Iliana Reyes

I learned my disco moves at Jimmy E’s disco at Salon Azul on 8th Street. I was there every Sunday from 1977 onward. The Miami Sound Machine, featuring Gloria Estefan and her cousin, regularly played there. The first disco song I remember was “The Hustle” by the Van McCoys. I remember that “The Hustle” was originally danced freestyle, the perfect song to hold hands and “hustle”. In my opinion, “The Hustle” started the Disco Dance, the Bus Stop, and the Electric Slide.

On Monday nights, I entered the dance contests at Mr. Pipps in Fort Lauderdale. Most of the weeks, I won those contests. I made up innovative dance moves, which, to this day, are still modeled by others. Victor Jinete, who later became a vocal artist at Los Sucios, was my dance partner. I made a living from these dance contests, which paid on the average of $500 a week, along with vacations and miscellaneous gifts.

My favorite dance songs are “Romeo and Juliet” and “MacArthur Park”.

Some of my dance contest competitors included Jose Alvarez with his partner Annie, and Luis and Elizabeth Pantaleon. They were phenomenal dancers to be with, giving me moments that I cherish to this day.

Among the celebrities I met were Deney Terrio, Grace Jones (at Studio 51), Madonna (at the Parallel Bar), and The Village People (in Hialeah at some club on the second-floor).

I was an extra in “The Castaways” Hotel in Miami Beach where they were filming a motion picture. I also had the pleasure of doing some commercials.

At the present time, I do not do any dance contests (Thank God!), however I do frequent Jimmy E’s club, The Club at Renaissance where Ciro Llerena still plays the tunes that I enjoyed in the 70′s & 80′s.