An Interview with Sakara Dance Company

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hello everyone! The San Diego Salsa dance scene is fortunate to have another new dance company, but this time with a different twist. As you see below in a recent interview, Sakara Dance Company presents a different vision for other dance companies to follow.


Sakara: John, first Sakara Dance Company (Choreographers – Violeta Anderson and Lesley Washington) would like to say thank-you for this interview opportunity to share our thoughts and ideas toward a passion we love, "The Fluidity and Body Movement of Dance!"

Ritmo Bello: What is your Mission and Vision for your dance company?

Mission Statement:
The mission for Sakara Dance Company is to utilize the art of dance to express personal emotion, opinions and a love for movement by stepping outside of the numeric cadence of dancing salsa. As artistic directors for Sakara Dance Company Lesley Washington and Violeta Anderson will continue to challenge not only our bodies, but our minds, rhythmically in choreography and social dancing. We choose to take a simple eight count of music and physically attempt to use as much organic body opposition as possible.

Vision Statement : Sakara will constantly challenge and develop our troupe to have a technically solid foundation and become overall "students of all dance forms" that extends beyond salsa dancing. Our number one belief for the Sakara Dance Troupe is: "The ever evolving fluidity and transition of movement" where challenge and hard work is the key to success!. Sakara Dance Company will offer dance education to people of all abilities from amateur to professional. If you can feel the emotion, you can express it through this art form. As a result of the Company’s performances, and the artistic vision and direction that serve as its foundation, Sakara strives to both preserve and continually contribute to the body of work in this art form.

Ritmo Bello: What are the origins of your dance troupe?

Sakara: The Origins of our dance troupe come from our African roots, in addition to a ballet, modern and jazz foundation. ‘Sakkara’ is best known for the Step Pyramid, the oldest known of Egypt ‘s 97 pyramids. It was built for King Djoser of the 3rd Dynasty by the architect and genius Imhotep, who designed it and its surrounding complex to be as grand as it was unique and revolutionary. The Sakara dance troupe’s main focus is about building your foundation based on the many unique levels/steps of all dance forms, to become grand and revolutionary dancers. We have had extensive experience in various types of dance, with the opportunity to work with one of the top choreographers in the world Seaon "Stylist" Dance Company as part of his core traveling performers.

Ritmo Bello: What sets your group apart from the other local dance troupes?

Sakara: Our group is set apart from the other local dance troupes by a few distinct characteristics. Our commitment to the technical growth and development of our dancer’s first, before teaching them a choreography and putting them on stage. We base our foundation on the principles of dancing on2, New York style salsa, and have danced with the Seaon Stylist Dance Company, choreographed by Seaon Bristol, who was one of the former Eddie Torres dancers. Not only did we learn Seaon’s intricate body movements, styling, traveled around the world teaching his male and female technique, and performed some of the most memorable salsa routines ever, but, we have further evolved and pushed ourselves to do more with our salsa dancing. As choreographers we are well versed in other forms of dance (jazz, ballet, contemporary modern, various African forms, and funk) that we can effortlessly challenge our bodies to do more than ever before. Sakara is also set apart from the other groups by staying neutral in the salsa scene.

We have no allegiance to anyone but to ourselves. Sakara will work, create choreograph for individuals, couples or teams, and collaborate with any and everyone when time, communication and organization are effortless. Most importantly, as Directors we are blessed to have such a beautiful working relationship with each other as it allows us to think cohesively as a unit. Sakara promises to provide everyone with the love and quality of professionalism you deserve on all levels.

Ritmo Bello: If somebody wants to participate how can they contact your group?

Sakara: If anyone wants to have an overall challenge on and off the dance floor they can take a look at our website: and/ or email us at .If all else fails, please contact either Lesley Washington at 1(562) 824-5443 or Violeta Anderson at 1(310) 351-6751.

Ritmo Bello: Anything else you’d like to share with the San Diego salsa dance community?

Sakara: We are looking forward to creating an environment of dancers that want to continually learn and strive to be their absolute best, with the ability to stay humble and remember that everyone started from the same place. We are looking forward to enhancing the unity of dancers and artists that would like to work with each other and offer students a variety of knowledge in San Diego and its surrounding communities and schools. We would like to pay tribute to our numerous friends around the world that consistently challenge us to be the best at our craft and as "stylist", and even some who like to officially challenge and battle us on the dance floor when we see them. (You know who you are! Leon Rose – LOL) It was asked by Leon Rose (London Choreographer, Director, Performer and Instructor) a few years ago in the La Voz Magazine who were your favorite females to dance with in the world to which he responded (paraphrased) for "styling and body movements" Lesley and Violeta from Los Angeles.

Sakara has started a new San Diego on2 Dance Company and welcomes anyone that would like to join or just come by and check us out. We meet Saturday: 11am-1pm, and Wednesday: 8:45pm-10:15. Location: Absolutely Dancesport Dance Studio, 930 W. Washington, San Diego, CA 92103.


We love you San Diego, Los Angeles, and all of those distant countries near and far.

