Hi Javi, it's been a long time since we wanted to ask you a few questions to get to know you better since we've been following in your footsteps as a dancer.
You are a world-renowned international artist, you never stop travelling and working in different countries, combining the weekly classes as a dance teacher, choreographer and you have appeared on television.
A magnificent trajectory that now, if you answer these questions, we will know.
So go ahead, let's hear your story.
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Photograph by Álvaro González
Could you introduce yourself by telling us who you are, where you come from and when you started dancing?
Hello, everybody. My name is Javier Padilla, I am originally from Tabasco, Mexico, and I have been living in Barcelona for almost 7 years.
I have been professionally engaged in Latin dance for 6 years, although I have had training since I was 17 years old (now I am 30).
I started getting involved in the world of salsa by accident but that has led me to train in different disciplines, first in Mexico, and then in Barcelona, until I took it to a level that has become my profession.
We are aware that your training is spectacular, but tell us a little more about your beginnings with dancing and explain to us some memorable anecdote that you have lived since you danced.
If, look, I was telling you that I started by accident, I am referring to the fact that in the 15-16 years phase I experienced an emotional situation that didn't favor me, I was in a difficult student situation because I changed from a public school to a private one, and that brought problems of adaptation in me, so I began to gain weight. A lot of weight.
Already at the age of 17, a good friend who also had weight problems, insisted on going to a Salsa Cubana school for exercise, and so I did. Heh!
On the other hand, I was born in 1986, so I grew up listening to Salsa Romántica, Merengue, Bachata, by a guy who was fascinated by Latin rhythms. In addition, my family has always loved dancing at parties, celebrations... All of this has led me to lean more towards Latin rhythms since I was a child.
Going back to the previous point, my friend finally convinced me to go to the Salsa Cubana classes of a friend of mine named Frank Cordova, to exercise and learn to dance the music I had always liked.
And that's how I got into the Salsa world, a little weird, isn't it?
Later, I realized that I liked salsa dancing more and more, wanted to know more and wanted to learn more things.
Until one day, shortly after starting Salsa Cubana classes, I met Magda Fonz, a radio broadcaster (and now very close friend of mine) from a show called Salsabor. She wanted to do the anniversary of her program and invited dancers and students, to do choreographies and at the same time, let us show our heart and passion on the dance floor without being professional... I did it and that's where everything started as an artist.
An anecdote that I will never forget was my beginnings in the world of the stage.
So, what does the dance mean to you? Why do you think people should sign up to dance?
Wow, dancing for me means a lot of things, I think it's a bottleneck where people come for different reasons, and in the end we all meet here.
For me dance means liberation, it means being, it means undertaking.
I guess a lot of people come to the dance for different reasons, be it emotional situations, exercise, learning something different and fun, or I guess other people do it more for socializing and meeting people.
I think what we all have in common is that we like to feel good, free ourselves from burdens or encourage ourselves to do something that makes us happy and full.
Through dance we release stress, forget the stress of daily life, or simply for people with a more artistic profile, through dance we are ourselves.
So I invite people to dance to be themselves.
We'd like you to come clean by telling us a virtue and a flaw that you have
Mmmm I think one of my virtues is that I am a transparent person, and I don't believe in "appearing to be".
What's more, I believe that far from admiring a person for his artistic qualities, we admire more for his person, which is what I think is left in the end of this and any profession.
I like to be a transparent, sincere, simple person, a person who appreciates, who laughs at his mistakes and close that can go to others as one more person.
I'm optimistic, trying to carry the philosophy that "Everything happens because of something". The good and the bad come for something, the good lead us to many good things, and the bad leads us to learn and lead us to achieve those good things.
A defect...... Mmm, I think trying to always seek perfection.
Yes, I am sometimes a bit of a perfectionist and I try to correct even the smallest detail. Those who know me already know that.
Although being a perfectionist is not a flaw in itself, but becoming a perfectionist sometimes is.
In fact, I sometimes get nervous when something is not in place, but I'm learning to wear it, with a dalay pill and breathing. Jeje.
Talking about your career as an artist, we see that you have won championships, you have participated in Got Talent, tell us a little more about your career as an international dancer and about your television career.
Actually, my professional career started here in Barcelona when I came with Adrián and Anita in 2010.
By that time he was coming from Mexico with training in Ballroom Dance and Classical Ballet. And since 2011 I have undertaken and been in several projects.
I started the project with my friend David De Menés "DAVID Y JAVI", which has given us many experiences in these 5 years of joint work. I was also in the group of Franco Rocha and the Cachanga Poderosa, and later in 2014 I launched as a soloist and that took me to the title of World Champion and Subchampion of the World Men's Salsa Soloists of the World Latin Dance Cup, in Miami.
