20 Questions with Orville Small @ the Brazil Congress in Sao Paulo
By Salsa In The City's Stephen Choo Quan Stephen: When did you first fall in love with Salsa?
Orville:Hmmmmmm that is a tuff one... I really dont know when I fell in love with the stuff... whatever the case... I look it on some next ish.. it is not salsa to me... it expression.

Stephen: Describe some "firsts" for you in the Salsa world? eg do you  recall the first time you ask a girl do dance?  Did you know more than the basic step?  Were you nervous?
Orville: Yeah its like a blurr to me... In this salsa thing, you can improve so quickly... next thing you know.. you are doing things that you never thought of. So my first times were really not appreciated by myself.. I was looking at the big prize.

Stephen: Who were some of the dancers you admired over the years?
 Favorite Leads? Follows to dance with?
Orville: Yeah people always ask me that... But for me, no one really... when I was growing in this... I already had Poeple in My life that inspired me too much for me to not hold them in that position.. ROY JONES JR! Apart from that, over the years, Ismael Otero, Gordon Neil, Juan Matos... they keep me guessing. As for followers, I havent danced with the fam in a long time but in Holland, Vivienne Vicente, Jennifer Dap... right
now they are untouchable followers.

Stephen: How would you describe your style of dance?
Orville: Orville Smallwell.. not salsa.. More like Battle Dance. I just do what I want... I like throwing down. No posing and that stuff.. I cant feel that. My love is Hip Hop... thats what flows through my veins.

Stephen: How often do you go out dancing socially?
Orville: well, not that often. I am always focusing on choreographing or teaching.. so social dancing has taken the back seat a little... I also get to keep my wieght up... haha.

Stephen: It is a know fact that to develop a lead takes longer than a follow so When did you feel your dancing took a quantum leap?
Orville:hmmmmm... im not sure if I can pinpoint that but i know that for the first four years, I was dancing like a MF... with anyone possible... short, tall, thin, big, light, heavy... anyone... dominate the whole lot... feel me?

Stephen Do you do anything in particular to get in the mood for a night of salsa, so when you hit the club you are in the zone?
Orville: Yeah for real.. watch a few Roy Jones Jr. fights.. maybe throw some Mobb Deep or Copone -N- Noreaga (The War Report). You know just get amped.

Stephen You are an mindblowing performer, Describe what is most important to you what it takes to make an outstanding performance?
Orville: Thats a good one... For me it’s Originality... Number one. Look, Its like this.... You go somewhere and check out shows... the salsa part is the link between all of us.. but yeah, when you have 8 shows or something the one who is unique and different (with quality of course) usually hits home.

Stephen Do you find yourself focusing on certain components of the dance to promote the practice of it?
Orville: Now I do... for sure.... Teaching these cats how to teach... People abuse the fact that this is a sort of craze and the only thing they see is dollar signs.. Yo! Learn the lippin art and stop playin.

Stephen: Orville SmallOrville I am hooked on that song you were playing at the  Brazil Congress for your Classes, What salsa cd is in your player  right now ?
Orville: Ummmmm.... No salsa cd (as I turn red)... people need to understand that i am a Hip Hop head... No other way. on my mp3.. Hip hop, on my lap top.. Hip hop... and no... not R&B. No mixing... Straight Hip Hop.

Stephen: do you also DJ?
Orville: No no DJing skills.

Stephen: What was your most embarrassing Salsa moment?
Orville: Sooooo! haha... yeah man... Chicago salsa congress... Busted a Big Pants rip.. right down the middle.. haahahhah... that was crazy. But I was on some next ish that I played it off like it was part of the grip.

Stephen: What was your most exciting Salsa moment?
Orville: Most exciting moment.... Too many to say.... I have been truely blessed. God Bless.

Stephen: How did you make Salsa your full-time job?
Orville: I didnt make it a full time job... Poeple did.
Stephen: What is the difference between Salsa today and when you first started to dance?
Orville: The Difference... Im not sure... I have always done it the way I want not following or paying much attention to guidelines that were out there. The difference for me is I am making my way.. Doing it my way.

 Stephen: Blade and Troy were both awesome, Come on give us the back stage pass to "the 36 Chambers"
Orville: hahhaha yeah. We actually just performed 36 chambers last weekend... Got a standing Ovation. People didnt expect it... Its like they forgot how I do things.. How i bring it. But yeah its obviously a Kunf fu piece... the way i see it.

 Stephen: if you were to share the Orville Secret Weapon what would
 you say that is?
Orville: Orville Secret weapon... Dragon Qulaities... Fire Breathing.... Orville SmallConcentrating on the giant wing span.

 Stephen: Lots of Western dancers are moving to Europe, is there any notable differences b/w Salsa in the West (ie Canada or the US) and in Europe?  Style, musicality etc.  Do you think the west is playing catch up on the giant strides that Europe is making?
Orville: Naaaaa Never.. Everything i have seen in Europe Ive seen before in North America.. really... Nothing to take away from Europe though... they have some crazy Gatos over here. But i know that a big part of their influence comes from North America...

 Stephen: As a man of Caribbean roots myself I too understand that  Salsa is a universal language Tell us about your experience in both  Latin and Non Latin Congresses?
Orville: Yeah.. ther isnt much difference believe it or not... the passions are the same everywhere i go... maybe a difference is in there level of understanding dance.... for example, when I was in Brazil the level there was not the highest i have ever encountered but due to so many dances being practiced there, their basic knowlege was very strong.... very natural.

Stephen: What is it that keeps you into Salsa?
Orville: Freedom to express.

Stephen: Do you have any words of advice to the readers, students,  instructors reading this interview?
Orville: If you want to be a teacher, learn how to teach... If you want to be a performer, learn how to perform.... Express yourself... Dont sleep... When you hear the the wings of the Dragon catching wind to keep in flight.... anticipate something crazy.... 2007.... Dragon whips tail... and protects his Mermaid.
  Stephen, Orville Small, Sabrina