up the great work!!! I’ll see everyone on the dance floor!!!

Liliana Hernandez