A Tribute to the King of Pop: Michael Jackson’s Salsa Video

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Like most people in the world, I’ve been following the death and aftermath of Michael Jackson’s passing last week.  It’s been interesting to see all the tributes and retrospects regarding his life.

A reader sent me a link to this YouTube video and I thought it would serve as a great tribute to his life’s work.  Although there is not much salsa dancing in the video at all, the beat of the song is set to a salsa rhythm.  I hope you enjoy it…

Michael Jackson 1958 -2009

Tapas and Salsa Dancing with Meetup.com at Cafe Sevilla July 1st!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Believe it or not July is fast approaching and with it comes another First Wednesday of the Month with Meetup.com event!  The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group is doing something a little different this time and we will be meeting earlier in the night (7pm) to share some Spanish tapas.   Cafe Sevilla is well known for it’s great Spanish Cuisine (check out this review of the food) and the sharing of tapas between our group members will help encourage great conversation so you can meet your fellow dancers.  After sharing tapas we’ll already be in the club area downstairs so you can either take the free lesson at 8:30pm or go to the VIP area that is set aside for Meetup.com members.

The event is open really to anyone interested in Spanish food and salsa dancing but I’d encourage you to RSVP ahead of time as we tend to get lots of people who attend the First Wednesday of the Month events at Cafe Sevilla.  You can access the RSVP page here.

Hope to see you all at the upcoming First Wednesday of the Month on July 1st!

Cafe Sevilla and Meetup.com

Looking for a Few Good Sponsors…

Friday, June 19, 2009

The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group is looking for a few good sponsors!  Sponsorships are a great way for businesses, organizations or brands to support local meetup groups, while getting exposure to active, local members.

Some ways that you could possibly help our group as a sponsor include:

*  Paying money to support our meetup.
*  Supply samples to distribute to our members.
*  Offer free or discounted services to our members
*  Give discounts or coupons on products to our members

So far we’ve partnered with a number of great businesses and as a thank you to those organizations I wanted to highlight some of them here:


Unus is a web developer dedicated to helping businesses grow through online solutions. Open communication and no pressure sales are their mantra and they pride themselves in providing a great experience driven by excellent customer service. Unus has over 20 years of experience and they are not your typical techies. Every project is important to them, regardless of size. (Case in point, they did a pretty good job with my own website Ritmo Bello!)

e.K Clothing

e.K. Clothing / Dancewear is an online shop devoted exclusively to offering the latest in Latin dance apparel and clubwear. Many of the clothes in their store are Salsa & Mambo inspired styles however they also carry flower hair clips, asymmetrical skirts, flare pants, and halter dresses that are great for Ballroom, Swing, Tango, Jazz and Flamenco fashion.

Gabellini Dance Shoes

Gabellini Dance Shoes are created by dancers with the utmost comfort in mind and the most original, fashionable looks of the day. The shoes are designed by Giancarlo Gabellini and I can tell you from personal experience that the shoes are awesome for dancing as I own a pair myself.

If you are interested in finding out more information about sponsoring the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group check out this link ( http://www.meetup.com/san-diego-salsa-and-latin-dancing/suggestion/sponsor/)   and send me a message. Thanks!

Bachata Documentary Screening Saturday June 20th…

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Not too long ago I wrote about a producer looking to screen his film “El Duque de la Bachata” here in San Diego.  I’m happy to report that he found a venue to screen his film this weekend.

The film will be screening at a San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Assistant Organizers home.  To find out more information about the film screening and how to attend please visit the RSVP page set up on The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup website.

See you at the film screening!

Important Updates for the 3rd Annual San Diego Salsa Festival 2009!

Friday, June 12, 2009

The San Diego Salsa Festival will be coming here in September and there are some important things to let you all know about NOW.

First, the organizers for the event are currently selling the full event passes for a reduced price.  Prices are slated to go up next week.  If you already know for sure that you will be attending you should purchase your full event pass now to lock in the current low price.  I’ve already secured my own full event passes and if the event is anything like it has been the past this event may sell out!

Also, if you are part of a dance team or a dance director here locally in San Diego you should secure your team’s spot at the San Diego Salsa Festival today by emailing the organizers of the event.  As most of you already know this event is one of the best ways to let local folks and those visiting San Diego learn more about your dance companies.

I’ll be writing more about the San Diego Salsa Festival over the next couple of months so keep checking Ritmo Bello for more information.

Ritmo Bello Interviews Deseo Dance Director Serena Cuevas

Friday, June 5, 2009

San Diego is known for it’s beautiful beaches, near perfect weather, and an evolving salsa dance scene.  I mention the last point because over the last few years San Diego has experienced a new genesis of energy and excitement in Latin dance.  One salsa dancer in particular, Serena Cuevas, is credited with bringing salsa dancing to the national spotlight through her recent work with Gatorade on their new G2 products.

Serena Cuevas, director of Deseo Dance, shared some of her thoughts about her own development in salsa dancing and where it is going here in San Diego. Enjoy the interview below!


Ritmo Bello: Serena Cuevas, thanks for taking some time out of your busy schedule to address the Ritmo Bello audience.  San Diego’s salsa dance scene is always expanding with new talent and your dance company Deseo Dance is a great example of this fact.  What does Deseo Dance offer to the San Diego dance community that’s different from other local dance studios?

