Back in 2006 when So You Think You Can Dance was a new TV show, one of Salsabor’s instructors, JP, was left wondering, “Where’s Flamenco or Latin Dancing like Salsa?” Which then had him thinking about Salsa the Motion Picture, a movie he watched when he was really young.
“I decided to re-watch it,” JP said, “And I fell in love with it again. I then decided, like Rico (the lead in the movie) I will clear the dance floor and grow my Jerri curls.”
Whose does it better?
“Ok, I admit his Jerri curl were always better than mine. So I gave up on the Jerri curls and all that was left was Salsa.”
And this is also when JP started dancing with Salsabor and there’s never been a dull moment since. He brings a uniqueness wherever he goes, which is what the directors of Salsabor, Raquel and Andrea, love about him and why it was easy to award him the Most Outstanding Instructor for Term 1.
“We love his ‘uniqueness’,” they said. “You will find no one else that resembles his personality traits. He is a fun loving, warm hearted, humble, curious, and funny-without-trying individual. He also happens to dance and teach very well, with sprinkles of his individuality in every class he teaches.”
After receiving his Most Outstanding Instructor Award for Term 1, 2017, JP with Andrea and Raquel
From the very first moment, when he was just a student, Raquel liked JP. “He hasn’t changed in all these years.”
JP has also played a huge role in making Salsabor what it is today. He has become part of the furniture and the school wouldn’t be the same without him in it. He truly is the essence of what Salsabor is all about and encompasses all of our core values such as family, community, friendship, welcoming, achievement, Latin culture, progression, and inspiration.
“He recently travelled to Europe and attended Latin dance festivals where he learnt from some of the worlds’ best instructors,” Raquel continues. “He has since brought back so much of this knowledge into his own dancing and to his classes. JP has a way of making every single person that walks into the studio at ease within seconds. He is most well known for his sometimes very random but ‘make sense’ analogies during class.”
JP has been a Salsa instructor with Salsabor since 2009. He remembers the day that he was asked to join the teaching team in a car ride on the way to Sydney.
“I was driving to Sydney Salsa Congress with a beautiful blonde in the passenger seat and the two owners of Salsabor in the back seat,” he said. “The Salsabor owners asked the beautiful blonde that they wanted her as an instructor for Salsabor, and then a few seconds after they tap me on the shoulder and said, ‘Oh, you too JP’ as they all start laughing. My response was, ‘Oh AWESOME, OK!”
When asked why he loves Salsabor so much, JP reveals that “being able to listen to the continuous sound of my voice saying 1 2 3 5 6 7 mixing it in SPANISH and ENGLISH while trying different accents” is very appealing. But then he admits that he “loves pink, as it mellows my inner warrior to be more loving and peaceful and lets me channel my inner rage into a highly executed smooth dance move, before turning it into a dance routine,” ranks highly too.
But, if he’s being really honest, the biggest reason he loves Salsabor so much is because “it’s the place that systematically taught me how to dance,” he said. “Without Salsabor, I may be tripping over my shoelaces still, or even worst my left foot.”
“Dancing cures two left feet problem,” he said. “Salsabor is the company that helped me, solve this problem in my life.”
Before Salsabor After Salsabor
That love extends to teaching where he can experience continual progress and a deep understanding of all moves. “I love breaking things down, teaching even smaller parts and seeing students understand, interpret and react,” he said. “But most of all progress, whether if it’s me or my student progressing.” It’s progress that keeps him coming back for more.
He also loves “Being an entertainer, and infusing that with dance knowledge as it’s injected into people’s mind and nervous system.” Which is what his students love about him too.
“JP’s enthusiasm is infectious,” shared one of his students, Emily Fisher. “His entertaining singing, interesting analogies, Spanglish and sense of humour help to relax students and create a welcoming atmosphere. JP is very encouraging and always provides specific and timely feedback.”
Another one of his students, Greg Pampling, said, “JP is an analogy machine. He’ll paint pictures with words to help you better visualise how you should move. It’s a joy to behold, and the more obscure the reference, the better the analogy. And clearly, he’s seen Enter the Dragon more than a few times – don’t think, FEEL!”
Thanks for sharing your Salsabor story with us JP. We love having you as part of our family!