Luis Rivera - Hustle / Disco WCS + Salsa


Luis Rivera -
by Ron Bess



In the mid 70's, a magical dance company was formed, The Disco Dance Dimensions, the hustle review of the time. Among this legendary troop was an unsung hero......Luis Rivera.
More of the quite type, Luis was tall, dark and handsome and WOW could he dance. Nobody actually taught him how to dance...he just watched and decided one day to just do it. Growing up in the Bronx, Luis was introduced to the hustle at an early age when tagging along with his older brother, a well respected DJ. His first experience of  the hustle was in 1973, at St. Mary's recreation center, located in the Bronx. "It was like a scene out of West Side Story, wall to wall dancing and a prehustle dance  called the Rock. "There was [[Eddie Vega]] dancing with three girls at the same time" remembers Luis, Eddy couldn't have been more then 9 years old at the time. Luis was instantaneously enamored by the hustle and was hooked.  From there, his dancing moved into the hot discotheques and, ... which ever clubs an underage guy could sneak in to: Ipanema, 310, The Red and White and Tropicalia. A short time later, Luis would be performing with George Vascones and the legendary 'Latin Symbolics'. After joining the troop, George partnered Luis with Edye. She had great finesse and could work a crowd.
A wonderful dancer that lived around the corner from Luis invited him to join the Disco Dance Dimensions. A superstar in his own right, Hector Berrios, was a member of the DDD. "He came banging on my door saying that [[Billy Fajardo]] was looking for another dance team and I would be perfect for the spot." Along with his second partner, [[Francine Gonzales]], in 1977 they joined this popular dance review.
The company was made up of three teams: Billy & Sandra, Perico & Debbie and Hector & Jackie. Luis had an untapped bundle of energy that he would display with the Dimensions. This young maverick would now take a journey with the Dimensions that would span five years. Along the way, he would compete in contests and win first place at "The Starship."
His third partner was Alma Pagon. Known for her tremendous grace, Alma was a trained ballerina. Together, they competed and won the Roseland Championships. 
One of Luis's most memorable performances was at the Harvest Moon Ball. "[[Ra-lph Lew]] wanted us to do something different." The troop selected a number from the motion picture 'Grease.' "It was awesome," recalls Luis, "the audience went wild."
In addition, the group did a performance at a Salsa concert held in Madison Square Garden. Dancing to “A 2001 Space Odyssey” with Tito Puente leading his band...the Garden rocked that night. Luis remembers a great synergy among the members of the troop. " As we traveled the world, we fought, laughed and cried together."
With the 80's, the dance landscape changed. The hustle was falling out of favor and there were fewer dance jobs.  Luis took a self inventory and found the time was right to enter college. His dancing was put on hold.
Today, he is a computer engineer, spearheading a major Internet project for a Fortune 500 pharmaceutical firm. "I've been involved in many facets of the computer industry ever since I left dancing," shares Luis.  Married with three beautiful kids, Luis stays in shape by working out at the gym, but, still stays connected with the hustle.
As a teenager growing up in the 70’s, he was faced with many difficult choices. Youth gangs, drugs and peer pressure were prevalent during that era. His love for dancing prevented him from making any wrong decisions.  The combination of practicing, traveling and performing, captivated his time. "I really never had a chance to think about anything else," reflects Luis. He is grateful to all those that provided him with friendship and the opportunities to dance. The late [[George Vascones]], [[Hector Berrios]] and [[Billy Fajardo]]. His last contest was with [[Stracy Diaz]]. They won the “Sabado Gigante” dance contest, which is broadcast on cable television, UniVision.
The Dance Dimensions were an incredibly group of dancers literally becoming 'Hustle Central'.....  The troop gave rise to some of the biggest names from the disco/hustle era: [[Billy Fajardo]], [[Sandra Rivera]], [[Franc Perico]] Reyes, Debbie 'Rosado' Ferro, [[Hector Berrios]], [[Lourdes Jones]] and [[Eddie Vega]].....with a pool of so many talents, he  could have been lost in the shuffle....but he wasn't.  "He always looked up to the elder statesmen of the group, and wanted to learn all that they would be willing to teach him...working hard to improve as an artist," praises long time friend [[Debbie Ferro]]. "It was great having Luis as a fellow performer, travel companion, and friend."
As a quiet giant he made a great impact on this dance.  Whether he was performing with Celia Cruz, Mark Anthony or Sister Sledge.... he was at the forefront of the hustle. Visit Luis's website at http://www.larglobal.com/ddd/ddd.html

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