Serena Cuevas: I train my dancers to feel movements first. Counts, timing, and technique are key factors to learning and progression but you’ll really go no-where in the long run without ‘feeling’ the moves and making them your own.

Ritmo Bello: Every dancer has a story about how they first found salsa dancing and how they first started to dance.  Can you tell me a little about how you came in contact with salsa dancing?

Serena Cuevas: I was 11 years old and my dad had shown me the basic…”1,2,3… 5,6,7…”. Without counts, just “back, together, forward, together”. It was so fun for me but I wanted more! My mom had been taking private Ballroom lessons and so she starting bringing me along. I watched and loved it even more! I starting taking over my mom’s private lessons and performing locally in studio shows. I knew this was it for me.

Ritmo Bello: As one of San Diego’s newer dance companies what are the main goals you want to accomplish as an organization?

Serena Cuevas: Being on successful teams I’ve learned a lot about the way goals are met. I have grown so much with Majesty in Motion. David and Jen have done an amazing  job with their company and I believe I have a lot to do if I’m heading that route. I definitely admire what it takes to be a successful director and work towards that.

First, of course come my teammates; for my teams and company as a whole I plan on building them as dancers AND athletes. It’s important not to forget that what we do takes a toll on our bodies and recovery from injury means not being able to pursue your passion. In the future, I’d like Deseo to be an athletic representation of Salsa.

Ritmo Bello
: What types of teams do you currently have in formation and where do they compete?

Serena Cuevas: Deseo is not a competing team by any means; we enjoy dancing for expressive and passionate purposes. I have 3 teams right now: Deseo Ladies (Advanced Ladies Styling), Deseo Lumbre (Beginner Partnering), and Deseo (Advanced Partnering).

Ritmo Bello: If someone is interested in joining your dance team what advice can you give them?  Do they have to have prior dance experience?

Serena Cuevas: Call me and we will set up a private audition. They take about 30 min and we can schedule them anytime. Let me know soon as my schedule is often full. You do not need prior experience for the group classes but for all teams, yes, knowledge of On2 dancing is strongly recommended.

Ritmo Bello: Recently you’ve gained some great exposure from your work in the Gatorade G2 commercial with Serena Williams.  How did you become involved in this project with Gatorade?

Serena Cuevas: They contacted me actually. It was a surprise and I did not believe it at first but one call and email after another, then a competition in LA and before I knew it, I won the ‘Search for the Next Serena’ for the G2 campaign competition! It was unreal and amazing at the same time.

Ritmo Bello: Will we be seeing you in future Gatorade commercials or maybe even other types of productions?

Serena Cuevas: Yes. I believe Gatorade still has a few plans in the works for me. Also, I was recently contacted by a producer working with an amazing director and choreographer for an upcoming movie to release in 2010. Very exciting although nothing is in stone. I will keep you posted as soon as I am allowed! :)

Ritmo Bello: In your opinion, what’s the best aspect of being a salsa dancer in San Diego today?

Serena Cuevas: The diversity! All the dance companies specialize in something different and there is so much opportunity to grow! Students have a ton of choices for clubs, teams, shows, training, etc. Very cool.

Ritmo Bello: What do you like the most about being a professional salsa dancer?

Serena Cuevas: I love loving what I do. Performing is by far my favorite feeling, but training dancers and seeing the progression is unbelievable!

Ritmo Bello: Anything else you’d like to share with the general public?

Serena Cuevas: Yes! Saturday June 6th I am hosting an amazing workshop/fundraiser for my baby neice Gia! I have created an event where all the directors in San Diego have a class to teach and with cross promotion and this amazing line-up I believe this day will really benefit both SD and baby Gia! You can read her story on our homepage : www.DeseoDance.com . She really needs us San Diego! (Special Note: To Find out more information about the event and RSVP for it check out the event page on the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group.)

Ritmo Bello: How can the Ritmo Bello audience reach you if they want to find out more information about you and Deseo Dance?

Serena Cuevas: Please go to www.DeseoDance.com anytime and email me if you have any questions.

Ritmo Bello: Serena Cuevas on behalf of Ritmo Bello and the San Diego salsa community thank you for all you do to promote salsa dancing!

Serena Cuevas: Thank you for supporting us! Salsa lives on because of how much we all contribute. Thank you John!

CAFE SEVILLA ON THE BAY! 22 Year Anniversary Boat Gala Coming June 26th!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cafe Sevilla is one of the best places to dance salsa here in San Diego.  Over the years the venue has done a great job of providing a quality nightclub experience to those looking for salsa in the Gaslamp Quarter.  

Well, our favorite venue is celebrating 22 years of great memories on June 26th and they’ve decided to go all out for the occasion!

Cafe Sevilla, both the nightclub and restaurant, are hosting a special evening to commemorate their 22 years of bringing quality entertainment to San Diego.  The event will feature a boat gala on a Lord Hornblower Yacht with capacity for up to 500 people.  Cafe Sevilla will be hosting different areas of music on the yacht including a special area for those who want to dance to salsa and other Latin dances.  

The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group will be in attendance at this event and we’ve set up a special RSVP page for those interested in coming with the group.  Here is the link where you can find out more information about the boat gala:


We’ll see you all on June 26th at the Sevilla on the Bay boat party!

John F. Bello

Meet John ;-)

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