HK Magazine: Are salsa dancers total exhibitionists? Albert Torres: Maybe inside. I know some of the most conservative people who, once they get up on the stage, are just amazing. There’s an old saying about salsa: if you can’t feel it, you don’t have a heartbeat. HK: Do you ever find it weird to see kids dancing erotically in ball gowns and heels? AT: Sometimes, because initially the kids do almost look like a grownups, but they've all been around long enough that I've witnessed them become such talented youths. I see kids we’ve taken from gang-infested areas in New York go on to great things. I’m 21 years sober, and my goal is to help kids so they don’t have to go through some of the things I went through with. HK: What happened 21 years ago? AT: I was running around, drinking and selling drugs. The problem was that I became my best customer. I’d been around that kind of world since we moved to Puerto Rico when I was 12. I’d hitchhike to get out to where there were dance shows and I started dancing the hustle. I made a name for myself when I was just 12 years old and by 14, I was doing shows and people had me drinking champagne and stuff... Now I’m 50 and I've never felt happier. HK: Hitchhike to a dance show? How were you so passionate about dancing? AT: I’ve been dancing since I was 5. It was my first addiction before any other drugs and alcohol. It was a way to numb myself because there was lots of pain in my house. The venetian blind cord was my first partner. As soon as the door closed and the music turned on, I couldn’t be hurt. HK: So now, why producing over dancing? AT: Because when I started, there wasn't a producer out there who was also a dancer. I’ve danced in a lot of movies, and most of the producers just wanted to milk us. I started producing so I could stop that. I just set down some rules - we’re going to get fed when the actors get fed. You know, on a movie set, dancers are at the bottom of the totem pole.