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New Elegant South Bay Salsa Club by SL Corchado “Vicente”

The new Club Azucar, located in the Forum, an elegant establishment at 146 S. Murphy Ave., Sunnyvale (info: 408 739-5000) had a magnificent grand opening on February 28 for salsa dancing on Thursday nights. The promoters, Mitchel Ramos and Dave Reyes, developed a salsa opening night program using dance instructors Michelle and Carlos from 7:15-9:45 PM, two salsa bands (Orquesta Borinquen and Julio Bravo y su Orquesta Salsabor) and a dance company.

According to the establishment’s general manager, total credit must be given to the promoters Ramos and Reyes for turning out 600-plus salseros that night. Enthusiastic salseros came from Santa Cruz, San Jose, the Peninsula, North Bay and East Bay. Club Azucar handles their clientele with graciousness. The Sunnyvale downtown area provides ample illuminated free parking.

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 On this opening night Orquesta Borinquen started this South Bay happening with their raw, hot New York style of salsa.  Bill Ortega, the bandleader, said in an understatement, “ We are opening and closing hot tonight.” He did just that, and the dance action became flashy and even hotter as fierce competition between the dance couples amazed everyone. The salseros and the visiting dance instructors put on a show that would make many dance competitions look tame. What a remarkable, one-of-a-kind performance by the dancers! During changing of the bands, the Rumba Rumberos Dance Company put on a quick show.


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Julio Bravo y su Orquesta Salsabor closed the evening (midnight –1:45 AM) with his contemporary salsa hits, merengue, cumbia, boleros and traditional classics. Julio’s romantic interpretations and distinctive style are the band’s trademarks. Yes, the band was very smooth and salseros enjoyed the change in the band’s pace and music style, allowing dancers to express eloquence and grace.


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 DJs Tony ‘O’, Joe Felicano, and Jean Carlos provided salsa music during program events. Also, rock music was featured in the sound enclosed dance area on the second floor.

Club Azucar will meet the needs of the South Bay salseros where people can dress in beauty, elegance and style. Some years back the professional Latin women said that they wanted to upgrade from office wear to evening dress in a return to elegance and personal expression.  Bravo!  To me it's called class, tradition, culture and pride. On opening night the promoters lowered the dress code to accommodate the many people coming long distances.  Unfortunately, the temporary dress-down saw men come a bit too casual and many women wore tacky pants. In the future the dress code for men’s jackets and women dresses will be enforced.  

Years ago, The Palace was the most elegant salsa club in Northern California. The promoters are determined to continue in that style with the new Club Azucar. The SFClubs Company purchased The Palace dinner establishment in July 2001 and made major improvements. A key change was to reduce seating capacity in order to provide more dancing space and mingling room. Also, dinner service is from 6:00 – 10:00 PM Tuesday through Saturday, and to catered events.

Copyright SL Corchado “Vicente” Text and Photos March 2002

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