Mario B. Gonzalez
Jersey City, NJ
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Mario Justo Gonzalez, a.k.a Mario B
Director of Salsa Fever On2 Dance Academy, Professional Dancer, Instructor, Choreographer, Actor
Date of Birth: April 23, 1976
Birthplace: Hoboken, NJ
Ethnic Background: Puerto Rican/Cuban/Spain
Height: 6'0" Weight: 240lbs
Mario has had an interesting start to what is now a SALSA / MAMBO lifestyle! Mario was very athletic growing up through his grammar and high school years. He had always wanted to learn how to dance SALSA / MAMBO but was very hesitant due to his large stature. However, in 1999, a really good friend and High School teammate, Danny Useche, introduced Mario to the “Salsa Scene”. He was so inspired by what he had seen, he immediately signed up for his first dance class. We've all heard about "Love at First Sight, well, Mario's first Mambo Lesson was "The Date from Hell". It didn't quite work out as well as he expected, due to the fact that the class was slightly more advanced than he predicted. This left Mario even more determined to prove his point that size, shape, and color does not matter when it comes to MAMBO! Mario was down but definitely not out.
Mario then came across one of the smoothest and most HUMBLE instructors in the Mambo scene, Greg Taylor. After a few days with Greg Taylor, Mario was in Mambo Heaven. Mario took classes with Greg for approximately 6 months and was eternally grateful to Greg for his time, patience and expertise, however, Mario knew it was time to go forward and take on more of a challenge! He began taking more advanced classes with other established instructors and was almost immediately sought out and asked to perform with a student team and after no time was then asked to join a professional team.
At the same time Mario was asked to become “The Papa” to Abbey Plotkins, "The Mambo Mamas & The Papa" and Mario was now the Mambo Papa! By joining "The Mambo Mamas & The Papa", Mario was given the opportunity to perform for what would become an instant hit, the "Latin Madness" under the direction of Nelson Flores of Descarga Latina and Carlos Mendoza of "The Side Street Kids". Nelson felt that Mario would fit right in with this all-star cast of the Best Mambo Dancers in the world! "Latin Madness" is an off-Broadway Mambo/Musical depicting the history of Mambo from past to present. With the opportunity of performing in "Latin Madness" gave Mario the ability to dance, work and share the stage with top professional groups like Descarga Latina, The Santo Rico Dance Company, Addie-Tude Dance Company, Abakua, Jai & Candi, The Mambo Mamas & The Papa, Latin Jazz Ensemble, and Con Sazon. With stage experience and help from an acting coach, enabled Mario to appear in the movies "Empire" and "Kal-ho-naho". Mario also acted for the NY International Independent Film & Video Festival at Madison Square Garden.
In a short amount of time, Mario has come a long way to become a Professional Dancer, Choreographer, Instructor, and Actor. What's most amazing is that he achieved all of these goals with NO background in dance! It's true what they say, "Hard work does pay off!" Who would have thought that Mario would transition from a full time athlete to becoming a future Mambo Legend? The one regret Mario has had is not learning to dance at a younger age. That is why he is teaching and training his beautiful daughter, Diamond, to become a future Salsera! In addition, his love for the music and dance was Mario’s motivation to name his young daughter Jazzlyn.
Mario is very well respected and one of the most humble, loved, well respected and adored dancers in the Mambo scene today!
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