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My Dance Story
It was a simple yet beautiful prayer that began the process of my life and dance history. My mother Maria Torres said a prayer to God one day that if she would become pregnant again, she would have and keep the child. Soon after, she became pregnant of me.
On June 26, 1984, my mother began having pains and was constantly back and forth to the hospital. The doctors repeatedly told her that she was not ready to give birth. So one day my father Eddie Torres called my mother and asked her to join him for dinner on 23rd street in Manhattan, NY. He specifically asked her to take a taxi, and not the subway to meet him so that she wouldn’t have any problems (keeping in mind that she was pregnant). Since my mother loves to get to places on time, she decided to leave early and just take the subway. While approaching the 23rd street station, her belly dropped. She asked the gentleman in front of her to hold the doors open for her so that she could get out of the train, but he panicked and did not move, so someone else pulled the emergency break for her. The people on the train helped her to get out on Union Street and they placed her on a bench. The police officer that was with her panicked, so a lady picked up the public phone and called 911. My mother ended up in Beth Israel Hospital where she gave birth to me. When my mother told me the name of the hospital where I was born, I connected the name to Bethlehem in Israel where Jesus was born, and that blessed me so much. The amazing fact about my birth was that I was born feet first. Growing up I did not understand why I was born breech and not like “normal” babies who are born head first, but as I grew older I said to myself, “maybe I was born to dance.”
As a baby, my parents would constantly bring me with them to the studio where they taught Latin Dance Classes. My father would always play Latin Music in the house, while he played the clave. “The clave is an instrument which is played in Latin music to keep timing” (Eddie Torres). One day when I was a year and a half, I had been taking a bath, and my father was playing Latin Music in the house. I picked up one of my toys in the bathtub and began to play the clave correctly on timing to the music. My parents were shocked to hear me playing the clave correctly on my own at such a young age.
A year later while my parents were getting ready to perform at a nursing home, I went up to my parents and said “I want to dance, and I want to dance cha-cha-cha.” My mother took a red ribbon, and wrapped it around my waist, and fixed my hair. My father then announced to the audience that I had never danced before, never learned the routine, but I wanted to dance with my mommy and daddy. The audience found that to be adorable, so my father took me by the hand and placed me in the middle between him and my mother. I took two steps forward and got into position. The first routine I performed with my parents was “Oye Como Va” by the late Tito Puente. I knew every step, and every phrase of the routine, even though I had no coordination. My father was excited, and my mother was in tears, as they watched me dance with them.
Since then all I wanted to do was dance. My parents never forced me, or made me perform with them if I didn’t want to. In 1987, my father started the children’s group at the Kips Bay Boys and Girls Club in the Bronx. After seeing me perform with my parents, other kids wanted to learn how to dance. I performed in many street fairs, school events, and community services where children were involved. As time went on, I loved the idea that my mother would make costumes for me, so I asked my mother to make all of my costumes so that I could match with my daddy. My mother thought to herself (kiddingly), “is my daughter trying to retire me already?”
As I grew older, I continued to dance with my parents, and later joined the Eddie Torres Latin Dance Company, where I traveled to different parts of the world domestically and internationally. I continued to grow in my dancing, and continued learning and developing in the Eddie Torres Latin Dance Technique.
As my father continued training me, and observing my growth, he encouraged me to perform as a soloist. He also saw the gift and potential I had to choreograph my own solos and routines, but I did not think much of my father’s observation at the time, since I did not think I could choreograph as well as my father did. As time went on, he began asking me to perform the routines he had choreographed, and it was during this time that I began growing in my gifting as a dancer. My father gave me the freedom to express the choreography the way I felt it in my heart, and so I did.
After gaining experience and confidence as a solo dancer under my father’s training, I began to perform with my father as a duet. In the year 2004, my father and I performed for the first time in California at the Los Angeles Salsa Congress. I was so nervous at first, but the show came out great, and my father and I had a lot of fun performing together. From then on, my father and I began traveling and performing together until 2005. The last place we visited and performed was Japan. After this event, God gave me a dream that helped me to make the decision to leave the Salsa dancing I had been doing, and completely follow him. Here’s my testimony:
In November of 2004, God touched my heart, and from then on my life and dance career has never been the same. I continued to dance with my father’s dance company until August 2005 before going away to college. It was during this time that I explained to my father that I believed in my heart that God was calling me to live my life fully for him, and needed to leave the Salsa scene to follow God. While at college, I still had the passion and desire to dance, but did not know whether or not the Lord wanted me to completely stop dancing and serve him, or continue dancing. One night, after praying and asking the Lord to guide me with my passion for dance, I began dancing to Gospel music in my dorm room. I participated in a talent show at the college I had been attending, and it was there that the Lord opened the door for me to begin sharing my dance talents with others through Gospel music. This became the beginning of my dance ministry. I began to choreograph Gospel songs, and interpreting the messages the artists were singing. The first two songs God inspired me to choreograph were “The Battle Is the Lord’s” and “Victory” by Yolanda Adams. Ever since then, I have never looked back, and have continued to use my gifts and talents to dance for God’s Glory, and to share the good news of Jesus Christ with the world.
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