Interview with Carlos Cinta

Episode 40 of the Two Left Feet podcast

Interview with Carlos Cinta he is a world renowned Caribbean/Dominican Bachata expert and educator.

Hello and welcome to the 40th episode of the two left feet podcast. Today I was blessed to have on the show, Mr. Carlos Cinta AKA El Cirujano de La Bachata. I probably said that wrong, but the Bachata surgeon, he’s currently a Bachata teacher known for his musicality classes if I’m not mistaken. I don’t want to box him in or anything, but the other thing is what he’s very well known for. Born in San Francisco, raised in Chicago. This is a pretty, this is a very awesome episode. We learn about his upbringing in Chicago. How he got into Bachata, we talk anything and everything Bachata. So if you’re interested in Bachata, this is a really cool episode. We talk about I guess the differences, the difference between Bachata. There’s a lot going on with chapter to say the least. And what I mean is that the Bachata here in the US with the Bachata I’m used to you know, is completely different than the Bachata in the Dominican Republic. He said he went there and he had an eye opening experience just seeing how different it was. He said his dance one dance lost all his confidence and just people watch for the rest of the time. So if you’re interested in learning about Bachata learning about musicality, learning about body movement. I can say anything and everything Bachata, this is the perfect episode. The wise dude, he’s not only knowledgeable, but he’s also very passionate about teaching as well as Bachata, so great conversation with a great person. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I thoroughly did. If you find value in this, I want to ask that you please, leave a like and subscribe and share with your people. And if there is no value to you then don’t even worry about it. But this was a really cool episode. I knew you’re going to enjoy it. Episode 40 with the amazing Carlos Cinta. Please enjoy it.

Terence: So I am on the line with a Mr. Carlos Cinta AKA El Cirujano de La Bachata. And so my girl told me, that is the Bachata surgeon. So you are a renowned Caribbean Dominican, but chat to expert and educator. And you have taught at many international festivals and events around the world. Is that correct? Born in San Francisco, but raised in Chicago. Is that correct? How are you doing today? So let’s get it to. Where did you get that nickname from?

Carlos Cinta: So that one kind of gave to myself, but other people kind of the way that I break things down is it make like a surgeon, the way you break these things down. I was like that. And I’m going to use that I’m just with how I explained, just the musicality and how I put together the system and all the lesson plans and everything. So I pay attention a lot to the details. And then just base my teaching around that.

Terence: I’m curious. So I know you were born in San Francisco. What would watch your parents at the San Francisco?

Carlos Cinta:
So my mother she went to college out there out in Berkeley and she didn’t go to Berkeley was this a little art college in Berkeley? So my dad is out there somewhere. He’s a musician and so they just met a little jazz bar and here I am. And I was born out there, out in the Bay area, lived in Oakland, Alameda I believe.

How long did you live there? Like, when you were baby or?

Carlos Cinta: Yeah, I left when I was one. Then to Mexico City for a year and then in Chicago since then.

Terence: Okay. And what brought your mother to Chicago? Family or? I got asked I only hear the negative about Chicago, you know what I’m saying? What does it, what was it like growing up in Chicago?

Carlos Cinta: So I’m in the burbs, I’m 10 minutes out at West, straight west. I grew up more here and it’s a place called Bolingbrook. So it’s kind of like southwest of the city. The city itself, those unfortunately stereotypes, there the facts. It’s unfortunate, but no, I didn’t necessarily grow up in that environment.

Terence: Tell me, what was it like growing up in Bolingbrook?

Carlos Cinta: It was good. It was my mom, she brought me out there because there she knows I love sports and so that area it’s just a hot bed for do you want athletes all sports. And so we do our thing.

Terence: So what was your sport of choice?

Carlos Cinta:
Football. I was football on baseball, but I ended up, I don’t know, there’s just something about football that I loved, which now of course if you could go back, I had way too many injuries and they just told me growing up, play baseball, play baseball, play baseball. I made the junior Olympic team, when I was growing up, but I just love football.

Terence: Are you talking about American football or soccer?

Carlos Cinta: American football. And then a few concussions, a few knees, ankles, everything later. Like I should have listened. And they just gives you a leg told you. I know.

Terence: I’m curious, you’re grow up in Chicago and everything. Did you grow up in a dancing household or was it just strictly sports for you?

Carlos Cinta:
Oh yeah, it was all sports. So I didn’t start dancing to 2003.

Terence: Like how old were you?

Carlos Cinta: Born In 1978 to 2003. So that’s what, 22 plus three 25. I was 25 when I started and I’m talking like I didn’t even hear my first Latin song till 2001. It was RMB and RMB rap, things like that, so I didn’t, I didn’t grow up with that culture, it’s just it was sports and more sports for me. I was a jock still I’m a jock. That’s never going to leave. That’s my number one passion. I guess it goes to show that this stuff can be learned. I learned it because I never danced in it. And it’s funny that people always made fun of me in high school. You get no rhythm, but I guess I was a late bloomer.

Terence: So I mean, do you feel like you didn’t have rhythm back then. Is something that you learned along the way?

Carlos Cinta:
I don’t think it was true. But then again, I was always too shy to dance, which surprised. Nothing’s changed. I still can’t get on stage and perform because I’m too shy. I get stage fright, crap my pants, deer in headlights, all that. And so I being on stage is not a good idea. So it was just, nah, but I guess the more I started the dance, I guess my mom always said, I know you’re going to be a dancer since you were two.

So you’re growing up sports and everything at what point, I guess, did you realize that you weren’t going to go professional? I guess you just stopped trying to injuries or what?

Carlos Cinta:
Injuries and I like this question because I coach football and I try to instill in the kids about work ethic and when you’re 18 you’re one of the stars on the team, you go D1, you play as a true freshman and blah. You’re good so you kind of get a little ego, but it wasn’t that like I thought, Oh, I’m just better than everybody and then you and your coach, you don’t get along. And so you’re like, Oh, well cool then I’m chilling. But in college, what a lot of kids don’t understand, is this a business, especially at the higher level, you go, Oh, just need to win games. So it’s basically, Oh, you’re going to sit down. Hey you, let’s go. You’re in. what? Wait it’s too late. You want to chill? Go ahead sit back. I had to learn the hard way about a lot of thing, I feel like I can only be mad at myself. I kind of wasted my talent wasted my opportunity. Then concussion is the shoulders or this to that. It’s just like, I still hard headed. Still want to play couldn’t leave it.

I feel like the only thing I can say like, just like really generic advice, but I feel like everything happens for a reason, right? What position were you?

Carlos Cinta: Running back, I always tell people guess by my body frame, but we’re on the camera, so I like, I play Running back.

Terence: I mean, that’s a very physically demanding position?

Carlos Cinta: And I’ve never been really a big guy, but best believe I was quick.

Terence: Yeah. I can see it. I saw YouTube videos, you was slim dudes. I could see that. What school did you go to? What were you majoring in?

Carlos Cinta: I played at Toledo and it’s funny, I always tell people my major was football. I just want to play football. But I went for communications and education, so I was like working with, because let’s just say life happened. I ended up going to a different school and I finished with hotel management or hospitality management. Life happen. That took place. But let’s just say life lessons.

Terence: So you’re doing your thing, you graduate, and then you say you started dancing at 25. What’s that story?

Carlos Cinta:
So it’s funny. So I was dating the girl 2003. I was dating the girl. She’s Mexican. And again, I never danced, but she enjoyed dancing so she always want to go to the Thursday night spot out here. All right, cool. Let’s go and you know how when you grow up, your mom’s or your parents or whoever would drop you off at the mall and just kind of call me when you’re ready to leave. So that’s kind of how I felt. We would walk in and then it’s usually at boo and I’ll just be sitting there just on the couch, okay, this sucks. And so pretty much because I wanted to, obviously I was interested in a woman, so I wanted to be in a relationship. I started taking classes behind her back just because you know, she just like literally she would only come over to check on me when she was tired and she needed a break. Just say having a good time out of breath. So basically I was just the Uber to get to the club. So then I started taking lessons so can I dance with my woman?

Terence: So hold on real quick. Like Salsa, Bachata what is it?

Carlos Cinta: I started with Salsa. That was bad. So I just, I picked up Bachata a lot easier. So, and then, and then you know, later on down the line I figured there’s so many people doing Salsa at the time, because that was the main thing. Bachata back then wasn’t what it is now. So I was like let me just focus on this because there was no way I’m going to be able to do that in Salsa. No way. So in that started picking Bachata easier and I just stuck with that.

