#tbt: José Greco's Surprisingly Straightforward Advice for Becoming a Great Dancer
José Greco's first exposure to Spanish dance was as a child, while visiting his mother's family in Seville, Spain. Photo courtesy DM Archives
The cover star of the November 1953 issue of Dance Magazine was José Greco, the dancer and choreographer who popularized Spanish dance in 1950s and '60s America. The Italian-born, Brooklyn-raised dance star took his first classes at age 10 and made his professional debut at 19. Less than a year later he was asked by La Argentinita to join her company.
Greco became a household name through appearances on popular television shows and in movies, as well as his company's frequent tours. "To be a great Spanish dancer," he told us, "it is necessary above all to love it." That love was carried through to his family: He taught his second wife Spanish dance (she later joined his company) and four of his six children became dancers themselves. He gave his final performance in 1995, at the age of 77.
My best running buddy was on my left. To my right, a total stranger with whom I'd suddenly become competitive. As the 15-person group headed into a two-minute push, the instructor got hyped, and the remix blasting Rihanna's "We Found Love" transitioned to "Smooth Criminal."