Welcome to Episode 83 of the Salsa Kings LIVE podcast
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This week, Andres will answer a very important question with guest Raphael Valle: Why dance? Why choose dance rather than art or writing or any of the other forms of art there? Raphael’s story explains precisely why he decided to take this path. A teacher of dance at UV Latin Dance Academy, Raphael has been dancing since he was a child. He teaches all sorts of dance for any who want a wide variety of salsa dances.
At the age of fifteen, Raphael experienced dance and fell in ‘love at first step’. It spoke to him in a way that felt natural and a way he could just click with. After a few years he joined a dance team and even performed at the UN halftime show. Raphael at one point in his life tried to work at a ‘real job’, but quickly found the stress to be hurting him. He went back to dance, deciding to make a career of it. From there, he moved on and eventually even became an instructor, able to do what he loves full time.
It wasn’t always like that. There were times when he would have to work day jobs, full-time shifts, only to come to teach salsa at night for three hours. Such was his passion for dance that he was willing to do that much. Dance was not and is not work for him, energizing him and giving him a lust for life.
Raphael talks about the joy of dancing, a thing that can take you away from the sorrows and troubles, letting the joy of music sweep you away. For Raphael personally, music was something that helped get him through some seriously dark times, such as his incident with a brain tumor. Dance helped him realize that living to the fullest was what was important. The cancer gave him a resolve to return to teaching and to give him a new lease on life, regardless of his condition. Dance has been something more than moves and sounds to him, it’s something that can be his in mind, body, and soul. Dance helped him move from a dark period, to not simply be a victim and to be a person living like any of us.
Dance is more than just a hobby for many, not simply patterns to follow mechanically. Dance is joy for many. Dance is something that can put us in a better mood and bring us up from despair. For people like Raphael, Dance can even save your life, helping you to appreciate the things that make it important. That is why he chooses dance.
“I had to integrate my passions into my life. I didn’t want to be in some sort of place where I wanted to go home because I didn’t want to be there, so I created something I was passionate about… so I get to do the things I love.”
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