Terence: I’m curious. Tell me what was the Bachata scene in Chicago in 2005 like did a small group of people, small circle?

Carlos Cinta: No, it wasn’t a scene, I mean this carried on into 2009, 2010, maybe 2011, 2012 where like you would have to beg the DJ and I mean the DJ to play a singular one Bachata song. I mean, I remember being in a club, you go through a whole Mark Anthony album before you even hear a Bachata song. So, and then there was one club, Walter, he goes DJ, he is out here and it’s the only one in that part that I like go into because he would play like three Bachata . He would play three Merengue he would play three Salsa and it was a consistent rotation. So I can do this. I like this part compared to everything else where again you only hear one may be two Bachata songs the whole night. So it wasn’t like it is now.

Terence: I’m curious, what because you to go there, was there like a small Hispanic population in Chicago like just the DJs just weren’t playing that music?

Carlos Cinta: No. Chicago actually the second biggest Mexican populated city outside of LA. It’s in the US. I got you as LA and then in Chicago, there’s a big Puerto Rican population. There’s a lot of South Americans, but you know, mostly is a Mexican and Puerto Rican a lot of the clubs in Chicago, in my opinion, maybe things are different now, but big pictures, Chicago was a Southwest city and especially back then and then everywhere too. Because when I moved to San Diego in 2005, the same situation, you had the big, the DJ, to play Bachata. Then you’ll get it. Like the last song of the night when everybody’s cleaning up lights are off. I get my one song, let’s get it in, and go home.

Terence: Definitely talk about you moving to San Diego. But, but tell me what was it like in those early stages learning Bachata what was that like for you?

Carlos Cinta: Honestly I took one month of classes ever, so everything that I do, everything that I know is basically self-taught. After one month, two months, and then one I did one private lesson and basically, I was like, okay, maybe I’ll just do the private lesson route. Because you’re taking classes at the studio, the studio got to keep the lights on so they’re not going to teach you as fast because just about retention. The longer you’re taking classes, the more that, I get it. But I was running out of money and then I took a private and I was like, yeah, I’m really not going to be able to sustain this. So pretty much I figured I had to earth shattering revelations. I was like, okay, one is that everything that I’m learning, either the teacher either made up themselves or the teacher learned it from somebody else and now the teacher me, well why can’t I just make up my own stuff? So I was like, okay, I can do this. And then I realized all got to do is, I mean, if it can go to a four count beat, you can pretty much do anything. I’m going to do from that point on, I was like, we’re done with this. And then never go to classic again.

That’s awesome. I forgot the word for that. But you know, there’s a word for that being self-taught. And that’s very impressive.

Carlos Cinta: I appreciate it. Thank you. I mean, I so with playing football and I also coach, I used to coach college football too. We stay in that film room. When you watch film and you watch film and you’re just analyzing movement know your steps, your shoulders and your pad level. Where’s your head? So all of that paying attention to detail. I can hear the head coach in my head now. So all of that, it just transfers over to teaching dance. It’s the same concept. So just watching a lot of people dance and I’ll kind of just analyzing. So it was kind of just kind of like second nature.

Terence: I’m curious. What lessons did you learn from? Like your career in football, what lessons have you learned from football that you’re able to translate to your everyday life?

Carlos Cinta: Really I’m a perfectionist. And just definitely paying attention to the little details. And analyze and movement. And those are like, the big thing that I’m on is analyzing every little step. If your shoulders are here instead of here, it will make every difference because that way, instead of going this way, when you’re dancing, if your hand is like this and it’s supposed to be like this, it will make the whole move at work. So just, and I’m talking like slow motion. That’s what I do. And that’s what it’s, do what I do to this day. But just because I want to understand it and get everything. But also just the discipline and the hard work and the time that it takes to put some to go out there and throw it together. So from coaching like the lesson plan is already, or even I used to sub teach also. So just being a teacher, like the lesson plan has got to be ready even though when you sub teach, you’re counting on somebody else’s lesson plan, but it’s just the same concept. Everything is ready. It’s an order. Okay. From this time to, so playing college ball like from two to 30 meetings from three to three 15 stress from three 15 to three 30 individual, three 30 to four o’clock is this, I’m like everything is mapped out to the minute. Well just being on time management is huge. So then that’s how I, that’s how I teach. I’ll write down a few things that I want to learn and I’ll put a little number and circle it should take 10 minutes and this should take five. It should take 25, so, okay. And then give a little buffer on each end if there’s questions or whatever.

I’m curious. Going back to analyze it moves. I guess, how can, like the regular person, like someone like myself apply that, do I need to record myself social dancing or I just record myself practicing what?

Carlos Cinta: Yeah. I mean, whether it’s yourself, whether it’s watching a YouTube video or watching somebody else just watching someone else as well. Like all of my content that I get, like I, there’s nothing that I’ve made up because again, my focus is more is teaching people how to dance with the everyday social dancer and like just the random person in the grocery store off the street. So I watch a lot of those videos and I just find a lot of common similarities. But again, I just break it down. I promise you, I go, everything is slow motion. So it’s like kind of, okay. But I like to nerd out like that.

Terence: So you do a couple months of social of classes, a couple privates and the move to San Diego. What brought you to San Diego?

Carlos Cinta: Weather. Honestly, I promise you that was it. We just had a nice, a nasty snowstorm yesterday. And then today it’s, it’s nice and green and sunny again. So it’s is random, but I mean, there’s nothing new. We live here and we complain about it every day. You just go with it. But, yeah, so a touching on that story of well on that concept of everything happens for a reason again, which I definitely believe this was to a 2000 when I go there, I moved out there and six, so we’ll call it 2005. I’m already down, graduated college and I’m just tired of these winter times. Like this is garbage man. So I’m looking at on Craigslist well, first I’m trying to find jobs in Chicago now and again, something that works with kids something’s with hotels, I had a couple of hotel jobs. I’m like, yeah, it’s just not for me. You know, I need to work with kids. I’ve worked in the YMCAs, afterschool programs everything like that so I’m on Craigslist, I’m just looking and I just start picking something wherever there’s warm weather, I promise you not it’s a true story. My mother’s in the other room. She said, what are you doing? I’m looking for jobs. Where are you looking? I was like, Oh, just somewhere in California. I’m in LA right now, on the LA Craigslisting and she’s like, try San Diego. I’m like, what? Try San Diego in the first time she talking about, I don’t even know where San Diego is, but then you know, that whole little thing. You know how like mothers always right, no matter what. Like they just have this, I don’t know what they have the superpower, but mothers are always right. So then I was like, let me trust her. I’ll just try to look at it, look it up and just started filling out jobs and I promise you, the next day my phone rang. I was like, what? So it was February 12th, I think I flew out here. I flew out to, not here, but I flew out to San Diego one job was working was a woman’s professional football team, but so as a coach and in the other job I applied for was, working with kids, but a kids with disabilities or in one of those type of facilities, to help out. So I flew out there and did the interviews on the planet as I’m about to shut my phone off, my phone rings from the kids’ facility, we want offered me the job. Hang up the phone. I promise you, as soon as I hung up the phone, did the phone ring again and it was a football team. Those were the two that I wanted of out of all the interviews that I had. So March 23rd I packed up the car. I was out a month later.

Terence: Did you drive to there? How long was that?

Carlos Cinta: I had somebody with me. It was 31 hours because again, in the Midwest it’s still snows and you know, they March. Like I said, we had a snow storm yesterday, April 14. So the first 14 hours there’s like an inch of ice on the highway. I had to drive behind the semi-truck with my backseat full to the top. Trunk is full. It was just a nasty blizzard. For the first 14 hours I’m doing like 20 miles hour. It snowed all the way to the end of Arizona from Chicago. That’s how much snow was in the US at that time. So now that I said that, next time I move, I will happily spend the money and have them ship the car drive ever again.

Terence: So tell me, what was it like living in San Diego?

Carlos Cinta: It was cool. It was definitely change of pace. San Diego was a lot slower than Chicago. It’s the best weather on the planet. Well, I’ll say, at least in the States, I haven’t been everywhere. Just man at 70 and sunny every day, actually get boring here, like Groundhog’s day. I’m like, man, can I get a cloud? Can I get something? But then when winter time comes and I’m watching the news and seeing all the blizzards and I’m at the beach on February 9th, so I’m good.

Terence: Did you continue to I guess the dance teacher yourself, what up with the dance life?

