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Duplessey has dedicated her life to dance and is the recent recipient of two lifetime achievement awards for her work in the salsa/mambo community worldwide .
Awarded by Albert Torres and the 7th Annual West Coast Salsa Congress and secondly from Nelson Flores, Luis Zegarra and associates of the NY/NJ Salsa Festival 2005. Duplessey began performing Latin dance professionally in 1989 with her uncle, dance partner and mentor New York’s Mambo King, Eddie Torres. Latin music and dance is a part of her family legacy performing as a Tito Puente, Celia Cruz dancer and soloist for almost two decades all the while pursuing an academic career receiving a Master’s in Psychology from Pace University. Duplessey’s salsa/ mambo accomplishments seem limitless all stemming from simple fact that she is a dancer at heart!
Duplessey was born of Puerto Rican parents from Spanish Harlem, her father a percussionist and mother a natural born dancer. Eddie’s sister (Duplessey’s mom) can be seen in the 1970 PBS documentary footage “Our Latin Thing”, on stage with the Fania All Stars swaying to a Cha-Cha, at Club Cheetah. When Duplessey’s mom gave birth she was very ill and knew she had to assure her newborns safety in case anything should happen to her. Fate stepped in and brought the newborn together with her great aunt and saving grace, Isabel Walker. Duplessey’s mom died three years later and upon her death her aunt promised to take care of the newborn and keep her safe to the best of her ability. That moment would change Duplessey’s life forever. The newborn was taken from Spanish Harlem to a suburb of Westchester County where her dance career began at age two with ballet classes. Attending Suny Purchase College Youth Program, she would receive extensive training in jazz, modern, tap and further her ballet training traveling to Budapest, Hungary working with the Kirov Ballet. Duplessey would perform in the Suny Purchase production “Nutcracker Suite”, where her uncle Eddie Torres and family would be in the audience.
Duplessey’s Latin dance career started at age fourteen, coincidentally at a Latin music concert in Madison Square Garden where Eddie was performing. Duplessey picked up a flyer that advertised salsa classes and handed it to her mom expressing an interest in dancing salsa. Her mother said that she would have to call her nephew Eddie Torres who is “the best in New York”, and make arrangements for her to take class. Duplessey’s mother arranged to pay Eddie for hourly private lessons and she continued to train until she was good enough to perform with her uncle. In 1989 Eddie and Duplessey traveled to California and performed their first duet “Salsa Y Sabor”, by Tito Puente. Eddie later started a junior dance company comprised of children from ages twelve to fifteen all friends of Duplessey. The children would perform anywhere and everywhere with the Eddie Torres senior dance company, free of charge. Duplessey’s mother would eventually purchase a motor home to transport the dancers and provide them with a facility to change. Parks, museums, hallways, grass, concrete the Eddie Torres dance company would perform anywhere, just to be seen and to proliferate their love of Latin music and dance. At times the children would miss school having performed late at night or in night clubs all for it to come to an end after three short years. Duplessey’s mom called Eddie to find out the arrangements for the next show only to be told by his wife that the junior company was no longer to be used. The children were devastated.
Duplessey’s Latin dancing would be on hold while she received a full scholarship in dance to Point Park College in Pennsylvania only to return to New York a year and half later with a disabling dance injury. Chiropractic care and physical therapy enabled Duplessey to dance again and her uncle visiting her mom at work invited them to come to his social “Mambo Magic”, at Club Broadway on 96th street. Eddie then re-invited Duplessey back into his company and to partner with him once more. They worked together traveling all over the world, and would perform in venues like, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, Manhattan Center, United Nations, Kennedy Space Center, Town Hall and Jacobs Javits Center to name a few. Duplessey would eventually share the cover with her uncle on his instructional video “Salsa Night Club Style” and his original music CD entitled “Dance City.”
A highlight in Duplessey’s career was Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall with full orchestra performance by Tito Puente and Celia Cruz. Tito Puente decides to take a timbale solo and beckon a call and response dance with Duplessey! Duplessey would undulate her hips and whip her hair and Tito would respond with mimicking strokes of his timbales. Duplessey’s syncopated steps and fancy footwork were beat to beat with Tito’s rapid drum rolls. A standing ovation was the culmination of that performance and one the happiest moments of her life. Unexpectedly, after ten years of dedication to her uncle’s company he would once again let her go.
Years of hard work and struggle for the notoriety and recognition she deserved along with tension in the company compounded by the death of Tito Puente and loss of his studio Eddie phoned Duplessey’s mother and in a round about way told her that, “Duplessey was no longer needed in the company.” She was suddenly on her own. Not being a businessperson at all she found herself in botched deals and at times being blacklisted from events without even knowing it. Being in a company all those years, she didn’t know the first thing about the marketing and business aspect of the dance.
Today, Duplessey learns from her daily experiences in the business. She continues to perform with different Latin dance companies, touring internationally she performed in the 1996 Olympics with Wynton Marsalis and was recently dance captain of an ongoing Latin dance show in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Duplessey formed her own female latin dance troupe SAOCO and has recently performed at Carnegie Hall with the Tito Nieves Tour. Expanding her love of couples dancing she performs tango, hustle, west coast swing and modern with the theatrical dance company, Tango Y Mas directed by Angel Garcia-Clemente. Overall she has learned a lot about the art and business of Latin dance. Her mentors have been the best in the world. Now she teaches children from the Spanish Harlem area and adults all over the world about her culture and family legacy. Duplessey strives to be the best but to put it simply Duplessey-Monic Walker is a dancer at heart!
Duplessey-Monic Walker -Short Biography
Duplessey-Monic Walker Dance Bio
Eddie Torres, New York’s Mambo King recounts a story of being underage and snuck into New York Latin hotspots like the Palladium and Corso by his big sister. That lady was Duplessey’s mom! Mambo dancing is Duplessey’s family legacy, her father a percussionist and her mother a natural born dancer. Eddie Torres, her uncle, dance partner and mentor for almost two decades is a witness to the legacy that has been passed down from his sister to him to her.
Duplessey began studying dance at age two. She received intensive ballet training from the Kirov ballet in Budapest, Hungary. Jazz, modern and tap training from Suny Purchase College, flamenco training from Ballet Hispanico and salsa/ mambo, afro-Cuban training from, the Boys Harbor “El Museo Del Barrio”. Duplessey’s mambo career spans over seventeen years since 1987.
Duplessey has an Associate’s degree in Dance from Point Park College, and her academic accomplishments include a Master’s degree in Psychology from Pace University. Duplessey’s rare combination of formal dance training, academia and passion enables her to be a detailed, organized and commanding Latin dance instructor and performer. Performances include Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, Madison Square Garden, Manhattan Center, Town Hall, Symphony Space Center and the 1996 Olympics with Wynton Marsalis, to name a few. Touring internationally in the early nineties she and her uncle were pioneers in spreading their love of mambo/salsa dance worldwide. Recent accomplishments include choreographer for MTV 3 Latino nationally syndicated commercial and assistant choreographer and dance captain to the Atlantic City Latin Dance Production” Havana After Dark”. New York’s El diaro, “La Prensa” named her “Una Joven Leyenda (A young legend), en el movido mundo de la salsa”, and Univision channel 47 deemed her teaching style and classes a great preventative measure to promote good health. Duplessey is incredibly grateful and thrilled to carry on her family legacy, spreading the love of Latin music and dance worldwide!