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Astoria Mambo dancer sizzles in singing debut

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The performer is already heralded as one of the top dancers and choreographers in the New York mambo scene, and last Thursday marked the hopeful diva's first professional appearance as Addie Diaz, Latin singer.The energy was high as Diaz took the stage in Manhattan last week to showcase a variety of songs for an intimate group made up of mostly family and friends. Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the Bronx, Diaz, who now makes her home in Astoria, has been surrounded by music her whole life. As a child she sang in her church choir and performed in her school musicals, Diaz said. Once she left school though, Diaz could not afford private vocal lessons and was forced to put her singing career on hold. She then turned to her next love: Dancing. Diaz's career began over a decade ago when she first discovered mambo at a club in the Bronx, she said. She was immediately fascinated by it. She began to take lessons, and what began as a fascination soon turned into a blossoming career. Diaz had her first taste of success in 1992 when she won second place at an amateur dance contest at a club in the city. Her performance caught the interest of the late Evelyn Leon, a well respected member of the mambo community, who invited Diaz to train with her dance company, Dancer's Fantasy Stars. This move proved to be Diaz's big break. She even had a chance to dance on stage at Madison Square Garden - in just her third time dancing professionally. "I couldn't believe the opportunity I was presented with, so early in my dance career," Diaz said on her Web site, www.addie-tude.com. "We had such a good time being there. I mean it was Madison Square Garden. That was really big time." Diaz went on to perform with the RMM Dance troupe, which allowed her the opportunity to travel the world and perform with such stars as Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony and Tito Puente. She soon began to produce her own line of instructional dance videos and, in 1999, she formed her own dance company, Addie-Tude. Together with her team of dancers, Diaz has performed and taught workshops in London, Paris, Japan and Switzerland. She was also one of the original cast members of the Off-Broadway Mambo musical "Latin Madness." The show still tours all over the world.Diaz never lost her natural love for music and last Thursday's performance, entitled "An Evening with Addie-Tude," gave Diaz her first chance to show her passion and talent for singing to an audience. "I wanted to come out and present myself to the people in the music industry," explained Diaz. "I don't know many people and [breaking into the industry] does not seem like an easy thing to do." It was her husband and manager, Manny Siverio, who convinced her to pursue her singing professionally."He is every ounce of my inspiration and my biggest support," she said. The night began with a small dance routine choreographed by Diaz. Her confidence and expertise on stage quickly became clear. She moved through the dance steps with such ease and fluidity, that she made it seem like she could hit them in her sleep. Even though her background is in mambo, the style of dance she uses in her choreography cannot be pinned down. The sets were a mix of everything from refined ballroom dancing to sensual samba. Her first song, a mambo rendition of the Donna Summer hit "On the Radio," got the night going, but it was her second song that set the tone. She performed her version Amanda Miguel's "A Mi Amiga," a poignant song about the betrayal of a friend, with such emotion that it made you wonder if perhaps she was drawing from a personal experience. Diaz may not have the years of professional training backing up her voice but the talent and drive is there and her passionate performance revealed that. The highlight of the night was her cover of Selena's Mariachi hit "No Me Queda Mas," which Diaz sang as a ballad. Each word that left her lips was more heartfelt then the last. Looking towards the future, Diaz says that she plans to continue dancing and singing. Her first album should be released by the end of the year. At the mere mention of the album Diaz quickly breaks into an infectious giggle and, in the true nature of a professional, adds, "hopefully by the end of the year. Hopefully."

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