Cliff Anderson is featured in this edition of Dance Spotlight! He was born and raised in Indiana, but currently lives in Dallas/Fort-Worth. He was nominated by Darrien Grays. Check out some fun facts about Cliff including what inspired him to try Latin dance!
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What are your first memories of dancing salsa? (In class? With friends? At a social?)
My first memories of salsa dancing go back to the first time I stepped into Blackberry’s. For those who don’t know (age spoiler, lol), this spot was crackin’ back in the day, early in the year 2000. My boy Ruben and I would always go, but we were always too shy to dance. We would end up standing there the entire night without dancing because we didn’t really know how, and we didn’t want to ask because we didn’t want to get turned down. After a while, I got tired of watching. I went to the library and rented a VHS tape (another age spoiler) called Red Hot Salsa. I went to sleep at night with the tape on repeat, and practiced the whole time by myself when I got home from work. I didn’t do a lot of classes, though.
What (or who) originally inspired you to try Latin dancing?
I just went to the salsa spot, and saw a lot of people having a blast on the dance floor. For me, that was all of the inspiration that I needed. I mean, it was something that I just wasn’t used to seeing. You had people who were just in love with the music, the dance, the atmosphere…it was one big party. I will say that Ruben Reyes force-fed me the music though. He was the one that made me listen to it all weekend long while we zipped down highways at 90 mph in his Dodge Intrepid (didn’t think I remembered did ya Ruben!?). Latin music (Spanish rock, bachata, merengue, and salsa) slowly became something that I loved to hear daily. After that, I needed to figure out how to express myself to the awesome music that I was listening to. On my way to doing that, I hung out with awesome people like Jonathan Rodriguez, Luis Delgadillo, and Abiel Gonzaga just to name a few. I kept a close eye on these guys whenever I was trying to level up in my salsa game.
What are your current favorite songs to dance to? Top two or three…
I really like Me Fallaste (Eddie Santiago), Tu con El (Frankie Ruiz), and Almohada (Tito Nieves). I came up in an era where salsa romantica was hittin’ hard, so that’s kinda what I like. I still love my hardcore mambos though.
Favorite local places to dance? (This may have changed over the past couple years).
Favorite congresses or festivals?
I love going to San Antonio for their Congresses/Festivals. Lee Rios, and his dance team Semeneya, always manage to host events that are tons of fun. From dodge ball to the Riverwalk, the BIG Salsa Festival in San Antonio checked all of the boxes for me. I also really like the BIG Salsa Festival in New York, along with the Houston Salsa Congress.
You and your girlfriend (Blanca Ramirez) seem like a very happy couple who enjoys the dance scene together – what ‘s one piece of advice you’d give to others about maintaining a strong relationship within the dance community?
My honey Blanca Ramirez…she’s amazing. I can’t put her into words. She’s always so supportive of me dancing, and she’s becoming quite the On2 dancer herself! But in regards to the question, no relationship is the same, so it would be foolish for me to even think that I would have an answer for that. All I can say is what people should already know…respect, encourage, support, trust, and love each other. I think that can take you a long way.
What’s one (or two) tips you’ve give to dancers who are thinking about performing?
One tip that I give people who are thinking about performing is to simply go for it! It also depends on the level of where you’re trying to take it. If you ARE, in fact, trying to take it to a professional level, be prepared to work. All of these professionals didn’t get on stage by snapping their fingers. They work long, tough hours perfecting their craft. Shout out to all of the directors, teachers, and full-time performers out there.
Dance video(s) you’d like to share?
Here are a few of my favorite videos to watch: