If you have been to any of the big clubs in South Florida you have probably seen Manny flying on his silks or dangling from his circle in the air. I have known Manny for a few years and I see him as very shy (although he will argue with me about that), but when he gets on stage he lights up and the performer comes alive. It was a pleasure to sit down with our cover model for this exclusive Hotspots interview.
At what age did you start acting and dancing?
I started my performance arts training at the age of three with acting lessons and then I began performing in small theater productions. After acting, I transitioned to musical theater, thus leading to dance. I participated as a youth actor in many shows, productions and performances in my hometown of Santa Fe, Argentina.
What was your first professional gig?
When I was in Argentina, I was cast to play the lead protagonist of a soap opera, as himself when he was younger. My first dance gig was in Argentina as well, during a large yearly festival in which I performed for an audience of over 1,000 people in the Lebanese style, manipulating various props including swords and knives.
When and why did you move to the United States?
I moved to the United States at the age of 12. I moved to the United States because after coming to Disney World a few times, my parents received a job offer and decided to stay here because the economy was much better here. My parents believed that I would have a more promising future here, especially since I have a passion for the performing arts.
How did you get into pole dancing?
My pole dancing career started because one of my girlfriends had a pole in her bedroom, so I would spend my time on her pole trying to invert and create tricks. Little did I know that everything I was making up were actual pole dancing tricks that people work hard to learn that just came naturally to me. That eventually led to to me discovering that you can take pole classes.
How did you get the title of “Pole Dance Instructor”?
I took two private lessons at a studio, and then I was offered a job as a pole dance instructor. I would dedicate approximately 8-10 hours a day at the studio where I was currently working, taking other instructors’ classes, and training myself to become better. I would spend so many hours practicing, training and experimenting with my creativity to create new tricks and concepts that my body didn’t even feel as if I was training.
People would ask me all the time “How do you do it?” I was always excited to learn new tricks and wow people with my skills on the pole. It was a big surprise to everyone to know that I could do pole [dancing] and i was actually very good at it. I was then featured as a pole dance instructor for an upcoming show. I was excited to be selected; the show was a reality TV show by the name of V.I.P. Latinas which was aired on Charytín & Felipe El Show. The show consisted of five high-profile ladies who were dating Spanish celebrities (sort of like the Real Housewives). My job in the show was to crown one of them the “Champion of Pole Dancing.”
Were silks and aerials natural progressions after pole dancing?
I wasn’t aware of silks or any other circus arts. I was invited by a friend who was currently in Cirque du Soleil to take one of his classes he was giving in a small studio in Miami. After trying the first class, it became quite noticeable that I am also great at silks and lyra. Prior to taking the class, as you know, I had done pole dancing and a bit of cheerleading, so you could say my body had the strength that was needed. It was easy to learn the new equipment but it also required me to train once again about eight to ten hours a day in those new apparatus. (Once I decided that I truly liked lyra and silks, I invested lots of time into developing my act.). I guess that my background in dance and pole helped me a lot.
I was so excited to discover a new art form I was good at that people will not relate whatsoever to stripping. Also, one of the main reasons why I fell in love with aerial arts is because I find it to be a bit more dangerous and [there’s] the wow factor. My favorite equipment right now is the lyra, but i also love silks because of the beautiful shapes you can create. Another reason I love aerial arts is because going upside-down will help prevent pimples and wrinkles; that’s why my skin is always clear.
What made you decide to create your own entertainment company?
I created my entertainment company because after participating in different shows, events and performances, I started to receive lots of phone calls to book me as entertainment for events. I started working in many different clubs, events, venues and galas. As time progressed, more people started to know about me and I was exposed to new clients and accounts, allowing myself to brand. That then led to me creating Angels Entertainment, a one-of-a-kind production company in which we specialize in making people’s visions come true. We do lots of aerial shows and any kind of choreographed production, and we can provide clients with anything that they desire. I’d like to say that at Angels Entertainment we strive for perfection, making sure we properly execute every detail, from makeup to hair, costume and talent.
How is Angels Entertainment doing?
My company is doing great. I am happy to see what I have created grow bigger as the days go by. I remember when my company was unfamiliar to everyone; it was a challenge to start getting the bookings I truly desired. I am excited to know that my company is a bit more known nowadays. We have had the opportunity to be part of some really nice events, and even travel to different cities and beautiful places around the world. Now that gay marriage has been officially legalized, we have had many bookings for gay celebrations.
Overall, I believe my company is doing really well considering the time that it’s been around. I have worked hard to get a headquarters to come to everyday where we can rehearse, continue training our talents as a team, design, create and store our costumes.
You have traveled extensively with dance. What has been your favorite city so far and why?
My favorite place I have traveled to is Paramaribo, Suriname. Many people don’t even know where it’s located; it’s right above Brazil. I enjoyed it there because it is a small country, and everyone knows each other. I have been there twice in the past year with my team of performers. It has lots of rainforest-like scenery. I like their architecture, which is very Dutch colonial-era style, and they speak Dutch there also which is nice to hear. Very friendly.
What would people be surprised to know about you?
People find it very surprising when they find out my age, because they don’t expect to meet someone that owns an entertainment company to be in their early 20s.
Many people will be surprised to know that I am very hyper and cannot stay still for more than two minutes. They will also be surprised that I am very spiritual and into chakras and energies. I do not eat processed food; I have a life-threatening allergy which I will not disclose for safety reasons. I love kids, and look forward to raising my own someday.
What’s ahead for Manny?
There is so much ahead for Manny and Angels. Only God knows where I will go from here. I will continue to train and get better at what I do as a performer. I will continue to brand my company. I look forward for the opportunities to showcase my visions and concepts on a much larger stage.
One of my inspirations has been Cirque du Soleil, especially since they started as just street performers, and look where they are today! I will someday have my own huge show that people will pay to watch. I would like to be able to choreograph and provide aerial performances for celebrities. Number one on my list is Nicki Minaj.
One of my big goals is to be on the big screen, whether as a performer or an actor; I truly was made for that and enjoy that lifestyle. A long-term goal is to have my own family and mini-Angels that I will train to be amazing performers to continue my legacy.