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20 Questions with Joby Vazquez
Joby and Luis Vazquez are the
founders and directors of Salsa Brava Productions and the Salsa Brava Dance
Company in Los Angeles and are known throughout the salsa world for their unique
choreography, skillful teaching and amazing performances. Recently, they have
launched a local branch of their dance company called Son Bravisimo. While they
were here for the auditions and for a workshop they taught at Cocomo, I had the
pleasure of sitting down with Joby to ask her some questions.
Stephanie: What is your first
memory as a dancer?
Joby: I took a modern dance
class in college. I didn’t take any dance classes as a child.
S: When was your first salsa
J: In 1994 Luis and I
improvised a performance with a live band at Cal State Fullerton.
S: Of all of the routines you
have choreographed and/or performed, which has been your favorite?
J: The Devils and Angels
S: Do you have any
pre-performance rituals or superstitions?
J: We try to pray together as
S: What is the worst thing
that has happened to you while performing?
J: There have been a few…
Once I had a costume that was a bodysuit and snapped at the crotch and it
snapped open when I did the splits during a performance. I had the DJ stop the
music and I went off, fixed it, came out and started all over again.
S: I often get embarrassed
watching old videos of my dancing. What embarrasses you most now about how you
danced when you first starting salsa dancing?
J: When I see a video of
myself, I see that I used to hunch my shoulders when I danced.
S: What do you consider to be
your greatest accomplishment?
J: Having a successful dance
career and a successful family.
S: To who and what do you
attribute your success?
J: To my husband, Luis, my own
determination and to pure luck. Also, having my daughter, Pacion, really made
me want to work harder to succeed.
S: What is it like working
with your husband?
J: Sometimes it’s awesome and
sometimes it’s awful, but I wouldn’t want to do it any other way. It takes time
to learn to work together, but I think we’ve got it down.
S: What’s the hardest thing
about combining motherhood and your dancing career?
J: Having to go away so much
and wondering whether to stop dancing and just become a full time mom.
S: What is your greatest
J: My determination.
S: Describe a minute of
J: In dance, in 1998 it was
the first time our dance company performed as a team in Puerto Rico and it was
the most unforgettable moment. We all walked off stage crying and we had a
standing ovation. It was the best feeling ever. And not in dance, it would be
being alone with Luis on a beautiful deserted beach.
S: Where do you see yourself
in five years?
J: Still dancing, maybe with
my own studio with a specialization in traditional dances like folklórico,
Middle Eastern dance and Tango.
S: Whom do you most admire?
J: In the salsa world, Laura
Canelias, because she was one of the first female dance teachers I saw in LA,
she’s successful, down to earth and has always supported us.
S: What is something that not
many people know about you?
J: I was studying to be a
doctor of oriental medicine before I quit college to dance salsa full time.
S: If you weren’t a
professional dancer, what would you be?
J: I would pursue whatever
inspires me at that moment. It would probably be something artistic though.
Liking Martial Arts and medicine inspired me to study Chinese medicine.
S: If you could be anyone else
for a day, who would you be?
J: A millionaire, so I
wouldn’t have to worry about money.
S: If you could have a
superpower, what would you want it to be?
J: To never be tired.
S: What celebrity would you
most like to give private salsa lessons to?
J: Cheyenne or Lenny Kravitz.
S: What is your favorite place
to go social dancing?
J: Steven’s Steak House or The
Sportsmen’s Lounge in LA.
If you want to learn more about
Joby and Luis Vazquez and Salsa Brava, check out their website at
About the author: Stephanie
Palmeri is the assistant co-director of Son Bravisimo. She and her dance
partner, Danny Zepeda, have been performing, competing and choreographing
together for over two years. They currently teach all levels of salsa dancing
at the Mexican Heritage Plaza and Club Miami, both in San Jose. This is the
second article that Stephanie has written for the Salsacrazy website. You can
contact her at (408) 806-0787 or
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