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  Interview with the Stars - Edie 'The Salsa Freak'
  Interview By Andy Moore - Oct 2001

So Edie what inspired you to take up Salsa?

I was at a techno club, I was a little overweight at the time and I was trying to lose weight at about 170 lbs and I was trying to lose weight by going out dancing. I was at the technoclub for about 4 weeks and all of a sudden the techno club turned into a salsa club over night and I walked in and all of a sudden there was salsa music and I thought what is this, I never heard salsa music and I never really saw salsa dancing and when I saw the salsa dancers come in and bust out I thought I have to do this,. I saw these two guys dancing Luis and Joby Vasquez and they were very very good.

So did you start lessons the following week?

Yes, I started taking lessons from Luis right away How long ago was that? Back in 1995, In fact it was thanks giving back in 1994 What has been the greatest experience so far in your salsa career? Soing my Euro tour back in 1998, Because a group of us called Team Salsaweb went to London and 10 different countries in Europe over a 3 months periods, we did shows , performances, workshops , we taught LA style salsa. Nobody in the continent of Europe even had heard of LA style salsa. They were dancing, but it was Cuban style. They didn't think there was any salsa in the untied states, much less in LA, MUCH LESS ABOUT THESE TRICKS AND DIPS, we erent that well received in the beginning because we went against the grain of the Cuban style LA style is more swing and ballroom type, more pueto Rican , New york style in that sense forward and back. In our first workshop there was 100 people and 18 walked out. As soon as they saw a neck drop they said forget it and walked out. And now when I come back to London, and all you guys are doing is tricks and drops and its wonderful.

Do you think across the globe in general people are moving away from the traditional Cuban style?

I do think everybody is starting to see because of conventions and congresses and festivals, we were the first to lead the way through Europe to introduce a completely new style and I think because of that it really opened peoples eyes to wait a minute what else is out there. And when the congresses first came out all of a sudden they saw these shows and performance for example like people from LA , my dance team Salsa Brava, New york it was more impressive than what they had been doing for long and Salsa in order to survive it ha got to progress, its got to change, its got improve otherwise its going to die out

You have danced and worked alongside with the most talented instructors/ performers and teachers across the world, who has been your greatest influence in your salsa career?

Probably Salmon Rivera because he has had so much technical training. He improved not only my dancing but my teaching just immensely. I use to teach a lot of street dancing which is basically show and tell and no why's and no reasons. When I took a look at he's technical background and was his partner for a year and a half I learned so much. My teaching style does not come from Salsa, I was an instructor teaching at computer world and I learned a lot from Anthony Robins training series, Brian Tracey, Wayne Dyer A lot of nightgale conan people who are instructors who teach you how to teach and teach personal relations and human relations and I have not seen anyone around the world who teaches like I do. Theres people who dance like me, but don't teach like.

What has been the best moment in your salsa career?

I think it was when I was named the Best international Salsa instructor in London 2 years ago. I got two awards one for the best Salsa web site for and best international instructor and when I was invited back to London after my Euro tour it was an honour for them to say Edie look what you've done and that was just incredible. And also on the island of Curacao last year they dedicated the Curacao salsa festival to Edie the salsa freak and receiving that plaque and the award and the whole reason why all those people travelled to the Caribbean and go to this huge festival in my honour was , Wow. It was a little overwhelming and I was in tears accepting the award, it was really really cool.

Where do you see Salsa in 5 years time?

I think that because its so universal but theres going to be a lot more complicated steps, patterns, more tricks, more lifts because that seems to be what people want. You're going to see when they are doing 5 or 6 turns on the 5 6 7 beat, you're going to see top athletes. I want to see salsa in the Olympics, salsa on NBC, CBS and make it as popular as figure skating because in reality its is a spectators sport. Salsaweb with its new owner Dr primo will take salsa to a new international level on par with the Olympics and ballroom dancing. It is so cool to go to a country and have a commonality and famility of what you are use to at home, its so wonderful to be in the middle of Venice, Italy and you have Oscar d Leon in the background in all these people are dancing salsa and you know how to dance. You may not know how to speak to them but salsa is an international language and you know how to dance with them and I think that's why salsa has withstand the test of time. Since you travel all over the world teaching at congresses, festivals all over the globe do you ever miss teaching in one place back home in USA? Yeah, sometimes I think I travel so much that when I get back home my classes are so empty because im not there, so who wants to show up so I have to start all over again. It's a common thing with international instructors that we have very small classes at home but have enormous classes outside their hometown.

So does your husband Al 'Liquid Silver' Espinoza look after your classes when you are away?

Yes, in fact Al is teaching our classes, I am more the submissive one now I am with Al. I am a very strong woman and I have paved the road but he is an even stronger man and I think every strong woman needs a real strong man and for me to stay married to him I need to know my place in the relation. But behind every strong man there is an even stronger woman. What part of the world have you enjoyed going to and also teaching in? I enjoy teaching London the most just because the people here are all crack up. They laugh at my jokes, and they understand what im saying. The rest of the world I need an interpreter. When I went Dubai last year they had to change the language. When I teach I joke around a lot and what people don't understand when you have to wait for the interpreter the jokes aren't as funny. My favourite place to teach is in London because all you Brits have this incredible sense of humour and then my favourite place to go and visit has to be Italy What do you most enjoy about teaching Salsa How salsa changes people and how they actually get it and keeps a smile on their face.

So if you had not become a world famous salsa instructor what would you have liked to have been?
Probably a rockstar, a singer So has getting married to Al 'Liquid Silver' changed the way you teach and who you are? Definitely, I have realised that people would rather pay $10 and have a great time and learn something rather that lean something and not have a great time. And ive learned a lot from Al and not to take life so seriously and to lighten up a little bit, and to not worry so much because eventually god will take care of everything. We are both very spiritual people and we both love the lord and Al has taught me a lot about trusting the lord and trusting that things are going to be ok no matter what you got to put a smile on your face. It doesn't matter how hard life gets you just smile, even if you're smiling at someone else it makes a big difference.

Thank you Edie for your time and we look forward to seeing you back in the UK soon
  Interviews With
  Edie the Salsa Freak
  Isacc Altman
  Jami Josephson
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Updated: 17th Oct 2001
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