Beauty, brains, and talent — every man is looking for a woman who has it all. Even if these women might seem like a magical unicorn, `LLERO knows they exist. Maybe “SHE” is your vecina, the one who got away, or your sister’s BFF. So right here, we’ll be turn the spotlight on the ladies that we all know and love because we know that “SHE” means She Has Everything.
Upon learning about Christina Piedra we felt an in-person interview was a must. This Latina left the corporate world behind to pursue her passion and never looked back. A professional salsa dancer who has performed at venues such as Madison Square Garden, MetLife Stadium and more Salsa Congress’ than you can count she is also co-owner of the Cultural Explosion Dance Company. It was a journey we wanted to hear more about in person. Yet, the concrete jungle of New York City would prevent such a meeting — you try finding parking in midtown at the height of the holiday season!!!
Not to be denied, we nonetheless found time to chat and can definitely say that Ms. Piedra’s energy is no less infectious and story just as impressive over the phone.
‘LL: How did you get into dancing?
All through my childhood I was a dancer, I studied dance — ballet, jazz, tap, flamenco, all the technical dances and did it into my teens. But as I teenager I wanted to be “cool” and ballet didn’t fit into that [laughs], but at my high school we had competitive dance teams that participated in national competitions and we did hip-hop so I continued dancing in that capacity. It was a wonderful experience because I was a shy kid and it took me out of my shell.
‘LL: Sounds like you were dancing everything but salsa, how did you make the transition to salsa dancing?
CP: After college my friend introduced me to my current dance and business partner, Juan Calderon, she was taking lessons with him and so I signed up as well. I wasn’t very familiar with salsa; it was like discovering my culture. I was happy that salsa came into my life. Another turning point, I connected with my Cuban roots, the history and background. It wasn’t intentional it just kind of happened.
‘LL: What led you to become a professional dancer?
CP: I actually wanted to be a journalist and went to school for that, I [even] did an internship on the television show The View. Yet, like most my first job after college had nothing to do with journalism, I ended up as a technical recruiter. I did that for two years, I was [generally] happy, but the 9 to 5 grind was a drag. I realized I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in an office job. At the same time there was a fear of change, but my boss knew about my side interest in salsa dancing and one day took me to the side and told me I could have a bright future, but I don’t think your happy here, your heart is dancing and you should pursue that.