Lesley Washington and Violeta Anderson
Sakara Dance Company
(562) 824-5443: Lesley (310) 351-6751: Violeta

Salsa Dance to Oscar D’Leon Performing Live in San Diego!!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oscar D’Leon, the world renowned salsa singer, will be in San Diego for a performance on May 8th at the Blue Agave. The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dance Meetup has organized a meetup event for the concert for those interested in attending.

If you are not familiar with Oscar D’Leon, the video in this post will introduce you to the intoxicating and moving music typical of his work. Indeed, I’ve seen him in concert before up in the Bay Area (SF/Oakland, CA) and the energy at the concert was incredible. No surprise that it is hard to stand still and not want to salsa dance to this singer’s great music.

New Salsa Dance Troupe Recruits in San Diego for Salsa Performers: Amicitia Dance Co.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hello everyone. Hope you are well. I wanted to let you know about another dance company that is recruiting in the San Diego area.

Junior and Emily of Amicitia Dance Co. is recruiting for their training team.

There is a specific rehearsal event being held on May 6th from 9pm to 11pm at Dance Place San Diego.

Junior and Emily are world renowned for their salsa skills in the competitive salsa arena. They have traveled the world and competed in all sorts of competitions. Most notably, they are 8 time National and International Salsa Dance Champions. They also tout the title of being the youngest international solo team.

If you watch TV you’ll probably recognize them from the show “So You Think You Can Dance” where they choreographed the Mambo.

As you can see in the video shown here, the brother and sister duo will certainly add a new fresh element to the San Diego Salsa scene.

There will also be a Meetup Event soon where you can check them out. The information is posted on the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup.

See you all on the dance floor!

John ;-)

The Health Benefits of Salsa Dancing in San Diego

Monday, April 21, 2008

Hope everyone is doing well.

Every salsa dancer knows that after a long night of dancing you come home tired and completely exhausted at times. Many people remark that their night of dancing was akin to a full vigorous workout they might have at the local gym.

Seems there is some truth to this comparison. I did some research on the subject and found this interesting article written by SixWise .com . The article identifies that social salsa dancing has a number of health benefits ranging from a reduction in stress, increased energy, improved strength, increased muscle tone, and of course increased coordination. One seemingly obvious benefit that comes from social salsa dance is the very fact that you can experience all these health benefits while still being able to maintain social interaction with others. When I go to the gym I notice that most people who work out are running around with headphones on and generally are keeping to themselves. Not so with salsa dancing.

The other point that caught my eyes from the article deals with the burning of calories possible from social salsa dancing. Specifically, it outlined how different types of social dances stack up in their calorie burning potential:

How many calories will you burn while dancing? That depends on the type of dancing. Here’s a range of some of the most popular varieties, based on a 150-pound person, per hour:

  • Swing dancing: 235 calories/hour
  • Ballroom dancing: 265
  • Square dancing: 280
  • Ballet: 300
  • Belly dancing: 380
  • Salsa dancing: 420+
  • Aerobic dancing: 540+

Remember that salsa dancing is not just fun but is beneficial to a balanced life.

See you all on the dance floor!!!

John ;-)
Ritmo Bello

Salsa and Latin Dance Meetups Around the World!!!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Okay, so I finally got around to updating the links section on Ritmo Bello to include a special section regarding Salsa and Latin Dancing meetup groups around the world . If you look at the list you’ll notice there are meetups from various locations in the United States and some that are international as well.

What’s interesting about each of these groups is the way each Meetup group is a reflection of the local salsa and dance community that it serves. You’ll notice, for example, that certain regions have more than one Salsa Meetup group as they focus on specific areas within a geographic location. This is true for larger metro market areas like Washington DC that has 2 salsa meetups . Some meetup groups listed are relatively small, while others are very established and tout memberships of thousands of people .

Check out the list of links on Ritmo Bello and find out information about places you may be visiting soon. Enjoy!

Skidone Artshow / SALSA, MERENGUE vs HIPHOP (2 rooms, 1 night)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My friend Mark from Skidone is showcasing his artwork at a unique Salsa, merengue, and hip hop event to take place on Friday, April 25th at 8pm at the Kava Lounge .

The event will feature artists such as Get on Beat "Havana Nights" DJ’s Reck & El Lobel (of Cafe Sevilla Wednesdays) and will focus on the Skidone Artshow (featured artist from Harney Sushi & Mangu). There will also be attendance LYTE – Live model artist, Matthew Lorentz, Wardell Brown, Rod Mojica, MeLo, Summer Visions and Michele Jones.

I attended the equivalent show last year and it was a fun mix of music and art. Definitely not an experience to miss.

For more information contact Mark at

Learn more here at the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group

Inspiration for your Salsa dancing…

Friday, April 11, 2008

I saw this video regarding a Colombian Salsa Dancer who has overcome adversity to pursue his dreams. Often we all lose sight of the gifts we are given to us and the dancer’s story reminds us to be grateful for our ability to pursue what we love.

John F. Bello

Meet John ;-)

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