Juan Villafañe : Lindy Hop from Argentina

My name is Juan Villafañe, born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I started dancing at age 16 in 1999, so that is…over 20 years ago.

How did you start dancing?

My dad was a social dancer (Argentinean Rock and Roll style) in the late 60’s and 70’s so I was somehow familiar with dancing. However I started dancing with the Neo Swing Revival in the late 90s.

How do you feel when you are dance dancing?

When I find myself in the right place at the right time (as in, with a partner I connect with, the right music for my mood and enough space to move freely) it’s like time stops and I’m only “in the moment”, enjoying life. When DANCE actually happens, it’s a very powerful, profound and rewarding feeling.

Why this genre and not others?

The music is the reason. I like all kinds of music but jazz in particular, inspires me to move.

What was the most exciting moment in your career?

Most likely, perform at The Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York. That was in 2014, when “Frankie 100th” took place.

What is the character or person you are inspired?

I really don’t have ONE particular dancer that I borrowed from. However, I can say that The Berry Brothers and The Nicholas Brothers were huge influences. Concidentially, they weren’t Lindy Hoppers.

When you dance in front of an audience, in an exhibition or competition, what would you like to convey?

It depends on the ocassion, since competing, doing a performance and social dancing in front of an audience are quite different things. I guess that what I try to do is to tell a story. Depending on the ocassion, I might pick a differnt type of story to tell.

What is your secret dream?

That a brand new generation of dancers arise, have their own thing going and don’t care about “what’s going on in the Lindy Scene”. See something like that happening would very refreshing and inspiring.

What do you recommend to those who are now taking their first steps in the world of Swing or to those who are still just thinking about it?

If they like they music, they should step in. If they don’t care much about the music and culture, then they should keep on searching until they find the music that makes them move, and then choose that dance. Music is the key.

What a dancer should never forget to post on the dance floor (not a material thing)?

Stay true to themselves.

Why do you Swing dance?