Siscu Perez – Leave your mark, make it personal, let passion lead you | The Teacher’s Corner
“Whatever you do in the dance, do it with passion.”
Falling in Love with Dance
You never know when you’ll find a passion in life. Let me tell you an interesting story of how I discovered the beauty of dance and decided to go to dance classes. I started to dance because of my father. He wasn’t a dancer; he was selling coffee machines. You may be wondering how is that relevant to my story but hold on and keep on reading.
One day, my father and I went to a dance club (I was 14 years old), to fill up a coffee machine. There, I saw a dancesport lesson – it was the Tango. I was astonished by the steps, the movements, the overall energy – I’ve never seen something so impeccable in my entire life. Of course, it immediately hit me that I wanted to learn to dance like that.
However, one can say that my coordination and balance weren’t top notch. Actually, I was pretty bad in gymnastics at school. So it wasn’t surprising that my father asked me whether I really wanted to try dance lessons. But, I already fell in love with dancing and nothing and no one could have made me change my mind.
Now, this is where it gets interesting. My father told the director of the school that he’s going to give him a coffee machine for free if he teaches me how to dance. Obviously, this was quite a challenge for a dance teacher, due to the above-mentioned reasons. However, I started going to social dance classes, where you’d learn basic steps. With time, I greatly improved, because I was dedicated and I practiced every day. After one year of going to dance classes, I began going to competitions. That was back in 1997.
What motivated me to work so hard in the first place was actually the feeling of freedom I got from it. As a recluse kid, I was always at home, doing my homework and studying. I was never very social nor did I do many activities. Dancing was a great chance for me to make some new friends and do something exciting in my life. I felt so comfortable and natural when I danced, and later on when I started competing. I was never nervous. I enjoyed every moment of dancing. Sure, some things were more challenging for me, such as the interaction with my partner. But, but as time went on I got more and more comfortable. These challenges only inspired me to learn faster, so I saw them as stepping stones in my career.
The Humble Beginning of my Teaching Career
As for my teaching career, I always wanted to become a history teacher and teach in a school. Well, that was before I discovered dance. During my dance career, I realized that my passion and desire to teach was higher than my wish to dance and perform. I have to admit that I was lazy, and I had little self-discipline. So, I always wanted to learn but I didn’t want to practice that much.
In 1997, when I started competing, I was also working as a babysitter and giving a couple of social dance lessons. Later on, my parents didn’t have the money to pay for my dance classes and everything else I needed to be a dancer. Given that, in 1999 I opened my own dance club in Vilanova (a city next to Barcelona) just so I’d have the necessary space to practice and teach. Twenty years later, I still have my dance studio, and I still teach.
What I learned as a dance teacher
During both my dancing and teaching career, I learned so much more about dancesport. Here are just a few things that I want to let you know:
The lady always comes first
Sure, in order for a couple to leave a good impression on the audience, both man and woman should do their part. However, I believe that the lady comes first. This is why I always focus on her. I want her to have balance, coordination, and a perfect form. I love to see flexibility since that allows her to move freely and dance her best.
Another point to note here is that the couple should be interesting all the time, and that’s where the lady comes in. She needs to establish a connection with the audience, and know her limits when it comes to the body movements. Thanks to that, she will be able to manipulate and play all the time, making every step look like magic.
The man is the foundation
Let’s not leave the man out of the picture. While a large part of a couple’s success depends on a lady, the truth is that it all starts with a man. He’s the foundation simply because he leads. Naturally, I also focus on the man, teaching him how to be a support to his lady. He needs to have a good frame, and confidence while leading her. Moreover, he has to learn how to give her a point of contact so that she can move on to do the next move.
Connect with your Partner
I said that the hardest part for me was the interaction with my partner. This brings me to my next point – the couple needs to be connected. When you see two people perfectly coordinated, playing with the space between their bodies, while sharing their passion, well, that’s where the real art is created.
Leave Your Mark
We all have heard the phrase that you should do what you love, but it seems to me that we kind of forgot this because of other obstacles that we came across in our life. So, I say to you that whatever you do in dance, do it with passion. That way, everything will become easier, even in hard times, and you’ll be able to give your personal touch to every move and technique.
Speaking of which, don’t be afraid to do something different. Dance is all about creating something new and unique, so let your creativity guide you. Do things your way, because that’s what makes you unforgettable in the end.
Find your role models
Every one of us has had different influences on our way to success. Mine were exceptional teachers and dancers such as Carol Mac Raild, Serena Lecca, Viktor Nikovski and Larisa Davidov.
My first teacher taught me to focus on the rhythm and the characterization of each dance. In other words, I learned how to express myself differently while I danced the Rumba, or the Jive.
Next, I bumped into the Russian influence where I learned of the importance of form, frame and coordination. Needless to say, this greatly helped me both in dancing and teaching.
However, the last part and probably the most meaningful one was given from a psychological perspective by Ruud Vermeij. When I understood the meaning and the ideas behind movements, my horizons broadened and dance suddenly got a whole new meaning.
Well, readers, that would be it. I hope this article brought new insights into your world of dancing and teaching. In the end, there is one more thing left for me to do – ask you a question.
Having in mind that we usually see competitions from the coaches’, dancers’ and judges’ point of view, I’d like to know how do YOU feel about it. So, tell me What do you like most about performing?
From a shy reclusive child who wanted to grow to be a history teacher, Siscu Perez came to be one of the greatest teachers in dancesport and an adjudicator in competitions all over the world.