An Interview with Sekou McMiller – Chicago

Sekou MillerJJ: Before I get started, I would just like to say that you are by far one of the best mambo instructors in the world and that is not just because you taught me 🙂 Your dance company Descarga Caribe is blowing up, how are you dealing with the newfound success?

SM: First of all I am really honored to be put on the spot this way (lol). Seriously, the newfound success has snuck up on me. I always felt we were just doing our thing and then to find that others liked and appreciated it, kinda blew me away! And it still does. I have to learn how to recieve compliments.

My first response after a compliment is “You really liked it?” So, that is the first thing I that have to work on. Other than that, getting use to the busy travel schedule is no joke (be careful what you ask for). But I am having fun, living and doing the thing I love…dancing!

JJ: Recently you visited Atlanta, GA during the weekend Juan Matos had workshops, how did you like the Salsa scene here?

SM: Actually, I had a great time in ATL. Visiting an old buddy, and getting a chance to check out the dance scene. It was also fun to hang with my comrades: Juan, Candi, Ish (Ismael), Gordon, Troy/Georgette and the crew, Beto, Diana, the list goes on! So I had a blast. As for the scene, it is young but growing and pretty soon, watch out!

JJ: You are becoming known for body movement all around the world, what outside influences have contributed to your style of dancing?

SM: Well, dancing has always been a part my culture. When I say culture, I mean just my way of life. When I was a kid, my mom use to make us do choreography. During that time I was designated to do the body movement. It’s a trip, but I remember practicing rolling my belly! (lol) So it started there.

But I was a break dancer in the 80’s, House’d it up in the 90’s(Chicago style) and in the late 90’s I was introduced to salsa. It took a while to start using my background in my dancing, but peeps like Frankie Martinez and Juan Matos showed me one thing. “I can do me and be AIGHT!” I hope that answers your question.

JJ: You are also known for being a great On2 instructor, what do you attribute to your successful methods of teaching Mambo?

SM: More background, I am a corporate accountant, pro-classical flutist and entreprenuer. I would attribute these things to my teaching style as well as my personality. As a musician timing is everything. As an accountant procedures are mandatory. As an Entreprenuer, thinking of better ways of doing things is the key.

So even though I have rules and procedures, I am constantly looking for the most efficient way to communicate with and advance my students. So even though I do my best now, there is always a better way!

JJ: Has Chicago finally began to give you the respect the underground salsa dancers have always given you or is it still a local struggle for you and your dance company?

SM: Well Johnny you were once apart of this scene so you know some things will never change. But I will say as dancers, instructors, and promoters become more exposed to the outside talent levels and styles from around the U.S. and the world; a new appreciation for what we do both on the stage and in the classrooms is developing; and to be quite honest that actually feels good!”

JJ: Besides myself, who is you best student? Just kidding……Any additional comments:

SM: Man you are trying to get me killed! My additional comments are first to you: You are doing so well, and I am really proud of you for what you are facilitating with this newsletter. Keep doing what you are doing! Secondly to the world: Don’t you just love this thing (dancing that is). Peace!

Sekou McMiller