Interview with Teddy Garces – New York, NY

Teddy GarcesJJ: First and Foremost, I would like to thank you for taking time out to do this interview with LaVoz de Mambo. I have admired your dancing since my exposure to Santo Rico. You are highly-respected dancer, performer, and instructor who provides inspiration to many of us aspiring Mamberos! With that said, which do you enjoy the most, teaching, performing, or social dancing?

TG: If I had to make a choice I would say that performing gives me the biggest rush and the greatest satisfaction. However…… As a performer you have to take the good with the bad before every show. What I mean is that there is a great deal of adrenaline that shoots through your system before you take the stage. At the same time there is an excitement and a rush that is usually complimented by a bit of nervs and anxiety. It is probably for these crazy reasons all rolled into one that I love performing.

JJ: Santo Rico is world renown for having a particular style. As a very accomplished Santo Rico dancer, how would you describe this style? What do you enjoy most about dancing, performing, and teaching with Santo Rico?

TG: Our style is very up beat and powerful yet fluid & continuous. It is very leadable for the guys and followable for the ladies (is that a word followable :). Our turn patterns at the highest level of our instruction become really complex. Because of this our style is one that demands a great deal of precision, rotation and movement for the guys and awareness, flexibility and technique from the ladies.

What I enjoy most about all of this is that it is not just about training hard without a goal….its about fostering confidence in our students so that they can HAVE FUN and feel that they are able to dance with anyone when the time arises. As a performer it’s about ensuring that we give the public a powerful show and promoting the name of our school Santo Rico.

JJ: You have experienced teaching, performing and dancing mambo all around the world. Is there any particular place that stands out or is most memorable?

TG: Man, if those people in Milan Italy are not the coolest group of hosts then I am at a loss of words. They are respectful, fun and exciting to be around. They treat you well and are very sincere when they speak to you. I mean at some point it has to be about more that just dancing….right? Dance is what you do with people, but being a genuine individual will allow you to continue your relationship with them.

JJ: I have been told that you have a promising acting career. How do you balance dancing with acting? How does acting help with your dance aspirations? What can we expect from Teddy – the actor?

TG: It’s going well for me. The balancing act is completely crazy. I run to auditions daily (make sure I am prepared for them ….very prepared). Mail directors and producers consistently so that I can be within their radar.

Talk to my manager and agent on three way. Get training or work with my coach privately so that when I am not shooting I do not get rusty. Go to Pre-production meetings with the director of the next script ( ie;. wardrobe discussions schedule conflicts etc). Get uptown in time to teach my class at 7pm. Rehearse at the studio for the next dance gig till midnight or One a.m. Prepare to travel for shows on weekends and the beat goes on……

I just finished shooting Law and Order for the up coming season. Right now I’m in pre production for two independent films to be shot this fall and winter. Everything is not always sunshine though, I have had let downs ….every actor does. I auditioned for a lead role in ‘TRU BLU’. A new movie with Denzel Washington and Benicio Del Toro. I came close but didn’t get the part.

As a dancer I have learned to work ’til point break in the studio and give it all I have on stage. Sometimes I feel good after a show, somtimes I don’t, that’s the nature of the biz …. If you are going to dance, act , sing, paint or whatever, you must be ready to recieve an emotional beat down on the regular, ( from people criticizing you to feeling underappreciated for your effort) brush it off your shoulder and watch it hit the ground and keep moving forward. Just stay truthful to yourself and pour every bit of your soul into it.

JJ: Any additional comments:

TG: Thanks to the mambo public for supporting Santo Rico for so long. Thanks to everyone reading this newsletter and thanks to the working artist for being so persistant at what you love to do. Offer your talent to the people and the reward will come back 10 times stronger. Thank you Johnny for this interview. Take care and stay humble.

J. Teddy Garces