Carlos Cinta:
Yeah. So that’s where everything kind of all started, with me. Like, actually teaching in the studio and building a building the scene down there, Bachata at that time. So it was 2006 Bachata was kind of non-existent. Of course there were some people doing it. It was really like big. I mean honestly I kind of breathe life into it, that’s all I wanted to do. Bachata I remember my friend my buddy Victor, when I told her what I wanted to do and he’s like on, Oh man, that’s kind of crazy. Mainly Salsa good luck. I’m not saying it’s not going to work, but I really can’t see that taken off. That’s the worst thing to say to a competitor. Because like, Oh, you don’t, okay, hold on. I got you. So we just focused on that and it did. Well, it definitely did well. I danced a little bit different than everybody else, so it kind of copied was I. Then there’s a video on YouTube, a 2007 with me wearing the green Mexico Jersey, that’s kind of that was one of the early on YouTube was kind of getting started. But a lot of people tell me that’s the video that kind of inspired them to, to dance Bachata which is great. And again, at that time in 2007 not a lot of people were dancing like that so it just kind of caught everybody’s eye, like, Oh, what’s all that? So Oh, show me how to do this. And that’s kind of how it kind of took off. In San Diego.

Terence: I’m curious, what was it like learning to teach for you? Like what was that like teaching or learning to teach?

Carlos Cinta: I’ve been coaching since I was in high school, so like I said it transferred right over. You’re just teaching a different sport. And it didn’t, there wasn’t really a learning curve at all.

Terence: So you get out to the San Diego you start working, everything, start building up your own, I guess Bachata following. Like what makes you like Bachata so much? Or love it so much?

Carlos Cinta: Well, like I said, it was for me it was easier to pick up than Salsa. It took me two months to figure out how to execute the cross body two months. That’s no joke. So me and says we broke up a lot. But again, I just, I started to really dig the music and lamento rai was the main thing going and I liked the music at the time and it was mainly lamento rai the extreme and so we loved, we’re the main three, I guess what people would consider to be modern. So obviously there was Marcelo Honda, there was, there was everybody else. Other legends from 90s. Arlene, Santo, all those guys. Well because I wasn’t really that type of culture yet or 2009, it was more the mainstream stuff the lamento rai I was the main thing. Well what would the dancing crowd, I’ll say.

Terence: So let me ask you this man. I want to just give us like, maybe like the history of Bachata. So to my knowledge Bachata from Dominican Republic. And I didn’t even know this though. It’s, correct me if I’m wrong. My girl told me that at one point, Bachata was actually illegal in DR, is that correct?

Carlos Cinta: So here’s what I’ve heard. I really don’t like to get into history because I wasn’t there. And it’s not my culture. So I’m not Dominican. But I’ve heard that story, but at the same time, I’ve also heard that it wasn’t illegal, like by law, illegal, but it was more frowned upon based of the type of environment that it was associated with. So if you listen to that music, that means you are in the brothels, the whorehouses you’re in the low income, poor areas, music for the poor people. So a lot of people I guess as I understand it, they were ashamed or they were embarrassed like you don’t want to get caught listening to that music cause they’re not, no. Oh, you’re one of them. You’re into that type of stuff. So I’ve heard both stories. I wasn’t there. So take it for what it is.

Terence: I think you’re specialty is like Bachata musicality. Is that correct? Would you say that’s your specialty or what?

Carlos Cinta: Yeah, I mean I’ve created the system in 2010 we did that.

Terence: Well, what happens between 2006 and 2007 minutes and 2010 like you just practicing or practicing and teaching or what?

Carlos Cinta: What’s considered now to be modern Bachata. That’s what I started with. That’s what I did.

Terence: Real quick, so modern Bachata not being Dominican, I’m not even sure. Is that Dominican or no?

Carlos Cinta: These are all getting manmade terms in so I’m just I know how it was classified to me. It’s really just what people would consider that I guess would be Bachata with a lot of Salsa turn patterns. But see the funny thing is on the Island, people that Dominican’s is consider that with a whole lot of Merengue turn patterns and not Salsa turn patterns really different. The two worlds the people in DR and then the people outside of DR, its two really different languages. It’s crazy. So I was doing a lot of patterns terms and I wasn’t not a dipper. Like I’m not trying to hold nobody’s body weight. I’m not throwing out my back for nobody. But I definitely did some turn patterns. And so I did that a lot, with how I was dancing. And then in 2009 when I was living in San Diego, because it’s a big military town and there’s a big Dominican, Puerto Rican, just pretty much Caribbean population over there, they’re all station over there. So my club man shout out to JP, my club, now it’s called, La Luz Ultralounge. I used to live right by it. And that was honestly the only place in I felt comfortable, because there’s a lot of East coast people, a lot of Caribbean people and it’s a lot of loud yapping and a lot of loud trash talking, which is what I was used to. So I felt comfortable over there and in that environment. But then I noticed the music was different. And so again, shout out to my friend Kathy. So she’s Puerto Rican, she was stationed there in the army and. we danced at the club and again, I never met her. Would you like to dance shirt? And she just had this flavor. It was crazy. And so here I am with all the term patterns and here she is just you know, body movement and just all types of sassiness and I and after the dance, I promise you, I was like, I told her, I was like, man, I never danced with nobody like you before. And she said, I never danced with nobody like you before because she wasn’t used to all the term patterns. And I was confused. I was like, because again that’s what I thought, well this is how people, that’s my Bachata. So then I started paying more attention to the dance floor and I’m like, Oh nobody really does this. Because this is known as the Dominican club. So you know, it’s just a lot of Dominican’s in there, Venezuelans, Puerto Ricans and then I obviously used to be in San Diego a lot of Mexican, which is normal. It’s just the normal Latino club.

Terence: Real quick, real quick, is it safe to say that you categorize like Dominican Bachata by the foot work or nah?

Carlos Cinta:
That’s what sold to people. So honestly, now don’t get me wrong, it’s part of the dance, right? Like when you cook a steak, you put the salt and pepper on it. It gives him more flavor. Yes. But the main thing is that big as juicy piece of meat and that his body movement, playfulness, musicality did a lot of rotations, a lot of different shapes on the dance floor. Fun changing, different levels. I’m high, I’m squatting down now I’m moving my shoulders. I’m moving my butt now, it’s all of that. And then we sprinkled on your salt, pepper, whatever you put on it. I heard this from somebody, I want to say it was Josie out in Australia. I can’t remember. But she was given the analogy of like footwork is the salt and pepper that you put on the, on your meat. But what happens when you put too much salt and too much pepper on? You ruin it. But in the business world, right in the Congress world, that’s what attracts people is how like, check out last week. But now all the work sizes one hour long. Well who does a one hour sequence? Nobody does that. So it’s just how it’s sold to people and packaged and you know there’s the sparkly lights and the glitter is what attracts people obviously. But that’s not the dance. It really is not. It’s part of it. Don’t get me wrong is part of it, but it’s not okay here we go. Ready for this Ready? Let’s say a song is four minutes, right? Let’s say you do a eight count footwork pattern, which really usually everything is basically four counts. Maybe if you want to extend on like a long sequence, eight comes in in real time. How long does it take to do that? That eight counts. Maybe two to five seconds. . So you do two to five seconds of a footwork Sign. That’s a whole debate. Some people want to argue about that. I don’t care. Let’s say footwork Sign, let’s say 10 different patterns, 10 different cool things. So I know 10 patterns and each one will give, I’ll give you five seconds, because you know, at two to five I’ll give you the best case scenarios. What are you doing for three minutes and 10 seconds? You got to go back to the base. You got to dance with your partner. You do it with another human being. She want to have or he whatever your partner wants to have fun too. But if you were just like attack and they’re just watching you. I tell you, look, just get on the table. Let me throw out some singles. If you go dance for us it’s like don’t dance for me. Dance with me. So that’s why I focused more on that, how to dance with people, the connection, the frame, the body movement, the playfulness, the musicality and then other people could do footwork. That’s totally fine because again, it’s part of the dance, but if more than whatever that is. 80% of the dance or whatever is partner work or partner dancing. I think you should more than your forward stuff.

Terence: I think the sign is, you said that’s how you show off, right? That’s how you a peacocking right?

Carlos Cinta:
I would say yes, but you know, some people they liked that and that’s but you know, can do you know how to dance with a person.

I want to ask you, I saw this video, I saw part one on your Facebook man about, you know what I’m saying? I’m dancing the basic with your partner. Let get your opinion on, because I don’t think you answered it. Do you think that’s boring for either parties to do to go back to the basics?

