Updated: Mar 9
A few years ago, I had the privilege to be featured on an article in REMEZCLA written by Yara Simon. In this interview, I share my experience as a choreographer and a chambelan for rent. Hope you guys enjoy it!! Also at the end, I will be sharing the link to the original article so you guys can check it out.
" Eric Jimenez Reyes is a seasoned professional chambelán. Beginning at the age of 10 at Diaz de Baile, Eric has participated in more than 150 quinces in his lifetime. Almost from the very beginning, Eric served as the chambelán de honor. Towering over most of his peers, the high school senior found that parents gravitated toward him because of his height. But, of course, Eric also has the dance background to justify the selection.
When he was 5, he began dancing folklorico, before branching out to salsa and bachata at different dance studios. He’s now the head choreographer of the crew of chambelanes, where he teaches technique to his fellow dancers.
Prices at Diaz de Baile depend on many factors – including number of chambelanes and the number of dances. But typically, a contract includes six two-hour rehearsals, where the quinceañera will learn the waltz and the surprise dance, which is comprised of a mix of two songs. Rehearsals take place on weekends, and because they’re not handling just one party at a time, oftentimes, they are back to back.
“It’s just keeping a schedule set, and sometimes, it’s rough, especially now that I’m in my senior year.”
It’s a lot of work for a teen who is also juggling high school, but he’s become something of an expert at time management in the process. “I have been in a dance studio since I was little,” he says. “So my parents always had a good structure of school comes first and then dance. So for me, it’s just keeping a schedule set, and sometimes, it’s rough, especially now that I’m in my senior year, we’re starting to talk about college and going on field trips. I need to have a lot of discipline, which I think is a good thing for me when I need to go to college.”
Eric only sees himself working as a chambelán for roughly two more years, but that doesn’t mean he’ll leave the quinceañera industry altogether. He’s flirted with the idea of starting his own business in the future, because as he’s seen firsthand, it’s a lucrative venture.
But for now, he’ll continue plugging away in this unpredictable and exciting environment. One of his most memorable experiences is having to learn an entire routine in just a few days’ time. He says, “Two years ago, a lady called me, she’s like, ‘Hey my quince is on a Saturday.’ I was thinking, ‘Oh, on a Saturday maybe in a few months.’ Then she’s like, ‘No, this Saturday.’ And she called me on a Thursday. [She said], ‘The dress rehearsal is on Friday, can you come in? We will pay you. You just come in and learn the choreography.’ I learned the choreo in two hours, and then on Saturday, we performed for the quince. That was crazy...” (Yara Simon,2017)
Here is the link to the article : https://remezcla.com/features/culture/professional-chambelan-quinceaneras/