Jayson Molina (San Juan, Puerto Rico) is a popular salsa instructor/performer in the latin dance scene. Eddie Torres (aka The Mambo King) placed Jayson in his dance company at the tender age of eight. This fact alone speaks volumes about Jayson’s innate dance talent and ability. Jayson is still very much in his prime as a dancer yet has been in the salsa business for 20 years. This being due to the early start in his dance career, and his ability to grow as a dancer. He has traveled to teach and perform all over the world including Argentina, Spain, Venezuela, and the United States.
When did you begin latin dancing and when did it develop into a passion?
Even before I started dancing I had a passion for dancing and music in general. I started taking lessons at the age of 8 in New York City. That’s where I grew up. I was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I started with Mr. Eddie Torres and, almost immediately, he placed me in the dance company. I was the youngest person in the dance company. There were no children except for myself, my brother and Mr. Torres’ daughter.
What was it like working with the legend, Mr. Torres?
It was a wonderful experience. A very nurturing experience as well. I owe a lot of what I know today to him. I danced by his side from the age of eight, until I was about 17 years old. From there I embarked on my own projects. I opened up my own dance company in New York, and from there started working on many different projects.
Tell us a little bit about your dance company and what you want your students to take away from your classes.
My company is called Rompecabezas Dance Company. I try to transmit the feeling that I have for music. I know that’s very difficult but I try to have them feel my passion, and transmit the feeling I have for dancing to them. When I dance, teach, or rehearse, I try to do it with all my being, so my students feel the intensity behind it and it becomes the same for them.
What qualities make a good dance instructor?
Patience. Tact. And you genuinely have to love teaching. I think there are many great dancers, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a good teacher. I think you really have to love transferring information from yourself to someone else, and helping them understand exactly what you want them to execute.
How would you describe your own dance style?
Hmm. I would say classy. Sexy. And very exotic.
What do you enjoy dancing the most? And why?
Salsa! It’s just in my blood. I love it. I don’t mind dancing to other rhythms, but my passion is solely for salsa music.
Do you have a favorite dance memory?
One that really stands out for me was when I went to Argentina. It was just about the largest group I’ve ever taught. It was about 500 people. It was really exciting!
How about favorite congresses or places you like do dance?…do you have a favorite?
I grew up in New York, so I love the social dancing there. I’m from Puerto Rico and I live there now, and I like the flavor and feel of dancing in Puerto Rico…so those are my two favorite spots in the world. I enjoy all the congresses that I go too. I particularly enjoy the Puerto Rico Salsa Congress. Not only because I’m a part of of the staff, but because it represents my island and because its the biggest (salsa) event in the entire world. The congress runs for an entire week, so its very exciting. It’s also fun for another aspect because I’m behind the scenes. I get joy from seeing the event come out successfully.
As an organizer…what does it take to plan a good salsa event?
It has to be tight organization. You have to know exactly what your public wants. You have to have the right artists come to your event. Artists that are going to attract people. And, obviously, you have to include your local dancers, because those are the ones who are going to come visit. The main things are your lineup, your organizational skills, and the event location. It doesn’t have to be a 10-star hotel, but someplace that’s attractive, comfortable, and accessible for people.
Do you have any favorite performers that you enjoy watching?
I enjoy watching all shows. If I get to be in the audience that, for me, is a treat because usually I have to be onstage (laughs). So any time I can be in the audience that is a treat.
Are there any specific goals for your dance career that you’d like to accomplish over the next few years?
One of my dreams was to branch out my dance company and that has actually already happened. Also, to open up a dance studio in Puerto Rico since I’m always travelling and I got to do that back in May. Thank God it’s running very successfully right now (laughs). Right now I’m just focusing on things back at home. Doing a lot of community dance programs so that my local people can enjoy what I do. I want to bring dance to my people.
For more information on Jayson visit his Facebook page: Jayson Molina Facebook Page.