Carlos Cinta: No, because it’s not about doing the basics. It’s how you do your basis. If you step, step that that’s boring. That’s very boring. I didn’t answer the question because I didn’t need to answer the question. Like there was nothing for me to say and that’s why I did that and that’s why I did it in the class in real time. I could give my opinion but it was a gentleman asking the question and he was basically saying sometimes he feels that he needs to fill in the whole four minute song when he, while he’s dancing with a woman, he needs to fill it with turns and dips and sequences and patterns and all that stuff. Because he’s, he’s afraid that if he does the basic or too much of the basic that his partner will, will be bored with the dance. And then he asked me if I thought that’s correct or you know, my opinion on that. And I love that question. And a lot of us feel that way because we’re, we’re, we’re trained to think that no, you need to do stuff because very few teachers will focus on the basics in class. So if all you’re learning is stuff while you’re so constantly thinking, yo, I like this stuff, this is what I need to do. So I can be an advanced dancer so have the lady have a good time. But instead of hearing it from my mouth and other leads mouth, let’s ask the followers and see what they say. And the majority, there was only one person that said, yeah, that’s boring. Every other follow in there. No, please do more basics. Let me like, but it’s that that happened in Detroit and the next weekend it happened in Chicago and it was the same result. It’s the same result everywhere. But a lot of leaders, we don’t take the time to actually listen. It’s a thing. I get it. Men need too, we need to be better communicators and listeners. Yeah, I get it in real life. Okay, whatever. But the same thing, but the same concept applies to when we’re dancing. And again, doing turns is fine there’s nothing wrong with that. But to fill the whole dance with turns because I’m the one turning them. Meanwhile the ladies over to like, she’s sweating her butt off. So what happens next song, same cycle. Meanwhile we’re like, what wrong why are you out of shape? Because you’re not getting turned 50 times during the song. Like I said, it’s, not wrong to do basics and it’s not wrong to do patterns. It’s just again, I’m always about balance. Try to balance it out. But at the same time, what is the music? So if it’s a softer song maybe this doesn’t call for all the hammer locks and all that know how to do some songs do, some songs don’t. But it’s more about musicality. Also you got to gauge your partner. How am I as a lead and how is she as a follow like for me in Salsa to this day, I don’t know how to lead a double turn or a triple turn. So I’m like, I have some limitations as a leader. I’m not going to try something I don’t know how to do. But at the same time, let’s say if I do know how to do that and I’m dancing with my partner can she follow that? So if she can’t, I’m not going to try to, I’m not going to try to do it? So it’s really communicating with each other. It’s a two way street. Also listening to the music that has got a factor in and then just making sure that everybody has a good time. And I had a video don’t out dance your partner. It can be discouraging for them. And then now they’re just scares. They don’t want to come back to the social, to the Congress, to the club, to the party. To the whatever and you know, they could end up being a great teacher, but because of that, they had their first impression or that first dance that they had with somebody, he was I don’t know James Brown, the first dance and now they like, well damn, well this sucks. I don’t want to do this. Like, they put their head in up the tail and they don’t want to come back.

Terence: I want to ask you this though, I’m not a teacher or anything, but how does somebody get better at musicality? And when I think about this, is it just listening to that music more like how are, how else, what are the ways can people improve upon musicality?

Carlos Cinta: Honestly, I think it comes from learning how to listen to music, if there’s musicality classes out there, not everyone and not all musicality classes are created equal. A lot of musicality classes, they will take a certain ten second section of a song and you’ll do something that mimics whatever the music is doing. Which is again, that’s fine. That’s part of musicality. But that’s like the, whatever the word is, the micro scale. I look at it from the macro point of view to where, so you’re telling me that unless that song is playing, you can’t dance musically to it. I just learned these cool moves. But does that work to the next song? Does it work till the next time? No, it was tailored for that song. So just understanding the structure of things and how things could work in different ways to interpret music and then going and practicing it. So a lot of it, not practicing moves, but practicing listening to music. You got to listen to music, listen to music, and then you’re going to recognize patterns. Oh this is consistent with this. And then it could cross over again you take that concept, it’ll cross over to another genre of music, whether Kizomba, Salsa, Merengue, whatever. You just try to apply how you listened to this genre of music and now we’ll do, does the same concept work with this genre of music and it just comes from practice of listening to music.

Terence: Yeah. I think, is like that repetition, right? You start to notice that pattern and everything.

Carlos Cinta:
Right. I mean there’s a lot of ways that I figured out with Bachata I get out. I’m not a musician. I didn’t, I have nothing to do with the creative process of putting music together. But I am a music junkie. I love listening to music. And then like I notice things that happened in the music and I know Joan Soriano and his band is a good friend of mine. So I would ask those questions and how do you know so much about the music? Because I asked questions like if you don’t ask questions, how are you supposed to learn something? When and because you know, again, because I’m a nerd and I like to get into little details about stuff, I would ask questions and he would answer it. But then what I think more people should also do is now go back and, and listen and see if what they said is accurate or consistent and not to show up your teacher or whatever, but this has happened to more than one song. So I would listen. I’m like, yeah, it happens here. Damn, it happens here. But then as I’m listening, I noticed something else so I would go back. You know what else I noticed? I also noticed this. So when we do this, then that means this is going to happen. When we do that means this is going to happen. I was like, damn, there’s more, so it’s just uncovering more knowledge back and listen to more music. This is what happens in sort of because I was just so fascinated by it and it was so interesting and I was like, I will make a class out of this and I turned a one class ended up turning into three classes. Because I was like, if this is interesting for me, maybe it’s interesting for somebody else to breaks up the monotony of learning a turn pattern in this class, next hour learning another term pattern. I mean you take eight workshops, you learn eight patterns. There’s only so much you can remember.

Terence: I’m curious, man. Have you ever taught at the Miami Salsa Congress?

Carlos Cinta:
Not yet. The one that just happened last week or two weeks ago.

Terence: I went a couple of years ago and I took a musicality class I was curious. I don’t know who’s with you or not. I forgot who is with?

Carlos Cinta:
No it wasn’t me. Like the Miami Salsa Congress.

So I’m curious, I want to talk about Joan Soriano as well. I know that you were with him, but tell me, so going back to 2005 and you’re a doing your thing. I’m curious, are you a professional, like teaching you’re a full time gig now or nah?

Carlos Cinta: I do a lot of things, so I teach, a DJ, I edit music, I coach, I coach football right now working. So I kind of like to do a lot of things that I like to do. So I’ve been fortunate to be able to travel the world but I’ve never left football like my, my passion. Because again, the kids had a future, to me that has a bigger impact than Bachata or teaching dance. Because you’re molding a young, man or sometimes women play too. We know you just molding a young, they got a lot longer to go and so it kept me off the streets and I figured my way of giving back to keep, to help other kids not make the same mistakes that I did in life, which can really have a lot of consequences later on. I focus more on that or I care more about that I guess than I do the dance world. But I do love teaching.

Terence: That’s awesome. I was curious. I guess at what point did you I guess you want to start taking dance on a serious, was it once your boy challenge you saying you couldn’t do it or what made you start taking dance series?

Carlos Cinta: I did get challenged once and that’s kind of what started this whole thing. But it was actually in 2005 when I was still here in Chicago. So actually I took it more serious in 2004. So 2003 I kind of dip my toe in the water just so again, I can learn how to dance with my girl at the time. We ended up breaking up 2003 I was that 25. So we ended up breaking up 2003 to early 2004 you know, and I’m 25 at the time and I’m like, come on, single guy, I still got a little of residual football body look more like I’m not ugly. But I’m funny, I’m a nice catch. And then going out to the Spanish clubs, Whoa, look at all these wow beautiful women. So I realized that honestly the majority of them, they just want to dance. They don’t care what you look like, they don’t care what you’re wearing. As long as you can dance, you’re good. Because they have culture standing on the wall holding on the wall you the cool guy, Spanish club you’re not the cool guy holding up the wall. You need to be on the floor. I was like, damn, I got to learn how to do this. So I just kept going. I stayed with it a 2004, I started dancing with another lady. And like we practiced a lot and a lot with the Bachata. And so then we would always go out again that Monday night spot and we would just do our stuff and people would see it. And a couple of my friends show me how you did that, showing me how to did that and I would teach them, because you know, obviously I had to figure it out for myself. Yeah. I knew how to teach it to them. And then they were like, Oh you should start teaching with our friend Jillian. You know, she’s doing Salsa class at this Mexican restaurant. Like, I can’t teach Salsa. I’m not a dance teacher. Like I can explain to you guys what I’m doing because I know how to explain it. But so anyway, they ended up talking me into doing that and I actually liked it cause you know, you meet all walks of life. Like I had one time it was weird, like I had a judge in my class, like I judge a court house judge and he’s looking, asking me for advice and you know, asking me questions on like, it should definitely be the other way around. I should be asking your life questions and stuff like that. But, so I was like, that’s actually cool. You know, you meet people that actually genuinely appreciate what you’re doing and for whatever people are going through in life at the time and dance kind of helps at least take away that pressure for the moment. So I enjoyed it and somehow, like you said, it just fell into my lap. I never wanted to be a teacher ever.

