He never took himself very serious when it came to dancing. But the rest of the dance community did. He literally came out of the shadows to dominated the "floor dancing" circuit. "I really didn't think I was that good" Derrick modestly states. But good friend and fellow dancer Keith Meriwether coaxed him on. His eyes were first cast on Lisa Nunziella, but she took a pass. "I didn't have a reputation yet" he explains.
So, Derrick and his girl friend, Lilia Parra, decided to give it a shot.
His first big competition was the "New York Hustle Championships" at Roseland. They placed third behind Eddy Vega & Laudes Jones and Ricky Quintana & Lee Rafrano, respectively. "It was at this point I realized I couldn't compete with these couples, due to all the lifts. I had to focus on floor moves and styling." This was the start of "Poetry in Motion."
In 1979, it was all over the airwaves, WKTU was promoting the biggest dance contest of its kind. Cherry's Discotheque was holding a weekly contest where the grand prize winners would be the owners of brand new Cherry Red Corvettes.
Lifts were not permitted. Dancing to "Shine on Silvermoon," Derrick & Lilia drove home in matching new cars. He remembers just making it into the finals. "We almost got cut in the preliminaries, but we changed our music and our costumes."
All along, Derrick was going to St. George University majoring in Business administration. His winnings helped put him thru school.
Next it was the Playboy International Dance Competition, and another first place win.
Taking home the grand prize of $15,000. , 2nd place went to Billy & Sandra and Eddy & Laudes took third. It was now time for a change in music as he adopted the theme from "Close Encounters." At club "Fantasy Island" he struck gold again. Winning $5,000. for first place. Miguel and Annette Marrero took second.
Between college and competitions, Derrick & Lilia joined forces with the "Ralph Lew " Dance company, performing and traveling. They also became the darlings of the Playboy Organization and were flown on numerous occasions to the Bahamas to perform at the casinos.
In 1981, as Derrick and Lilia's romantic relationship came to an end, so did the dancing. It was time for him to move on with his career. Today, Derrick has no regrets, " I enjoyed my 5 minutes of fame," but being married to Lynette with their 2 beautiful daughters makes him the luckiest man alive. He is the proprietor of "Home Financial Services," a mortgage company in Mineola, NY. His company has been ranked in the top 30 in NY.
He still gets out to social dance here and there. His showmanship and contagious smile are still intact.
Knowing Derrick and his track record, he'll dance till he's 99 and his mortgage company is bound to be number one.
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