Coming direct from Puerto Rico, the two well known salsa musicians are reuniting once again as they did back in 2001 for their music tour “Dos Soneros, Una Historia.”This time around the concert is being called “La Historia Continua” or “History Continues” and they are sure to deliver more of the same great music that they are famous for creating.
Cafe Sevilla launched a new YouTube video yesterday promoting their salsa dance nights at the club. I’ve noticed over the past couple of months a renewed interest on the part of the salsa club to reinvigorate their 4 nights of weeks of dance. I think it’s great that the management and marketing department are taking a renewed interest in promoting salsa nights here, including opening up the venue to The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group. Check out the RSVP page that is already set up on our website and watch the video here to see what its all about.
If you’ve been to the Balboa Theatre recently you know that the venue has hosted some amazing shows since its reopening.Indeed, as one of San Diego’s last great historic theatres (originally built in 1924 for you history buffs), the newly renovated theatre has done a great job of expanding out to all types of music.
This expansion also includes music like timba.Timba is similar to salsa but incorporates different styles from brazilian, R&B, hip hop and salsa to create a new sound. Timba traditionally is known to have Cuban roots and parallels salsa music’s development as its own entity.
We are lucky in San Diego to have two-time Grammy nominated Miami timba band Tiempo Libre performing live at the renovated Balboa Theatre.Tiempo Libre, classically trained in Cuba’s premiere conservatories, assembled for the first time as an authentic all-Cuban timba band in the United States.
If you’ve ever been to Belly Up Tavern in North County San Diego you’ve probably met one of San Diego’s best female dance instructors, Jemadean Dobrosielski . Along with her dance company, Salsa Pasion, she has been a stong force in bringing quality salsa dancing to not just the North County but to all of San Diego. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Jemadean to talk about her salsa dance experience and the impact she has had in San Diego.
Ritmo Bello: Jemadean, let’s begin. Lot’s of people in the San Diego salsa scene know you from your work at Belly Up Tavern and rave about your dancing. What do you and your dance company, Salsa Pasion, offer to the San Diego dance community that sets you apart from other groups?
Jemadean Dobrosielski: Hi John, and thanks for the opportunity to speak to you and the Ritmo Bello audience. Salsa Pasion focuses on teaching people how to social dance with confidence and passion, with an emphasis on connection with your partner. Unlike most San Diego dance companies, performance is not my focus, though I do perform and train people in performance from time to time. What I do focus on is giving people the tools and technique they need to get on the floor withanyoneand feel confident in what they are doing. My goal is get them to a place where they can dance and connect with their partner, enjoy their partner, and express what they hear in the music, andwho they are, through their dance.
Ritmo Bello: Everyone has a story about how they started salsa dancing. What prompted your entry into dancing salsa?
Jemadean Dobrosielski: My first class was with Tony Caligagan in my senior year at UCSD, which got me going to the clubs initially, but I ended up returning to what I was previously doing, which was Swing dancing. At my swing dance partner’s company Christmas party, I met the Alvarez brothers, who reminded me how much I enjoyed Salsa. I ended up back at the Salsa clubs, and have loved Salsa ever since!
Ritmo Bello: Why did you pick Salsa Pasion as the name of your dance company? Is there a story behind that too?
Jemadean Dobrosielski: I am really passionate about expressing who you are, not only for myself, but for everyone, and dance is such a great medium for expression. Great dance pretty much requires one to be willing to put themselves out there, and when people have the courage to take that chance, it is a beautiful and liberating thing. I love to encourage people to dance with passion and live with passion, and so when I was choosing the name, Salsa Pasion seemed just perfect for me.
Ritmo Bello: I understand that you are a former member of Salsa Y Fuego. Can you describe what that experience was like and how it impacted the way you dance salsa today?