Terence: So I’m pretty sure you’re going to be like, episode 40. And I talked to a lot of instructors. And I think like they all told me they had no intentions of becoming teachers. It’s kind of crazy?

Carlos Cinta: Again, I never wanted to dance not in my plans, I just, I was just doing it so I could dance with her. So it just happened. I think of a 50 cent, I don’t really listen to a lot of his music, but back in the day he always said, this is God’s plan homie. This aren’t mine. And I was like, yeah. This was definitely not my plan if it was to be on TV playing football this aren’t my plan.

Terence: I’m curious, what changed in 2009 for you? Is that when you met Joan Soriano like what happened? How did, how did that come about?

Carlos Cinta: I met him in 2010. So we’ll get into that store. So the, the challenge, we’ll just call it the challenge. This is what this is what sparked the whole thing. So again, so I danced with Kathy. I met the Dominican club. I’m starting not to pay more attention to how things are different with a different culture. And so that Sunday all the Dominican’s Puerto Rican is everybody, all the South Americans, we would all get together and play softball because it’s 70 and sunny every day. California play softball year round. And so when your softball, there is alcohol, there is music and it’s a big party and sports. So the girlfriends would bring all of the food and the guys we’d be on the speakers and that’s when I really, like they would play their music from like, Oh this is how they party to their music and you know, the Merengue they listened to Merengue Tipico, which is a lot of accordion I have never heard before. So what is this in? And you just see them, how they party. And that just opened my eyes more and I started, now I’m really paying attention. So that’s 2009 and then, so then at one time now, now I’m in Australia later on in April, I’m in a Bachata festival and I will leave this person’s name out. But I asked this person, about how to teach Dominican Bachata, because they were doing it somewhere else. And again, I put Dominican Bachata in air quotes because there’s really no such thing. But again, it’s just how it was labeled and sold. In the Congress world. And so he tells me that basically no offense but you’ll never be able to teach it. I said, Oh really? He meant that as a, I guess at this towards it’s just the person that he’s a jerk. But like he doesn’t mean to be a jerk. That’s just the person that, so once you understand that about him, then then you just cool it. It’s like how he is. I guess is this the stereotype of how East coast people are rude or whatever? Like I don’t think they’re rude at all. I love East coast people, but to somebody that’s not from there, if somebody has never really understood them, then to them, all the rudest and meanest people on the planet. So once I learned that about this person, that’s just, that’s just his personality. So basically you’ll never able to do that. No American teacher will ever be able to, to teach it and then he just goes on for a million reasons why. And again, going back to that whole competitive thing, that’s the last thing you want to tell to a competitor ever. So like from that, it was just, I mean, I’m full steam ahead. I’m asking questions, I’m doing watching videos. I’m trying to figure things out, like, because now it was personal and he told me, you should follow this dances they really have what it takes in my head, I’m like, I’m just as good as they are. So then it just became I was like Denzel I was a man on fire that was a wrong thing to tell me. So in 2010, I was in DC teaching at the at the DC Bachata festival. And ironically Soriano manager, because he lives in New York. He was at that festival and I would teach with Soriano’s music. So I met him and I was like, Oh wow, you’re the manager. I a little star struck and it was really cool. And so then ironically that October of 2010 Soriano was going on tour and he was going to do a show in Chicago. So that was the first time I met him in Chicago. And I was star struck. I was fan girling or whatever they call it. And then I want to say 2011 is when we did a project and we went to, it was 2011 or 10 this one of those when we went to Dominican Republic to film the DVD, the Bachata breakdown DVD. So that was my first time to DR. And then that’s when like everything just completely, I just completely threw away everything that I did because my eyes were completely open to not the dance with the culture. And everything that is encompassed with what by chapter means to Dominican’s. And so for me, I was like, man, if I’m supposed to be quote unquote teaching Dominican Bachata, I’m supposedly the voice of a culture that’s not mine and what they’re doing looks nothing. Well maybe I should say what I’m doing looks nothing and I was just like, and I’m just because we’re going out to different clubs and different places, I was like, man, I’ve been lying to the people that have taken my classes. My mom always told me you do what’s right no matter what, people are going to like it. People are not going to like it, but no matter what you do is right. So I was like, I can’t do this anymore. So I literally threw away all of my content that I was, and I took a lot of video, because it was an experience for me. And then I again, I just, I went back to the lab, back to the drawing board and I’m watching video after video after video and I’m just kind of paying attention to what they’re doing. And this was the time where I met Adam definitely a great dude out of Denver, Colorado.

Terence: He does the documentary right?

Carlos Cinta: He filmed the documentary of Soriano.

Terence: Hold on. I wanted to talk about all of this band, but forget this. Tell me what was so different about the Bachata in DR? Like what were you able to dance with the follows there or like what you were not even able?

Carlos Cinta: I had one dance and I was terrible because again, just the way they move and it’s just, it wasn’t the set left, right. So just everything was different than movement. The frame, the shapes of the dance with on the floor, everything was different. So I dance one time and that was it. And I ate a nice piece of humble pie a big piece. I was like wow. But again, it was good because if I’m supposed to be representing a culture. Especially that’s not mine. I got to do what is right. So I started asking a lot more questions and analyzing a lot more videos until it was at least I wanted it to be where somebody in Caribbean or Dominican would actually watch what I’m doing and say, yeah, that’s Bachata. That’s the only prove that I ever wanted, I don’t care if other people like what I do or not. It makes no difference because again, it’s not my dance, it’s not my culture. So I wanted to respect that of the Dominican people. So whatever I did, whatever I talk, I wanted them to look at it and say yes, we liked it. We’re okay with that.

Terence: Let me ask you this. I want to get caught up on words, but what can like myself or the people would do if we want to learn that authentic, we’re taught to man, is it away Bachata? What can we do? Is it just go on YouTube? Go to congresses? Like what could we do?

Carlos Cinta: So my opinion would be, and again, everybody’s going to have different opinions. My first thing would be what is your goal? So when I say that, I mean because like there’s a lot of cool stuff that’s out there. There’s definitely a lot of cool stuff. So are you looking for cool stuff or are you looking for what I call like accuracy? Do you want to be able to move and look the way that everyday normal person looks versus the way that your favorite teacher looks? Because the majority of the teachers teach you how to dance like them. And again, that is totally fine. My goal as a teacher was to teach you how to dance like the everyday person so there’s not a lot of flash to it. But again, it’s a different understanding. It’s a different mindset that they dance with. They don’t dance to be seen, they danced to just enjoy the dance, to forget about the pain, the struggle whatever for whatever reason. But it’s not quote unquote necessarily to be on a stage holding a trophy. So I would be very selective on who I would learn from. If your intention is to you. I just want to be able to dance. I want to be able to go to the DR or wherever and dance with a local and not feel like a jerk or not look like an idiot. And then also you mentioned the YouTube thing. This also hit me to where a lot of times people will type in Dominican Bachata. And then what type of videos do you get?

Terence: I say everybody uses that Dominican, so it’s going to be a mixture, right?

