Blog Written By Emily Hines
Get you a girl who can do everything! From Ballet to Salsa and Bachata, and everything in between, Maria Ramos is a multi-talented dancing queen.
Maria has been a top-notch dancer for over a decade, and has performed with some of the best in show business. Most recently, she is an avid teacher and competitor in the world of Salsa and Bachata. This past week, AIDA Dance USA had the opportunity to sit down with Maria. We found out more about how she started dancing, about the highlight of her career, and what she is most proud of. Read on to find out as well!
Tell us about your dance journey: How did you start and how have you progressed?
“I have been dancing since I was a very little girl. I did ballet for a very long time, along with commercial dancing. I used to be a celebrity back-up dancer when I was a kid for years. I did back-up dancing for Justin Timberlake, for Shakira, I did one show with Jennifer Lopez, and Kanye West. So, I used to do tours, until I entered the competitive latin dance scene. It’s been most of my life, a very long time.”
What kind of dancing do you specialize in?
“I do salsa and bachata dancing. I took it to the extreme of competing in it. So i’ve been doing that for over a decade now.”
What is your proudest accomplishment and why?
“I think I am very proud of the fact that I took the risk in opening up my very own dance studio back in 2016. I literally closed my eyes, found a location, and opened a studio. I no longer have the studio, but I’m still very proud of myself to have been one of the very few, if not only female in New York City to open her own dance studio in latin dance.”
How has COVID affected your dancing?
“Right now, because of COVID, I don’t have teams. Before COVID, I used to travel around every single weekend. It was a blessing, but in an odd way COVID has also been a wake-up call and a blessing because it made me stop, and take a moment to evaluate everything. I think I was exhausted doing it for over 20 years. So that part of the pandemic has been a blessing. Covid has affected my dancing I think because I no longer have dance rehearsals. I’m no longer preparing for shows to go anywhere. So that’s the only reason it has affected it. Teaching wise, I teach online. It started out as being a very difficult thing for me because of the technology and just the fact that you don’t get the energy from your students, but now it’s something that you get used to. I’m building and growing my online classes, and so far so good.”
How has teaching and taking lessons online been different than in person?
“I think that the difference is that in person you have the instructor there, so if you do make a mistake, they can correct you personally, like as they are walking by. Any correction, like if my arm is too high they can say “Maria bring it down lower.” Whereas online, it’s pretty much self-help. I pretty much have to learn on my own, and that’s what makes it a little more difficult.”
What provides you the motivation to keep going and why?
“I think during my toughest times, dance has always been my escape. So right now, it’s still a tough time for everyone. I never started dancing because of the business or the money, because if that was the case I would never have done it. I’ve always danced truly for the love of it. I can’t help but to always think that your brain or your mind just stops and it’s somehow a therapeutic or a meditative process for me. It does that for me.”
Who is your biggest inspiration?
“I think my biggest inspiration aren’t dancers. My biggest inspiration are spiritual people and spiritual light because I feel like they’re mentors. For example, I listen a lot to Jordan Peterson, Oprah Winfrey, and Eckhart Tolle. Those are definitely people that inspire me a lot.”
Why do you choose Aida?
“I had a pair of AIDA shoes, back when I bought them for a competition. I actually bought two different pairs of shoes, one from AIDA and one from another brand. I just remember feeling more comfortable in the AIDA shoes. They fit my feet better and I just think they’re beautiful in the way that they’re shaped. My feet are very narrow and it’s a better fit for me.”
What advice would you give your younger self?
“Not to blame other people, and to take responsibility for self.”
What is your favorite dance and why?
“My favorite overall dance, and this is going to be a contradiction, because I teach a lot of bachata, but I really love Salsa because of the technique and the difficulty.”
Do you do any other forms of exercise to stay in shape?
“Now because of Covid, I joined the gym. The gym has been a motivation for me since I can’t take any dance classes. I personally don’t like taking online dance classes, so I go to the gym and I run and work on my cardio. So that’s been my form of workout.”
What has been a career highlight?
“Wow! I just had flashes of so many highlights come about. Really just being on stage. I did the Grammy’s with Rihanna. I remember being on stage with her, and that was definitely a huge highlight. I remember during that time, it was one of the most difficult times in my life. You can go through a lot of rough, hard times, but at the same time there are so many gifts. Sometimes you don’t catch the gifts that are coming to you, because you’re so focused on the negative instead of the positives, but that was definitely one of the highlights of my career.”
Tell us a fun fact that you want people to know about you!
“I’m obsessed with chapstick and I like to be silly. I like to be silly a lot. People just don’t see that side to me.”
It was a pleasure to interview Maria, and we hope you enjoyed this blog! To learn more about Maria, including upcoming classes please visit: https://www.mariaramosdance.com
If you are still not sure if AIDA is the brand for you, let this be your final proof that Champions Choose this brand. If you are looking to be excellent, there can be no other choice for your feet.