Interview with Jardy Santiago

You know Jardy from his YouTube House Dance tutorial videos! These tutorials provide basic steps and grooves for those looking to learn the style of dance and/or improve on their current state! It’s better to know the history of a dancer for a number of reasons: understanding how they came to be such great dancers, their experience in the culture, and sometimes things you may not know about them. One thing that I really enjoyed about interviewing and researching Jardy, was his eye for capturing the art of dance. His photography, which you can see on his website, is one of the ways he captures the intimate moments with his models and dancers! Many of the influential dancers I have interviewed do not just tap into dance to continually inspire them, they are usually tapping into other hobbies, experiences, and arts to influence the way they approach dancing!

As I read through this interview with Jardy, I was pleasantly surprised to see how many styles of street dance he has experienced with! In my experience over this last year, I have come to realize you cannot simply just stick to one style when influencing your specific style! If you’re a bboy, you can add elements of contemporary, popping, house dance, and more – I really believe it makes you a better dancer! Not only for skills but also for learning music as you battle, cypher, and/or perform.

Hope you all like this interview and make sure to connect with Jardy:

INTERVIEW:

Where are you from?

I was born in the Philippines, but I’ve lived in San Jose, California, for most of my life. 
 
How long have you been dancing and what got you started?
 
I’ve been dancing for 19 years on and off. In the beginning, I got into dancing simply because everyone else was doing it at the time. It was almost like you had to make an effort NOT to dance, since it was a big part of the school social scene. And, oh yeah, I started out as a bboy and evolved into a hip hop dancer in the first 7 or so years. As for house, I’ve been dancing it for about 11 years. 
What got you into House dance & street dance? Were you in any crews?
 
Being in the crew Soul Sector inspired me to get into house dance. I joined in 2000, and since we were originally a New York style hip hop dance group, it was only natural for me to be eventually influenced by other New York styles, like house. I am also a member of the bboy crew Headhunters. Although my bboying days are behind me, my younger brother Naytron and the rest of the Headhunters kept me from losing touch with my bboy side. 
Tell us about some of your early inspirations from dance or anything else
 
Hmmm… I would say the movie Beat Street blew me away when I first saw it in 1993. That movie inspired me to start dancing. A year later, I was influenced by the local San Francisco Bay Area crews that I witnessed on video in a dance competition called “World War 3” that took place in 1993 or so. Several crews in the video were doing hip hop dance (aka New Style, 90s hip hop, etc.). The style was new and interesting to me, so I began to dig for more footage and realized that Japanese dancers at the time were also very into that style. It wasn’t until 2000 that I realized that the local crews and the Japanese were all influenced by a New York dance documentary called “Reck N Shop Live From Brooklyn,” that released in 1992. I was super late for the boat, but that documentary made a huge impact on my style and renewed my love for the dance. It was also my introduction to house dance.
 
What are some of your accomplishments with dance?
 
Haha.. I don’t really like to talk about what I’ve accomplished. If people have noticed what I’ve done, then cool. If not, that’s cool too.
Tell us about the scene where you are from in regards to house dance.
 
The San Francisco Bay Area has a rich, yet underground, history. I can confidently say that we had the first real house dance scene in all of California (Sorry, L.A.). We have a lot of talented dancers here, but the Bay Area has always been more about dancing for artistic expression rather than commercial or competition purposes, so a lot of our greats made impacts that were primarily local. Throughout the years, the two crews that pushed house dance the most were Soul Sector and Flo-ology, a dance group that focused mainly on house. 
Do you tap into any other styles of dance
 
Sure do. Although I have a bboying and hip hop background, I’ve also had my share of performing popping, locking, waacking, lindy hop and probably some other styles that I’m forgetting at the moment. Stuff that I’ve learned through the years have a way of sneaking into my current style somehow. 
Your YouTube is a great avenue for house dance tutorials, how did that come about?
 
Honestly, it was something that I did just for my students a few years ago, but they convinced me to make the videos public. I listened, evidently.
How important is it for dancers to learn the history of their dance?
 
History is a big deal. Learning it brings you closer to the mind-state of the people who created the dance. History strengthens your understanding for the art that you do. It’s a piece of the puzzle; don’t ignore it. 
Tell us about any experiences either battling, judging, or teaching workshops that have inspired you? funny ones?
 
One thing you might’ve noticed about me is that it is nearly impossible to find footage of me battling. It’s out there, I assure you, but not on Youtube. I decided in 2009 that battling is just not for me. I look at dance as an art, and I can’t just pull art out of my butt; I have to be inspired to do it. With that said, nowadays I prefer not to dance unless I feel like dancing. That doesn’t mean that I would turn down a battle if challenged, though; I still have a competitive spirit. As for judging, I think I’m a horrible judge, haha; I get so indecisive because I think there’s a little bit of awesome in everyone so it gets hard to choose. And lastly, with teaching, I love teaching so much. Whenever I fly out of the state or country to teach, I am inspired again and again; it’s always a fresh experience to me. As for funny moments, everyone who has spent an extended amount of time with me knows how much of a sarcastic prankster I am. I think a highlight would be when I went to India and had an “embarrassing picture” competition on Facebook with my host, Bboy Ninja. Ultimately, I took an already bad picture of him and photoshopped a Shakeweight and some suggestive captioning onto it. Let’s just say he stopped competing after that. 
Do you teach at any particular studio?
 
Yes, I do. I teach in 3 local studios weekly. My current schedule is listed on my website, JardySantiago.com.
Whats the one thing you would like people to know about the House culture
 
I’d like people to know that house is more than just about battling or doing shows; it’s also about making a connection with each other and most importantly, making a connection with yourself. I see a lot of people who essentially treat the dance like it’s just a series of cool moves, but it’s so much more than that. It’s an opportunity for you to express what’s in your soul. I know all that will sound vague to some, but if you don’t understand what I said just yet, keep dancing and it will come in time. 
What do you have planned for the future? 
 
I tend to finish things that I start, so expect me to make tutorials for just about everything I know how to teach. I have a lot planned, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. 
Where can people connect with you?
 
My website, JardySantiago.com, is a good start. Once on the website, I would suggest signing up to my mailing list; it’s easier for me to communicate to my subscribers that way.
Whats something people dont know about you?
 
I killed a man when I was a kid. Naaaw, just kidding. I guess I realized eventually that people looked at me as a house-everything fanatic. On my free time, I actually listen to every other genre of music – mostly jazz, 60s, R&B, and hip hop – I save the house music for when I want to get down. I think having a broad taste in music has a big impact on a person’s style and originality. 
Guilty pleasure song to dance to…
 
Every once in a while, I’ll dance to Mwela Mwela by Jazzanova just to see if I’ve gotten better at trying to hit all the beats and sounds in that song. I’ve been doing that for about 7 years. 
Do you have any rituals before you dance
 
Yeah, I usually avoid stretching. I don’t recommend for anyone else to do this, of course. 
Words of inspiration for dancers
 
 “Do it for the chicks.”

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One thought on “Interview with Jardy Santiago

  1. Pingback: House Dance: A House Music Gem Hidden Far Too Underground (Part 2 of 3) | Dance Is A Feeling

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