Carlos Cinta:
You will get the congress videos, remember the Congress, people don’t dance like the people in the Caribbean the majority of them, again, not that either one is right or wrong, better or worse, it’s just they just dance two different ways. So then I started thinking, cause you know, I’m, I’m getting all the videos of all the teachers. And again, this is back in 2009 2010 and I’m like, but there’s got to be videos. So then I started thinking, wait a minute to the Dominican’s, they don’t call it Dominican Bachata , there’s no such thing as Dominican Bachata they call it Bachata Colmadon like store, like a seven 11/7 basically quote unquote you get your liquor, you get your water, you get your fruits, whatever. So people dance over there they so you just you have to type like the Dominican or you have to talk slash think how a Spanish speaker will, we would take it, you say it like C. O. L. M. A. D. O. N. So you have to talk like that or you type in so instead of Bachata dance, they don’t write in English when they upload the videos is not English. So that’s why you’re getting a lot of the English speaker stuff. And I was like, Oh yes that makes so much sense. And so then when I put that or you can put Bachata Dominicana then you started to get a lot of little, this is it. And it’s just video people in the living room, people in the backyard people at the beach. And I’m like, okay. So then I just started downloading all those things and I just started watching it and I’m talking some serious film work was put in hours. But that’s because again, I like if I’m going to teach somebody, I need to completely revamp everything that I’m doing and represent this culture. So it wasn’t about me at that time. I’m not trying to lie to the people that had no idea. Like I didn’t have any idea. So you just got to word it differently on YouTube if that’s what you’re trying to find.

Terence: I understand that. So like you’re dedicated to it. You serious about this?

Carlos Cinta: Yeah. It’s just integrity. I wish more people had it. Is the way I was raised, so my mom gets the credit for that.

Terence: So you go to the DR your eyes get wide open. You come back and you say you started doing the DVD or what happens when you come back?

Carlos Cinta: No. So we filmed the DVD over there. We know what the actual musicians in the recording studio. It’s a lot cheaper to do it there and then they bring all the musicians here. It was the breakdown. So we had the CD, which we did I kind of put it all together. So Ben is Soriano manager and obviously been, has all the access to all the different tracks. So in my head I kind of formed how we would do this. And then in 2011 or 2012 or something like that, I think it was Ben’s idea to come up with a DVD about it. Well, just sort of musicians can actually see or so the people can see the musicians playing it. And I was like, yeah, I think we’re on to something here, Ben. Some flew out there. It’s in that time period actually the CD came out in 2010, a DVD, 2011 or 2012, maybe we filmed it in 2011 and released it in 2012. That sounds about right. And again, that was just a whole learning experience because to actually see it live and now you’re in the recording studio is like, again, I’m a kid in a candy store because I just love watching this stuff from like, this is dope. It’s supposed to sit pretty much the same structure but now in video format, how they’re doing it. So it was a great experience, no. To be there and to be able to do that with Soriano and his managers and his musicians. That was great.

Terence: So what happens after that, and is the DVD still out? Can still people still get that DVD?

Carlos Cinta: It’s out. It’s kind of awkward to get in there’s a few links that have it and this is where you will learn my biggest flaw and that is marketing and . stuff like, I focused so much just on the teaching because that’s what I’m saying, not really realizing like your social media, your marketing, all that stuff is important more important than the actual teaching, I always forget about it. So I I want to say you can either look on IASOE I A S O E I know the DVD was available on that website or there is the DVD may be available on that. So there’s a CD and a DVD. Both are called Bachata breakdown. Because we’re breaking down all the different instruments, all the rhythmic sections, everything a, it’s called Bachata breakdown. And then the DVD is called Bachata breakdown nvivo, which means live. So, N. V. I. V. O the live version. And then again, there’s a bunch of bonus footage. So there’s a lot of, we went to a dance contest out there or you footage of that again, watching the locals dance at their local establishment. There’s constantly footage of that. So you could actually see it like live now. So then one musician at a time and now you’re out of the recording studio, you see it actually performed or dance too.

Terence: So let me ask you this. So you get back from the DR and you said you had to scrap everything. How did you change as a person or as a dancer I guess?

Carlos Cinta: Very slowly. The toughest part was finding somebody to practice with. Well not necessarily that, but finding somebody that actually moved dances that way. If you take a train dancer and you take somebody that comes fresh from the islands it’s not going to work two complete different ways of moving. And as I’m breaking down the video and I’m practicing with myself like, okay, I got it, but I don’t know, am I doing it right? Because I actually need to feel it from the other end. And not being in that environment made it more challenging, I guess, to practice what I’ve been assessing. It was a long process. And again, there’s still a lot that I’m learning there’s a lot and then people that are still constantly coming. Like, what I’m learning now, so Edwin and Dakota I look up and I look up to Adam and then Ricky Ananda he’s a musician that actually taught at the school the Bachata Academy, I want to say in Dominican Republic. But like just a lot of information, a lot of great stuff. So Edwin and Dakota do a class called, Bachata regional styles and Edwin is Dominican and, basically how they explain how like different regions of the Island, well, different regions of Dominican Republic. They dance differently? Kind of like the accent in Alabama is different from New York is different from whatever else. So again, a lot of people would think, Oh, well Dominican I to everybody dances like this. But that’s why a lot of us say that there’s no such thing and there’s no one style because over here is different from how people dance over here, which is different from how they dance over there. They’re all Dominican. There’s just so much to see. And the true story, what was validated. His class is as I was at a festival in China. It was a Shanghai Bachata, I can’t remember 2016 maybe. So I’m DJing mine in my own business. I look across the room and I see somebody moving the way how Edwin was talking about in this class, I was like, he’s Caribbean and he’s Dominican. And then, and then I started looking again and I was like, wait a minute. He’s from the East coast. Look back again. Wait a minute. He’s from New York. Look back again. He’s from the Washington Heights, which freaked him out because I got to know now, like I’m in China, I’m not going to see this, do it again. So I like that. I got to ask him. So I asked him I was like, you Dominican? He was like, yeah, you from the East coast? Like, yeah. I was like, you’re from New York? Yeah. Washington Heights? But he believe me, I was like, you’re not going to believe him if I told you. And by the way I talked about the class and I was like, you just explained that how the way people move, you can kind of pretty much GPS and then pinpoint to where he’s from. So the fact that I’m in China and I see a random stranger, he’s moving, I can tell what he is, where he grew up in like what state he grew up in, what city and like what part of that city. So you out there, if you’re listening, if you see Edwin and Dakota and you see them teaching Bachata regional styles, it is a really cool class and it’s very accurate.

Terence: I’m curious, I guess at this point in your life, how would you define a success? Y at this stage in your career and your life? How would you define success for you? I guess teaching everything, right? So is there, is your ultimate goal to just be a football teacher and a dance teacher, or like what’s your ultimate goal?

Carlos Cinta: Coach. But I’m definitely grateful for all the opportunities that I have teaching dance, because I love, I love teaching dance almost as much as I love coaching. But definitely I would rather teach than dance, to be honest with you. I tell people I’m not a dancer and I guess I’m not that I don’t like dancing, but I don’t really like dancing.

Terence: You mean that even social dancing, you don’t even really like that?

Carlos Cinta: But I am a music junkie. When I first learned, even to this day I will go and I was sitting right next to the subwoofer and I just want to hear loud good music. I enjoy watching people dancing. I have no problem people watching and I have a good time. But like dancing 75 songs in a row is not for me I’ll do it well.

Terence: I guess is your musicality like your most popular class, is that what you or you do you still do like turn pattern class? You still do that at all?

Carlos Cinta: I had got away from the turn pattern classes because that was basically what I was known for probably 2007 to 2010, 2011 now I focus more on musicality and movement. Again, so the way that, like the, the non-technically trained dancer moves is completely different from the technically trained and I feel that body movement is so much harder than turning. If you’re stiff, if you can’t move, you will be exposed. And it’s, it’s challenging, but at the same time you don’t have to remember anything anymore, which is why I gravitated towards that. I was like, wait, what? So I don’t have to remember guide turned lady turn hammerlock I don’t have to remember anything. I could just go out there and move my body as the music moves me. Sign me up for that. Because I’m not trying to think, okay, I just want to do right react. So movement and musicality is what I is what I focus on the most.

Terence: For myself and others who might not be able to take when your classes. How can we improve our body movement?

