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Salsa Dance Mania with SalsaMania


By Maya, Return to SalsaCrazy.Com Features


Bay Area dance troupes’ fundraisers have always been a great opportunity for salsa addicts to get together, watch each other in action and dance their hearts and feet out without social butterflies getting on the way.

Last weekend our premier dance group Salsamania raised the bar for all the future events of this kind. Its founders John and Liz planned a fundraiser deluxe. They invited salseros extraordinaire Jayson Molina from Puerto Rico and Griselle Ponce from New Jersey to conduct 2 workshops prior to the main party as well as participate in the show that featured not only salsa, but hip hop and samba performances as well. Jayson and Griselle attracted back to clubs many dance troupe salseros who sacrificed their social dancing in favor of group practices.

Salsamania’s hard work promoting the event paid off.  Dancers of all styles from intermediate to advanced levels attended the workshops. The beginner lesson by John and Liz was full of aspiring salseros crowding the floor at Cafe Cocomo, dancers’ favorite club venue in the city.

One of the key points in this success is the instructors’ cheerful and down-to-earth personalities.  John and Liz are widely respected in the competitive San Francisco salsa community. They created a group of dedicated dancers who are treated like family and who worked hard to become #1 in the Bay Area.  John and Liz’ popularity has been increasing steadily over the last few years.  John was even invited to teach in Hong Kong. Now John and Liz are so busy with salsa they were able to quit their regular jobs.

The show started with a multitude of hip-hoppers of all shapes and sizes that were coming and going on and off stage in a succession of patterns and music. It was a series of numbers combined into one impressive performance. Their choreography was responsive to the beat and cleanly executed. (Another proof that individual dancer’s size does not impede quality). We also saw a samba performance with 3 sexy girls and Salsamania’s own Carlos who drummed and jumped like a pro.

South Bay’s Pretty Boys and Girls is a well-known crowd pleaser and not only because of pretty boys and girls.  San Francisco’s own “prince and princess” of salsa, as they were nicknamed by Jayson Molina, teenage brother and sister Junior and Emily performed in Ava Apple’s group Latin Symbolics. I did not get a chance to see very well the new routine from Harmony Project reviving an old Cuban mambo style of emphasizing the 4th beat in dance patterns. However, the audience’s applause recognized and appreciated the innovative techniques.  Salsamania did not perform as a group, but John and Giju presented a shine routine with John’s famous intricate footwork that always drives the viewers wild.

The last number of the show was reserved for visiting guests Jayson and Griselle who never danced as a couple before.  They did not even prepare a choreographed routine. They simply danced with a few rehearsed patterns. Nevertheless, you couldn’t tell it was a last minute creation. They looked poised and polished in their spectacular white costumes displaying stage-ready showmanship.  Their routine did not have any elaborate patterns; it was certainly within reach of many local salseros. What made them stand out was the QUALITY of their movements, not the patterns themselves. It’s not only styling, it’s the precision of every step and every move. That’s what makes it look effortless and graceful, but comes only after years of hard work.  Jayson has been dancing since the age of 8. Griselle has been dancing all her life and became a dance group member at 14.  Their stamina is astonishing. They kept dancing long into the night after workshops and a performance. They stayed in clubs connecting with local dancers and admirers.

Cafe Cocomo had hard time clearing the club after 1 am. Even some hip-hoppers stayed till the very end. Numerous rave reviews after the event flooded emails and discussion forums. Congrats, Salsamania! When is the next event?


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