Laura Rivero made Sint Maarten her home a long time ago. You may find her at Rancho's, La Bamba and many other places, putting on a great show with her Salsa or Flamenco moves. Find out how this charming lady does in this week's Hotseat!
Where are you from?
I'm originally from Spain.
When did you come to Sint Maarten and why?
I came to Sint Maarten 16 years ago to work at Flamboyant Hotel on the French side. I had just finished my studies in tourism and was here to also learn French. I also spent 11 years as a bartender at Bikini Beach.
Where did you learn to dance?
Back in Spain, I learned Flamenco and Classical Dance, but it was in the city of Madrid that I studied Salsa.
What is it about Sint Maarten that you love so much?
I love the atmosphere, the mix of culture, the fact that we all can live together and the weather, of course. I can never leave. Madrid is too hot in summer and too cold in winter for me.
Is dancing now strictly your only career?
Yes, it has been so since three years ago when I met my Flamenco partner Beatrice, who is also from Spain. She is a professional dancer and together we are making it happen on Sint Maarten. Maria Alejandra, originally from Venezuela, is my partner when Beatrice is away. She is also part of our new cabaret show.
So you have a group. How many are you within the group?
There are four of us ladies: Beatrice, Maria, Shirley (from Cuba) and me. It is a very Latino mix which is great for our mixed shows!
Where can we see you performing?
You can see our Flamenco show at Rancho every Friday and quite a few resorts, around the island. But you can also find Laura with her friend Daniel teaching Salsa at La Bamba on Tuesday evenings: Advanced level salsa is at 7:00-8:00pm and the beginner through intermediary class is at 8:00pm -9:00pm. It's Cuban style salsa and so much fun!
Describe yourself in three words!
Active – Social – Passionate.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Either on Sint Maarten or a place very similar to Sint Maarten: sunny, good atmosphere, good people. If I can, I will be doing exactly the same thing surrounded by children and other people with good energy and of course dancing.
If you could invite three famous people for dinner, who would they be and why?
I would invite world-famous dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov – my favourite dancer; Flamenco dancer Joaquim Cortez; and my mother – the best woman in the world – she is about to turn 80.
What is one question you would ask them?
My question for Mikhail would be: "How did you reach that level of perfection?" For Joaquim: "How could you risk mixing Fusion Flamenco with modern Flamenco and do it so well?" (Flamenco is something very pure from the past and he changed it; he was the first one to change it and he succeeded.) My mother: "How did you make it alone as a single mother and succeed with a big smile?" (My father passed away when I was only four years old and my mother had to raise us seven children alone.)
What would you serve them?
My choice of dinner for us all (since I'm Pescatarian) would be to serve grilled or Thai style the best fresh vegetables I can get my hands on locally. There would also be some freshly caught local fish on the table, maybe Red Snapper. Of course, this would have to be paired with a good champagne or wine (preferably from Spain) and a nice dessert comprising fresh fruits and chocolate. There will be lots of dancing for sure; the party will finish up with dancing.