“Each time the sound of the clave and conga intertwine their benevolent beats my soul takes over and in an instant I am lost. My body, a speaker, it is the sound.” It is for this reason, this feeling, why I have commited myself to this team. Ever since JC recruited me seven years ago he has taught me not only how to dance, listen, and understand salsa music but he has also taught me how to extract gooey movement from each instrument and amplify it with flavor. It is an art that can only be felt and I appreciate the tools he and Tellina have given me to create my own masterpiece.
I joined the Afinkao family in january 2010, with only a few month dancing under my belt. My dance and life partner Alex convinced JC back then that he should give me a chance to be his student. Alex was a much more experienced dancer, and I was willing to work hard to fulfill our dream of performing on stage together. JC agreed to take me on, and made a deal with me that if I was willing to work extra to show rapid progress, he would transform me to the point where I don’t recognize myself within a year — SWEET I thought, but how is he gonna do that ! I had never danced on2, had no intuitive understanding of how to isolate and move various body parts, could barely get the timing of any salsa song, and worst of all ended up punching my dear Alex in the face _twice_ in the first month of practice, splitting her lip badly.
Well I still don’t know how he did it, but after a little over a year, I do feel utterly transformed. Not so much by the number of intricate combinations I might be able to do on the dance floor, but rather by the internal joy that moving to a salsa beat now procures me. JC teaches you to break free and enjoy the very soul of the music. He did give me enough technical background that I can feel comfortable dancing on a reasonably fast rhythm, but beyond that he taught me how to “let go”, get in touch with my inner self and express it on stage. He transformed my dancing experience from a quasi-robotic succession of moves to, well, feeling free and having fun ! Thanks to his help and his trust, I was able to realize one of my dreams, to train, practice and perform with my awesome wife Alex. This all brought a new dimension to our lives.
During this past year, JC not only made himself available as a coach to us, but also as a friend. He was always understanding of the constraints in our daily lives, and even though he pushed my dancing hard, he always did so in the most respectful and friendly way imaginable. I’m looking forward continuing our friendship and pushing my dancing to the next level in the Afinkao family !
Body movement, flow, and cuban motion are the key elements in JC Labio’s teaching style and goals.His emphasis is centered on movement initiating from the core and continuing the motion to the limbs in a natural, effortless way.
After 8 months of training with JC’s technique class, I feel I have improved immensely from the stiff, mechanical way I moved before his class. I am definitely more confident in dancing socially with the skills I’ve learned in his class and feel more connected to the salsa beat as I incorporate my “cuban motion” in my dancing.
I am grateful to JC for providing a technique class that is organized, challenging, detailed, informative, and fun. And also, for creating a positive learning environment that is so necessary in the growth of each student.
I came to Afinkao’s training team after dancing for a few years. Before joining the team, I developed as a dancer primarily by going to classes before socials, dancing at socials, and by participating on a student team.
I came to the team because I was interested in expanding beyond what I was learning in other places. I wanted to learn regular exercises that would help me become a better dancer. I also wanted to have access to an instructor that would constantly push me to try harder than I had before. Of course, I still wanted to have fun while dancing, but I also wanted to be challenged.
Coming to the training team was very hard at first – and has gotten a little easier over time, but continues to be a challenge. JC pushes us to practices our movements until they reach his (high) standard. Eventually, this will come to be your standard as well. I’ve learned a lot body motion and dancing with energy in the short time I’ve been with the team – this is probably the reason to work with Afinkao’s team instead of another group. The teammates are one final reason that it’s great to work with Afinkao. Everyone in the group is friendly, great to learn from, and very supportive. I leave every practice sweating and smiling. Being on the team has definitely been one of the highlights of 2011 for me, and I look forward to moving into my second year with them.