Sabor on the Bay Carnaval Yacht Party to Celebrate End of San Diego Summer Brazilian Style

Friday, August 3, 2012

The final yacht party for summer 2012 is coming up Labor Day Weekend and the folks at Sabor on the Bay have a great event planned for you.  The theme of this yacht party will be Carnaval, that is, Brazilian style partying including samba dancers and music. The party will also have salsa music for those of you who might be attending the San Diego Salsa Festival for the weekend.

In fact, Sabor on the Bay has partnered with the upcoming San Diego Salsa Festival to host the after party at the very same hotel where the  festival will be held this year.  The official after party will immediately follow the cruise from 12-4am at The Sheraton Hotel (Grand ballroom) across from the airport- less than 1 mile away. The after party will feature 2 rooms of music: Live salsa music with Johnny Polanco & DJ’s playing Bachata & Reggaeton.

Don’t miss out on a fun night of dancing on the yacht and at the official after party!

John ;-)


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Deseo Dance Company Expands to Include Samba Dance: Auditions

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hello Everyone!  San Diego’s own Deseo Dance company is expanding to include a new focus on samba dance.  Serena Cuevas joined forces with Melanie Riveira to bring to San Diego some of the best Samba dancing to be found in America’s finest City.

Here is a short intro video to the recent changes with Deseo Dance and auditions for the new teams if you are interested:

Good luck to all of you auditioning for this great dance organization!

John ;-)


The Spirit of Brazil in the Heart of San Diego: Brazilian Day San Diego 2010

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Brazilian Day San Diego is coming up this Sunday September 12 and will once again take place in Pacific Beach from 12pm to 7pm.

For those of you unfamiliar with the event, it’s the largest fundraiser for Capoeira Institute, Inc., a non-profit organization that provides outreach programs for underprivileged children and teens. Their focus is to educate the community regarding Brazilian culture and Fine Arts, such as capoeira, samba, Afro-Brazilian dance and percussion.

The day will feature a parade, dance shows and an array of traditional cuisine including Brazilian barbecue, feijoada and pastel. The event is kid friendly too as there will be  a  fun children’s area with carnival rides, inflatable jumps, ballon artists, face painters and other entertainers.

To find out more information about Brazilian Day San Diego 2010 please visit the event page for it on the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group.

See you all at Brazilian Day San Diego 2010!

John ;-)


UCSD Dance Team To Dance Samba and Compete On ‘Dancing With The Stars’

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A dance team from UC San Diego will compete on  “Dancing with the Stars” Tuesday night against dancers from Purdue University.  The episode airs Tuesday, May 11, 2010.  The teams will dance the samba, with the winner to perform on the show’s season finale May 25, according to UCSD.  The video above gives a nice example of what you can expect from our San Diego team.

“This will be an incredible experience for the team to perform live in front of a national audience,” said Brodie Kester, UCSD Dancesport team captain. “It will be a once-in-a-lifetime performance.”

In the San Diego area, “Dancing with the Stars” will air at 8 p.m. Tuesday on ABC affiliate KGTV Channel 10.  Ritmo Bello wishes them good luck in their competition!

John ;-)


Get Fired Up Latin Style with The New Mambo Kings!

Monday, July 6, 2009

If you are a fan of the “Dancing with the Stars” TV show you are in for a treat.  Here in San Diego at the historic Starlight Theatre in Balboa Park there will be a limited engagement showing of “The New Mambo Kings.”

“The New Mambo Kings” is an exciting musical revue that blends Latin American culture through the art of dance, voice, and music.  The show will feature lots of different Latin music styles including Salsa, Merengue, Cumbia, Cha-Cha-Cha, Samba, Tango, Rumba, Paso Doble and Boleros.  It will also have flashy dance numbers and a good amount of singing both in English and in Spanish.

Starlight Theatre’s new Guest Artistic Director, Carlos Mendoza, along with his brother Mauricio Mendoza hope to reach out to everyone from all walks of life with their show.  The brothers have a long history in the performing arts, appearing in popular movies and shows like “Blow” starring Johnny Depp (see the Youtube video below).  I think the show will be a great way to experience the full range of Latin American music and dances in a way that is energetic and riveting.  If you’ve been one of the people glued to the TV watching “Dancing with the Stars” this will be a great show for you too.

The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group will be attending the July 31st performance and you are invited to attend this show as well.  To find out more information about how to obtain tickets please visit the RSVP page (click here!) on the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group.  Come out and support a great performing arts revue here in San Diego!

Could we see Kizomba in San Diego?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It’s not surprising to see new dances grow in popularity.  Indeed, many of the Latin dances we enjoy today such as salsa have roots in other dance traditions that were once more common.  

Over the last few months I’ve noticed a lot of new Youtube videos showcasing a fairly recent dance called Kizomba.  Credited by many as coming from Angola, the music and dance also has connections with Portugal as many of the songs are sung in Portuguese.  When you see the videos here you’ll notice that some of the movements are similar to other Latin-style dances such as tango, samba, and merengue.  