Jemadean Dobrosielski: It was a great experience in almost every way. The group we had together, especially for the 2001 Salsa Congress, was really a great team, and a supportive team. Our director, Stephan Gallardo, was particular about technique, and doing things over and over until they were right, which fit me perfectly. I am detail oriented, have always known the value of good technique, and realize that perfection takes time, hard work, and discipline, and I don’t mind that at all. Salsa Y Fuego was the first company to dance On 2, and On 2 is still my personal preference today. My dance background, experience with Salsa Y Fuego, and everything I have learned since I left Salsa Y Fuego have shaped the dancer I am today.
Ritmo Bello:How would you describe the way you dance and teach salsa? What approach do you take with your students to help them learn salsa effectively?
Jemadean Dobrosielski: Wow, that’s a big question. I’ll try to be concise, yet clear….I dance and teach others to dancelight. Remember that the overall goal is dancing with confidence, passion, and connection. To do this, you need to create space and time to actually listen to the music, express what you hear in the music, and enjoy your partner. When you dance heavy, there is a lot of time and space required just to get through the pattern, which then makes the dance more chaotic because you always feel like you are in a hurry, which leaves little time to enjoy your partner. Once you learn how to dance light with good technique, it actually seems like the music has slowed down, even though the music has not changed at all. Regarding the 2ndquestion: The first thing I do is assess what their goals are—everyone has different reasons why they want to learn to dance. Their goal tells me if I need to just give them what they need to get out there and move a little bit, or if I need to make sure they are aware of all the little details that make the difference between a good dancer and a great dancer. Once I understand their goal, I build them a foundational structure that they understand and can build upon in the future—this really helps to demystify Salsa for them, and soon they may find themselves looking like the dancers they were so inspired by. And lastly, I’d like to add that as we go along in lessons, it becomes very apparent to me what strengths my student has, and the areas where they can improve—everyone’s strengths and weaknesses are different–so my feedback for them is as personalized as possible.
Ritmo Bello: At the outset of this interview I mentioned your work at Belly Up Tavern. Why is Belly Up Tavern a good place to dance salsa? What makes it different from other salsa dance venues in San Diego?
Jemadean Dobrosielski: I love Belly Up!!! The energy at Belly Up is always good! Everyone is nice—there is really no ego or attitude. Everyone is just there to dance and have a good time. There are very few dance performances, if any at all, as we are all there to get our Salsa fix! Why watch dance when you could be dancing yourself! The floor is great, and the sound is the best in town– the Belly Up is a concert venue with professional sound staff. Plus you get a great LIVE BAND: Orquesta Primo, which I love. I love to just watch them do their thing if I’m taking a dance break. The Belly Up also has a restaurant right next door for food, a full bar, and lots of seating. I do the lesson, which can be quite large, but the layout makes it easy to see, and the great sound makes sure you can also hear everything I’m saying.
Ritmo Bello:Focusing back on yourself, I’ve heard many women comment that they enjoy learning salsa dance from a woman like yourself. What do you do to specially cater to the needs of women dancers new to salsa?
Jemadean Dobrosielski: Again, good foundations from the beginning. Leads and follows have different jobs in the dance, and each one needs to learn what their job is to be a good dance partner, so I start by letting them know what their job is. In addition, depending on what skills each woman already has, or does not have, when she comes to me, she may need to learn how to move gracefully, and carry herself with a particular attitude. There are certain foundations that are important to have before adding things like arm styling, otherwise she may have a hard time achieving the look she desires, and so I give her my recommendation on the order in which she should proceed.
Ritmo Bello: Is there anything else that you’d like to share with the Ritmo Bello dance audience about yourself?
Jemadean Dobrosielski: I love what I do, and I love helping people get to their goals in the most efficient and effective way possible, so if that is what you are looking for, I look forward to meeting you!
Ritmo Bello:How can the Ritmo Bello audience reach you if they want to find out more information about Salsa Pasion?
Happy New Year everyone! I hope all of you had a safe and happy holiday season.
2009 marks not only a new year but new opportunities to go out and dance here in San Diego. The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group calendar is full of new events for January including a new series of salsa dance nights at Cafe Sevilla.