Felipe Polanco grew up in a family were music was very important. His father is a retired musician. He played almost for 30 years with many salsa orquestras in Puerto Rico.
"My memories growing up is watching my father playing saxophone and clarinet in the living room".
Thanks to a dance teacher Felipe had in elementary school, Miss Betancourt, he started to grow an interest for dancing. One of his first dancing experiences was a "Bomba" class with Petra Cepeda when he was 7 years old. Since that moment he knew he wanted to dance.
His first real interest for dancing was when he was 13, when he started to go to the "Fiestas Patronales" of his home town (local town parties) in Carolina. When he saw everyone dancing salsa he knew that that was what he saw since a little boy. When he went back home he would practice the moves he saw.
Felipe Polanco never took salsa classes, when he used to go to the parties and he always observed his home town street dancers, such as Baldin, Foca among others. Later in life he admired well known Puertorican dancers such as Anibal Vazquez, Roberto Roena, Cuqui Roena, Tito Bey and Papito Jalajala.
His career as a professional dancer started in 1992 when Papito Jalajala sees Felipe dancing and asks him to be part of his dance group. At that moment what it was only a hobby for Felipe becomes a career, after appearing in T.V. shows and dancing with most prestigious Puertorican Salsa Bands.
Felipe tries to explain what he feels when he gets in the "zone" when he dances. -"It's a sensation when all my body is invaded by a suffocating heat and I feel the need to dance it off. This does not happen all the time, only when is the right music at the right moment".
His dance style is in parallel with his personality, elegant. Felipe enphacizes in making his dancer partner look good while dancing, without sudden and untidy moves, always keeping the posture but with intense flavor and passion, always moving naturally and feeling the music, not with forced moves or over doing it.
Felipe Polanco is well educated about Salsa music, salsa artists/bands, and dance styles. In his own words Felipe explain the main different Salsa styles. "The different styles that I know are various: Los Angeles style, with an incredible speed and spectacular moves; Colombian Style, with fast steps moves and great partner synchronization. Cuban style is hard to describe as they have two different dance styles that can be executed with salsa music, "Son style" and "Casino". People also mention the Newyorican Style "on two" and Puertorican style "en clave" but I do not agree with this as I think many people dance in both places in many different styles. I think they are more "commercial" terms."
Felipe it is not only an amazing salsa dancer but he also masters the art of chacha. His incredible choreographies are pieces of art.
The difference between the old school dancers, such as Felipe, and the new dancers is that the old dancers learned to dance salsa in the streets, listen to live music. Nowadays people go to dance schools to learn to dance salsa, but unfortunately there, you do not learn to dance naturally or the real essence of the dance.
Felipe has traveled the world for more than 20 years and have danced for more than 40. He has been in the most important stages and have performed with the top salsa bands. One of the most important moments in his career was when he work as a choreographer for the 35 year anniversary of "El Gran Combo de Puer Rico". -"That was an unique experience, dancing with "El Gran Combo" gave us, the dancers, a great exposure. We were not only a "decoration for the band, we were treated as professional dancers and that was very important and meaningful to me".
Felipe Polanco was an important figure for "El Congreso de Salsa de Puerto Rico" in 1997, 1998 and 1999, where he performeded with his dance group.
One of the most special moments for Felipe was performing with Roberto Roena with "The Papito Jala Jala Dancers."
As mentioned before Felipe Polanco has performed with some of the best Salsa bands including: Sonora Poncena, Willie Rosario, Jose Alberto El Canario, Tito Puente, Andy Montanez, among others, and whom are also some of his favorite artists.
In Felipe's words: "To be a good dancer the most important thing is to listen to and to feel the music. If you focus on counting and planning the steps to follow, the essence of what is the art of dancing is lost...that Which is the feeling."