So far I haven’t seen this type of music hit the San Diego dance scene, but I would not be surprised if took hold here.  For now we can watch the spread of this music and dance worlwide and await its debut in America’s Finest City.

Ritmo Bello Interview with Master Brazilian Samba Dance Instructor Jazz Baptiste

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Jazz Baptiste

Here in San Diego, California many people are unfamiliar with the Brazilian dance known as samba.  Indeed, I have to admit that I too share in this unfamiliarity with the high energy dance from Brazil.  Although there may be places to visit for samba dancing here in San Diego, those venues typically don’t get the same exposure as salsa and tango dancing venues.

We all recognize, though, the distinctive sounds and dress typical of Brazil’s Carnaval celebrations (it’s hard not to notice the headdresses and seductive movements associated with the dance). I also think we can all appreciate the high spirited and exuberant happiness that the dance can bring to people.

One individual here in San Diego is doing her part to promote samba dance and to bring the joy of the dance to everyone.  I recently spoke with Jazz Baptiste, Master Brazilian Dance Instructor, about what is happening in samba today here in San Diego.


Ritmo Bello : Thanks for taking some time to talk to the Ritmo Bello audience about what’s new in samba dancing for San Diego.  Samba seems like an up and coming dance here locally in "America’s Finest City".  What do you offer to people in San Diego that want to learn more about samba dancing?

Jazz Baptiste: We offer samba dance classes throughout the week plus dance workshops with master instructors.  We also do dance presentations and events.

Ritmo Bello: Tell me a little about how you started your organization. Did you grow up dancing samba?

Jazz Baptiste : I started dancing samba in 2003 when introduced to it at a local nightclub.  The drums were intoxicating, the music was lively and joyful, the samba dance was energetic and sexy and I wanted to learn more. I was hooked from the first night.  I began learning about the dance, the music and culture.  In the fall of 2003 I started dancing samba professionally. A year later I was teaching samba around town and started my own samba dance performing group, Alegria Samba School .  Since 2004 it has been my mission to share my joy of samba dance with San Diego and beyond.

Alegria Samba

Ritmo Bello: I know that Samba has roots in Brasil.  Where exactly does samba dancing come from though?

Jazz Baptiste: The samba (or Mesemba) which means "to pray" is an Afro-Brazilian dance from Bahia, Brazil. It is derived from a dance called the Lundu, The West African slaves, Portuguese songs and Indian rituals. When different body motions and carnival steps were added to the dance, it was called the "Zemba Queca", described as a graceful Brazilian dance. In the early 1900’s the Mesemba was mixed with the Maxixe (Brazilian tango) to become known as the Samba.

Ritmo Bello : I understand that there are different types of samba dancing. What is the difference between samba no pe, samba de gafieira, samba pagode, and other types of samba?

Jazz Baptiste: Samba no pe is the faster Carnaval type samba usually danced to the fast batucada drum beats of samba de enredo or Carnaval samba.  Samba de gafieira is the Brazilian ballroom samba which mixes Brazilian tango or Maxixe with samba music.  Samba pagode is a slower samba sometimes danced with partners and sometimes solo that moves to a slower tempo samba beat. Samba rock is combines samba and rock music making for a very modern music and dance style.  Samba de roda is samba danced in a circle. A group forms and individuals go into the center of the circle and do solo samba dances and then select someone else to take their place in the middle.

Ritmo Bello: How difficult is it to learn samba dancing?  What types of steps are involved in the dance?

Jazz Baptiste: Samba is a more challenging dance to learn than others such as salsa, but not impossible. Your footwork moves to a 1 and a 2 beat while your hips are on a 1/2 beat hitting every other two matching the surdo drum of the batucada. For people who have a dance background it is a little easier to pick up samba because they are already used to rhythm dancing. For pure beginners I recommend patience and consistency in order to get a comfortable handle on the samba dance, which is normally reached after about 3 months.

Ritmo Bello : Apart from Samba dancing what other types of dancing are you proficient in?

Jazz Baptiste: I am a professional dancer and instructor of Belly dance, Latin dance including: Salsa, Merengue, Cha Cha, Bachata and Rumba, Ballroom dance, Afro-Brazilian dance and ballet.  I have been dancing and training for over 20 years.

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

Jazz Baptiste: Samba is not just a beautiful dance and cultural experience but it also an amazing workout.  Samba keeps people in shape and also brings out a great joy from within.  Everyone should give samba a try at least once in their lives.

Alegria Samba

Ritmo Bello: How can the Ritmo Bello audience reach you if they want to find out more information about your organization?

Jazz Baptiste: For more information on Brazilian Samba dance classes and events go to the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group . You can also visit my website at . People can also send us an e-mail at

Ritmo Bello: Jazz, thank you for your time and for bringing more samba events to the San Diego area!

John F. Bello

Meet John ;-)

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