Carlos Cinta: What I would recommend, whether there’s a couple of wait, a shameless plug warning. I have a lot of video lessons, 125 videos, to be specific where I have my own video lessons, where I break down musicality, timing, there’s a folder of partner work. So like dancing, how do I dance? How do I move? Just pretty much how to dance Bachata. I have a folder for footwork. So that definitely reach out to me on Facebook, Carlos Cinta or email CC Bachata the number1@gmail. com the website is There’s a contact button there. But definitely get 125 videos. Everything broken down, step by step of what we’re doing. Definitely we’ll, we know improve. There’s a lot of movement on there a lot. So it’s definitely some people pay for because it’s pretty much my whole by Bachata brain on a USB. So again video files, 60 days of content, very busy for a long time because it’s challenging. But then also besides that I would recommend or yeah, just that people take other styles of dance. So some of my best dances, ironically they’re not with teachers like they’re just with the average everyday person. Some of them are teachers, but the majority of them have just been people that just dance. But they could dance Bachata, they could do all kinds of Salsa. So they can do Kizomba, they can do Merengue and they can do Cha-Cha. They can do, I mean, you go down, they do modern, not modern, but tried to be like modern contemporary dance are dancers, all of that body movement and understanding and coordination. So take hip hop classes just being able to being I guess aware, aware of your body and not being shy or embarrassed to kind of like be yourself. So that’s what I was looking for. And all of that. I’m not saying you have to do every one of those. But I honestly feel that if you only dance one dance, if you only do Bachata that is it, you’re just capping you’re limiting your own potential. Like not that you’re going to be a bad dancer, but the people that can do multiple will be so much better. And I gave the analogy with because when I was growing up playing football and my football coach said, I don’t want football players on my team. I want athletes play baseball, play basketball, play football, run track, play tennis, swim, do all of that stuff because all of those movements, all those skills take over and vice versa. And also it just makes you a more well-rounded dancer.

Terence: That makes a lot of sense because you’re going to learn more from like different things. And so once you’ll be able to incorporate ever thing you learn?

Carlos Cinta: Because it’s just playfulness. It’s just as body movement. Like again, unless I’m wrong, there is no such thing as a Bachata move like whatever I do on Bachata, I’m sure you could do something else. And as long as I can figure out the timing of it to a different dance, for example, just take a body roll in Bachata you can body roll in Salsa. So there’s no such thing, in my opinion as a strictly yes. I’m just dancing, you’re expressing yourself. And definitely I’ve never taken like those Africa urban movement classes. They’re hard because that’s a lot of coordination, a lot in them tiny little muscles and control that you didn’t even know that you had. Because you don’t use those muscles. In other types of dance we’ll definitely strengthen other areas of your bodies and then just, you’ll be able to control your body so much better in everything you do.

Terence: I always ask my guests for beginners who feel that they’re stuck in their beginners ret. A lot of times some of the answers I get is to go dancing different dance. It makes sense that, because you incorporate what you learn back into it. So yeah. I want to ask you that same question though for beginners who feel like they’re there in the beginner’s ret in Bachata, how can they get up there? And how can they improve?

Carlos Cinta: So what I did, I walked away and I’m not saying this is the answer, I’m saying this is what works for me. Again, going back to the Salsa, so it took me two months to figure out how to do with the cross body and that is embarrassing. I couldn’t do it. So like sometimes you want some to so bad, like you just go and now you’re trying to force it and now whatever I’m trying to hit a home run and I’m practicing actually practicing bad habits. When it’s just completely off, I’m trying to throw as hard as I possibly can or run as fast as I can, but I’m tightening up my body because I’m trying to force it while I’m actually running slower. So for me, what I did is I walked away, because I was mad. Like I’m done. I don’t want to do this. And I promise you right over there is the exact spot when I was cooking something is when I figured out the cross body lead, not in the classroom. I was cooking and I always cook with music and I was like, wait a minute. But I wasn’t taking any classes. I was done with dance and I was over it and sometimes just walk away. Pick up maybe pick up a different dance or pick up a different hobby. And I come back to it and you just got to refresh the system. Sometimes that could be good. That’s what I did. And not saying that’s for everybody or maybe I know some people when they want to get out of that Ret, like they’ll go to, I’m just using the city as an example. And not to say that this is the only place, but some people would go to New York and train with other teachers you can go anywhere and train. You could go overseas, you do whatever you want, but they’ll seek out people that you know good established teachers and they’ll train with them or you know, take private lessons get that one on one attention. Because a lot of times in a class setting, it’s kind of difficult. It is for the teacher to really nitpick at let’s correct this and fine tune things. And don’t be afraid to fail also a big one, mess up. But I think the important thing is knowing where you mess up so at least what to fix. I think that that would come from private lesson or just training under, I guess good teachers to where they can spot, Oh look at your hand. That’s what it is right there. Look at it. Fix that. And then you’ll be able to fix it.

Terence: I’m curious, you are in the cloud and this beautiful lady asks you to dance some Salsa. You going to dance Salsa are you going to say no?

Carlos Cinta: Anytime somebody asks me to dance, I say yes. If not my friends because they know I don’t like dancing and they do it on purpose. Especially if it’s this song, like can I just listen to my song please. If a student or somebody, I always say yes. It’s because I’m not passionate about dancing, which again but you are a dance teacher? I will teach. I’d have done it before. I’ve taught 10 hours in a day. Like I will teach all day long. Promoters fill me up, give me as many classes as you want. I don’t care because I love teaching. That’s awesome. And then that’s like I think if I was on a date and it’s just me and the person, whatever again, a hypothetical situation, me and a person go on a date and we’re just at a club dancing. I’ll dance all night with her. Because you know that that’s what we’re there to do. But it’s just like the song after song after song. Some people a bit like that I can’t do it. But again, if it’s a student or somebody that I don’t know, I will say yes every time. So that guy, and I will also get my disclaimers like me and Salsa no, I’m not the best. My main thing is I always tell him I will keep timing and I’m not going to tear your arm off. Some people say like an old man or like my grandpa and the kitchen. That’s what I do. Yeah. But because I hate sweating. I don’t know where there’s weird for athletes to say it. Every time I’ll get sweat in my eyes, I get pissed off. I rushed for a hundred yards, I don’t like sweating. So my mood, my moves are always small, compact and more playful. I’m lazy. I’ll take it. That’s me. But, but that’s the beauty. Like we’re the lazy people. You dance with us and when you got that energy, you go dance with those people. That’s great. That’s fine. Like I’m your brake rest. No problem for me.

Terence: So my passion, I’m be honest with you. I like Bachata but my passion is Kizomba, that’s where I thrive and if you lazy me, think it’s perfect for you. Let me ask you this, for people who are intermediate dancers and they want to get to that advanced level, what does it take for them to progress?

Carlos Cinta: I think it all depends on what people’s interpretation of the word advanced is. So for me, I don’t believe in levels. And I’ve always thought like this. And then I heard an interview with Quinn [Inaudible 01:30:03] which is Kizomba guy. He’s up there on the food chain. Quinn cool people. I met him one time. I’m a fan of the guy personally, definitely liked the guy. But so I don’t believe in levels. And here’s why? Let’s say me and you go take a jazz class or a tap dance. Have you ever taken that before? So guess what? We’re both at the same level, so I don’t believe in levels because if people, if two people or a group of people are learning something for the first time, they’re all at the same level. It doesn’t matter. You’ve got the same level. Now the people that are more experienced in that dance will probably pick it up faster, but it doesn’t mean you’re advanced. So I don’t believe in levels. So what I would do, as I say to me, you are quote unquote advanced. When you take, let’s just take whatever, take a basic move or a certain move, whatever move X and you can do that to a slow song. You can do that to a medium song and you can do that to a fast song. I like that. It looks effortless for all of them. Yeah. A certain move. And you can take a person that’s never danced whatever Bachata or something, whatever. They’ve never danced the dance before. But you can execute it with them and you can execute it with the person that is a 17 time world champion. And the move looks far less and effortless with both people. That to me is being an advanced. Sort of lead or follow. Again, just reverse the roles, whatever. But beginner there and immediate. I don’t believe in all that because if, when you put beginner on the workshop stage, how many people show up? Three. It’s their first Congress ever. Or even though it’s their first time experiencing that dance, you’re going to have three people there. You put advanced in the classroom was full classroom was full of people that struggle with timing, struggle with the basic. So, if that’s an ego thing I think. But I will try to improve. So we’ll just use it for the sake of the argument. Your intermediate dancer, I would say go back to your basics, your basic steps or whatever, but now improve those, do those with more flavor, do those with whatever. Do those with more shoulders. Do that with more booty movement, do that with more moving and more flavor. Because again there’s the, it’s hard because we’re on camera, but you know, like I saw people with theirs and I would just step one, two, three tap and I would just repeat that there’s that basic, but not the one, two, three tap. It’s the same. But just two complete different ways. Definitely I would say go backwards and take all of those basics that you know, and now add do your little upgrades you have your car, but now you have leather seats, now you’ve got a sunroof, now you got to a CD player or whatever, DVD player in the car. And it’s the same thing, you just upgraded. So now I have my basic step with shoulders, with body movement with whatever else that you can spice it up with.

