Who Is Billy Fajardo?
With over 40 years of dance performance experience, Billy began his dance career at the age of 14. With his beginnings as a club dancer, he then immersed himself in ballet studies at ABT and jazz studies with Phil Black and Frank Hatchett. In 1978, Billy’s dance company, the Dance Dimensions were discovered by the late Tito Puente while they performed at the Chateau Madrid in New York City. Tito spread the word to Ralph Mercado, who then brought Billy Fajardo and the Dance Dimensions in to perform at Madison Square Garden; a venue they would find themselves in frequently, performing at headliner salsa concerts throughout the late 70’s and 80’s. Billy and the Dance Dimensions also performed weekly on NBC from 1978-1982 as part of the nationally televised “Don Kirschner’s Rock Concert” In 1993, Billy was the the co-director and choreographer for the RMM dancers for the world-renowned "Combinacion Perfecta Salsa Tour", which featured such stars as Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony, La India, Cheo Feliciano, Tito Nieves and many more.
Billy met dance partner Katie Marlow in October of 1998. The pair garnered numerous titles and credits during their 14 years together. They are the only couple in the history of the United States to hold two separate world championship titles in the same year, for both Cabaret Exhibition and Latin Hustle. Billy also a Vice World Salsa Champion. Other titles include 2000 US Open Cabaret Champions, 1999 United States Latin Hustle Champions, 2002 NADC Cabaret Champions. In addition, Billy and Katie were four time invitees to the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival Open Exhibition Championships, an honor reserved for only a select few throughout the world. They have been honored with numerous recognition awards over the years for their contributions to the dance world. Since then, they have become one of the most highly recognized performance teams in the salsa dance world; performing on every continent on the planet. At home, they have been featured at such well known venues as as Radio City Music Hall and Lincoln Center. They were also featured on the Main Stage for the Superbowl, and in a tribute to their mentors, the world renowned Augie and Margo Rodrigues, both on Broadway, and then again, with the Miami City Ballet. They were the subjects of a special television segment for Good Life TV, and Billy has been interviewed for countless documentaries and features regarding partner dancing. Billy and Katie have been featured cover stories for various dance publications; including SalsaWeb.com, DanceSport Magazine, 5-6-7-8, NYSC Magazine and many, many others.
Billy was the head judges for The World Salsa Dance Championships as seen on ESPN since it’s inception in 2005, and were instrumental in developing the judging system that has been adopted by much of the Hustle and Salsa world for its various competitions around the world.
Billy has made it his mission to nurture the up and coming talent from the various dance communities, including Salsa, Latin Hustle, Theatrical, Ballroom and West Coast Swing. This led him to create The World Salsa Summit.
Training and Credentials:
Ballet: School of American Ballet (home of American Ballet Theatre) 1975-1982
Jazz: Phil Black, Frank Hatchett 1978-1984
Theatrical: Augie & Margo Rodriguez, Francois Szony, Rufus Dustin, John Ford 1975-Present
Mambo/Salsa: Dancing since 1972.
Certified Championship judge for National Dance Council of America
Licentiate Certification for Theatre Arts Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance
DVIDA Certified Dance Instructor and Examiner
Founder of the International Hustle Dance Association
Member World Dance Council
Member Screen Actors Guild