All these projects have led me to work in several European countries, such as Spain, Portugal, France, Ireland, England, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Sweden and Norway.
In Latin America, I've been working in Mexico and Ecuador, and I hope to see more sites soon.
In Television, as you say, I have had the opportunity to participate in talent programs in Spain. For example, in 2012, being a member of "La Cachanga Poderosa", we competed in "Todo el Mundo es Bueno" and where we won that edition. Plus we were finalists in "You're Worthy." And with "David and Javi", we recently competed in "Spain Got Talent", where we were one step closer to the semi-final.
I suppose you'll have to overcome several fears to perform in front of such an audience. For you, what is it that scares you the most before you act and what do you do to face that fear?
Ugh, I think more than fear, what I feel is adrenaline, pure emotion. There is a connection between mind and various parts of the body, so the stimuli in your mind will be how your body is going to act which is what causes that adrenaline.
Perhaps it would be the fear of failure, the fear that everything will go well, without any slip and fall, that all the connections in case of the couple are accurate to avoid mistakes. Besides, if you're in a competition, the nerve and pressure.
It's really normal for anyone to get a little nervous before they go out and act, but if you have control exercises, everything will work out better.
For example, what I do are breathing exercises: close my eyes, listen to relaxing music, concentrate on slower and slower breathing, and meet me, and concentrate on the routine. Everything else with energy and attitude comes out on its own.
In fact, it's like first catching air and breathing to contain all this adrenaline, stop at the show to release it and turn it into energy.
Before continuing we want to get to know you a little more and know something about your personal life as for example tell us if you have a partner and apart from dancing what other hobby you have.
Wow, I don't have a mate hehe. It is complex because I consider that I have two professions: Teacher and Dancer.
I think that being a dance teacher and combining it with living together is a little complex. Since the timetables are invested in an office working day, since it is a playful and social environment.
Besides being a dancer also has its complexity, because, precisely in the Latin dance atmosphere, there are events, congresses, competitions, on weekends. So, all this makes it even more difficult to live together.
Anyway I also think that wanting is power, so in case my better half comes along, you could think of some idea to keep the relationship alive.
Apart from dancing, I like to go out and take a walk, party and dance. I like going to the movies, sunbathing on the beach and why not? with some mojitos.
I like to meet friends at "Chillin'" sites and listen to quiet but lively music, such as Latinjazz, Deep house, Bossanova...
Going to amusement parks and climbing the attractions that generate adrenaline, but also suddenly want to do something different like going to the mountains, visiting different places, museums....
And now tell us a little bit about where you currently work and what you have in mind for the next few years. what do you most want to happen to you?
As a teacher, I work in Barcelona at Pedro Gea's dance school "AS IT IS DANCEED", and at Damaris Cerro's dance school "ALLSTEPS", during the week, and there are new proposals for schools.
As a dancer, I work on my own in 3 dance projects.
DAVID AND JAVI, which we have been working together for 5 years, being a reference couple from Spain in the Salsa Same Gen.
DAVID and JAVI, which we have already been working together for 5 years, being a reference couple from Spain in the Salsa Same Gender.
JAVIER Y MERY, we recently started dating, in November was our premiere, and we are betting my partner Mery Meseguer and I to push the project on a large scale.
And I continue with my solo project JAVIER PADILLA, offering different choreographies. Besides, right now I am planning choreographies with different nuances that you will soon see.
And well, I hope that God continues to give me a lot of life and many opportunities to work.
Finally, and if you venture to say it, how do you think the future of the dance world will be at local, national and international level?
As far as Salsa is concerned, I can tell you that in other countries where I have been, Salsa dancers can coexist perfectly with other Latin rhythms, countries like Germany, Norway, Holland, nowadays they bet on Salsa. Other countries, such as Mexico and the United States, can also coexist very well with Salsa and other Latin rhythms.
In Spain in previous years we have seen that the impulse and support to Salsa has not been as much as in other rhythms, but I believe and hope that in a couple of years we can give a bet again for this Latin rhythm.
I think that if the teachers who love Salsa taught all the cultural, musical, social, emotional and historical richness of salsa, not just the physical figures, they would be more interested in it.
In any case, I like it because now, I see a little more impulse towards traditional and non-commercial music, music appreciation classes, teachers' interest in culturally educating their students, and I hope it will continue like this so that this, I dare to say industry (where there are musicians, record companies, dancers, teachers, discotheques and students inside), will continue to persist and continue to evolve for many years.
So if you haven't danced salsa yet, sign up now. You'll love it.
Thank you very much for this interview Javi, from go&dance we wish you all the best for you.