Terence: I asked all my instructors, my guests that teaches that question and they all say to go to advance, go back to the basis that’s what they all say?

Carlos Cinta:
That’s where it is. It gets to appointment where everybody now social dancing is like social competition everybody trying to one up the next person. I think that’s how we got to where we are now Bachata. Like it’s not even recognized anymore. It’s just completely out there and left field out of space. Like what is this? What are we even doing? You have Bachata show in a full two minutes, two and a half minute piece. There is not one basic step. So how was this a Bachata show? It’s a show to Bachata music, right? And again, it is nothing that is not to take away from the dancing. It’s a beautiful art. It’s a beautiful dance. But are they dancing by Bachata It depends on the show. Some of them aren’t. But it’s become so competitive that, well, they’re doing A, we need to do AB, the next person is going to come and do ABC and now it’s just all over the place.

What does the word musicality mean to you?

Carlos Cinta: So to me it’s, I’ll say it’s more than so much more than taking a ten second section of one song and doing all the accents or beats to that to me is musicality is basically you’re bringing the music to life with your body, with what you’re doing. So in the calm parts of the song, you adjust to that. When a song gets more intense and the speeds up, or you get the Mambo section or whatever, and it’s more energetic and happy. Well I’m not going to say happy, but just more energetic. Do you now dancing more energetic and just being able to do the things, react to what the music is doing, you know? And then of course, you know with that you add the little bump up bump or whatever with your body moving. But it’s not going to do that. The whole song. There are feelings and emotions. You don’t even need to know the language. You need to understand like just not you need to understand, but just understanding what the overall feeling of that song is. So to give the analogy with that, I was just in Amsterdam in January and there was a song my French is terrible, Stromae the song is Formidable Never heard of the dude. I have no idea who he is. Never heard of him. And I was riding in my friend’s car and like it’s deep, it’s just straight piano and just all types of stuff. And I was like, wow. Like, you could just feel his voice, not a single clue what he’s talking about in the tone of the music. And then my friend, so she understands how she speaks French and she said like for you to even understand like just and I told her, I was like something like something happened in the song. I don’t know what it is, but like, whatever it is, this dude is going through. Like he’s seen better days. And then she would like for you to even know that that’s kind of basically what the song is about. That’s crazy. But I was like, but it’s, it’s just how the music is. And then when I saw the video I was like, damn, he’s at like rock bottom of life right now. So it’s formidable by Stromae S. T. R. O. M. A. E, I can’t remember now what it meant. Like pitiful or something like, I don’t know for those French speakers, please forgive me.

Terence: Let me see this, what is one tip that can make someone a better dancer immediately?

Carlos Cinta:
Being open minded and not putting things in the back. I got a bunch of tips, not putting things in the box. There’s so many people that just, Oh, I hate Dominican I only do this. I only do that. There’s again, so many moves, so much beautifulness crosses over to everything dance the way that you dance as another thing be you don’t worry about and get out of the mindset. It’s I would do that song or a remix. So I’m supposed to body roll. It’s a Louis song. So I’m supposed to do forward the whole song. No, you be, you dance. How you dance. Now wants to look like everybody else. It looks like the dance floor looks like a big flash mob. So don’t be afraid to be different. I can go for days and just keep learning. Again, be hungry, take privates. Oh if you can or at least take as many classes. How about that? Many different teachers as you can. Because some people will ask me should I go take classes with so-and-so they’re going to be in town? I personally will know if this person any good or not. But I’ll tell them yes, take classes because I’m not going to influence your decisions based off of what I feel. You may go there and you may love this person. And I could have taken that away from you by saying, Oh no, the trash. So learn from everybody even if it’s in the same style because a lot of teachers have different ways of explaining things. So learn from everybody, learn everything. And just be hungry to learn more. That’s what I would advise.

Terence: Let me ask you this. What upcoming events do you have going on in your life? I got your opportunity to plug yourself.

Carlos Cinta: So this weekend coming up on Easter weekend, I’ll be at the Biltmore Salsa and Bachata festival. April 19 to 21 following week after that I’ll be in San Antonio just for some Carlos workshops. May 23rd through the 30th. I’ll be in the Dominican Republic. I’ll be doing my teacher training course over there also for those of you that are interested in being and teachers or just learning, or maybe you already are a teacher, but just want to learn different ways, different methods on how to teach. I’ll be talking about that. Plus the Bachata, is a great one out in, out in the motherland over there. That’s a great festival there. June 26 second, I’ll be teaching local workshops here in Chicago. June 28th, Memphis New Orleans August nine. I’ll be out there at weekend. Nine to 12. I’ve got a few things going on out as much as I used to in the past, but I got, I got some things going on. So can’t complaint. I’m grateful that people still contact me about learning and still hungry.

When you come down there, I definitely got to take your classes. I’m excited for that.

Carlos Cinta: Do it. Because I tell people, I make you think. Do you watch football? Arian Foster he’s a really intelligent guy and he kind of does things his own way, which kind of I’m like that myself. But he was always saying that in the interview he was saying that he was thankful for his parents because they taught him how to think and didn’t tell him what to think. And I was like, yes. So in my classes like I don’t tell people whatever, do this, do that guy turned lady. Like, I teach you to move. I played the music. You’ve got to figure out how to do it on yourself. Like, well, like I teach you when to do it obviously. But the whole class, I’m not going to direct you throughout the whole entire time. Like you need to figure out how to do this on your own because you’re not going to have me in your ear every time you dancing turn now turning out, you know? So, and then especially with the musicality, like I play a lot of games slash have a lot of quizzes in there and I make it interactive. So you’re going to come in there and you’re going to learn something. Definitely. And I guess my goal with the musicality is that you never hear the music the same way again. In the great analogy a former students said is that before the class they heard the music in black and white after the class. Now they hear the music in HD. I take apart everything and now you’re going to start to notice so many different sounds in the music that you’ve heard song a hundred times as you’d never heard it 101. Because now you’re learning how to listen to music, which it seems silly, like you’re not listening or something like that. Definitely I challenged people’s understanding and challenge them how to think they’re in a class. I want you to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing what you’re doing. That’s my job.

Terence: That’s what’s up. That’s awesome. I want to thank you may have even take your time tonight to talk to me. Real quick. Let the people know how they can get in contact with you.

Carlos Cinta: So again, Facebook, Carlos Cinta, send me a message, please don’t send a friend request because those kind of get overlooked. Instagram CCBachata, the website is CCBachata. There’s a contact me button on that those are, those are the main three main three platforms that I use. And again don’t be afraid. I’ll talk about Bachata all day long. So please ask all the questions, ask where to go, ask who I recommend as teachers et cetera. Ask me anything. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll find somebody that knows it. Because I just, I like helping out I’m here for the peoples like Robin Hood.

I really want to thank you. It’s been a great conversation. I really appreciate it.

Carlos Cinta:
Definitely do a good, a good interview. Is what you want to school for?

No, not at all. I went to school for business, but I enjoy dance and I’m enthusiastic I want to learn about it. Kind of like you with Bachata.

Carlos Cinta:
I enjoyed the interview. The way float in you asked some good questions, like questions I’d never been asked about.

Terence: Now easy to talk to me. And I hope hopefully you don’t have to wake up too early. But like I said thank you so much.

Carlos Cinta:
I appreciate it. Thank you for having me in the anytime that you want to do it again, just let me know.

Hey everyone, if you made it this far to all, it’s the end of the video. I want to thank you so much. My overall goal with making these interviews and these episodes is to give a voice to dancers, you know, to give them a platform to speak their story. So if this is a value to anyone, then that that means the world to me. My overall goal is to give value to the dance community. So if you find no value in this and I urge you to please let me know where I can improve on I truly want. So, you know, just give value and content to the dance community. So please let me know how I can improve where I’m messing up because to be 100% honest with you, I’m learning along the way as I do this. I truly have. So to be able to interact with, you know, the dance community, which means the world to me because it, it gives me feedback and lets me know, you know, what I’m doing right, where I can improve upon, what I’m doing wrong, which I feel like my maybe more important. So please, if you all could comment and just let me know what you think it means the world to me. Because you know, that feedback just helps me improve. So please comment as well, please like, and subscribe. That means a lot as well. But I want to say thank you so much for just watching this because it means the world to me. I want to take you on this journey and the two left feet podcast, I’m very excited for it. So once again, thank you so much.

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