Norberto “Betto” Herrera

Norberto “Betto” Herrera is originally from Guayaquil, Ecuador, where his mother was born and raised. His father was a fisherman from Peru, who fell in love with Betto’s mother during his visit to the port city of Guayaquil.  Sadly, his father, for whom Betto is named, was killed when he was only three years old. Betto is very proud of his heritage and grateful to have grown up surrounded by music and dance. His mother worked hard to immigrate to the United States. She was able to bring Betto and his two younger brothers a few years later.

Betto moved to West New York, New Jersey with his family in 1996, when he was a teenager. His desire to stay in touch with his Latin roots brought him to Ismael Otero, one of the pioneers of mambo and salsa dancing in the area. He studied under Ismael until he joined the military in 2000.

During his time at Camp Lejune, Betto started Latin dance classes for service members and their dependents. The classes on base were so popular that he was asked to teach and perform throughout other parts of North Carolina. Even after he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps and moved to Raleigh in 2004, requests for instruction and performances continued.  And so, Mambo Dinamico was founded.

While living in Raleigh, Betto continued his dance training in different Latin dance styles. He trained in Tango techniques with fellow instructor Daniel McClain. He also received mentorship and training from Cuban Master Felix “Pupy” Insua in Afro-Cuban movement and dance. Master Pupy’s knowledge and guidance helped Betto widen his perception towards dance to a larger scale. Because of him, Betto approaches Latin dances as a way to create community and spread cultural awareness. In addition to ongoing dance training, Betto continues to expand his music repertoire through his mentor David Garcia, Associate Professor of Music at the University of North Carolina.

Betto4Some highlights of Betto’s dance career include participating in international dance conferences in Washington, D.C.; New York City, NY; Boston, MA; Chicago, IL; Orlando, FL; Curacao, NA; Tokyo, Japan; among many others. Betto was also appointed as the head judge of Southeast Salsa Open Dance Competition, as well as in the judging panel for the Peru Salsa Open. He has been featured in publications like Southern Living Magazine, News and Observer, The Independent Weekly, Cary Living Magazine, and LaVoz Del Mambo. Betto has also been interviewed and featured by local channels like Univision 40, WRAL and FOX50. He frequently is used as a subject for scholarly research by professors and students at local universities because of his expertise in Latin dance and music.

Since Betto founded Mambo Dinamico, he has transformed it into a premiere Latin Dance Company that provides instruction, performances, and choreographies both nationally and internationally.  Mambo Dinamico’s dancers are known for their musicality, energy and unique movements.   Betto feels blessed that his love of dance turned into a lifelong career and thankful everyday for his students and audiences that make it all possible.

 

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