Make New Salsa Connections at Cafe Sevilla’s Night!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cafe Sevilla Calendar

I want to remind all of you in San Diego about a great monthly event.  Held on the first Wednesday of each month (Our group is featured in Cafe Sevilla’s official flyer above), night at Cafe Sevilla has been a great way to meet other local dancers before the dancing begins.  The photo here is from last month’s night at Cafe Sevilla.  

Last Month's Night VIP area

Cafe Sevilla has been very gracious to our group, including reserving a special VIP section for our members and offering reduced cover for members (check out the RSVP page here to find out more information about this).  If you do come I suggest coming at 9pm sharp since most dancers go out to take advantage of the dancing after 10pm.  From 9pm to 10pm or so you’ll have an opportunity to meet other local salsa dancers and talk before the dancing begins.  Also, don’t forget that I’m still giving away 3 Putumayo CD’s to the first three people that show up at 9pm.

Overall, night at Cafe Sevilla is a great way to break up the work week and make some great new connections with the San Diego salsa community.  

Come check it out!

Meetup Salsa San Diego

Circular Style Street Salsa Workshop in San Diego!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Circular Style Salsa!

For those of you familiar with salsa dancing you know that there are tons of different styles.  Some styles emphasize flashy movements and others are simpler, focusing more on the connection between the partners.

One type of salsa dancing that I enjoy is circular style salsa dancing.  Unlike the hard hitting salsa performed by most dance troupes which tends to be linear, circular style salsa puts more focus on the partner and allows a couple to travel together on the dance floor.  This can be important for a number of reasons. From a social dance perspective this is important because it allows the couple to steer the sometimes dangerous place we call a dance floor.

There is a workshop coming up Saturday April 4th that will emphasize this particular style of salsa dancing, taught by a long time local salsa instructor, José Fernando.  (José is also an assistant organizer with the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group.)

Jose, Assistant Organizer

The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group will be attending as a group and I encourage anyone new to salsa to come and check it out.  To RSVP for the event and find out more information please go to the event page that we set up (click here to be taken there).

Ritmo Bello Interviews Salsa Shoe Designer Giancarlo Gabellini

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Giancarlo Gabellini

You can always tell when someone is passionate about what they do.  Whether it is their job or simply a fun pastime, it’s clear that this passion drives them to do amazing things. 

Giancarlo Gabellini is a great example of this type of passion.  As the owner and creator of Gabellini Dance Shoes, Giancarlo has become well known within the salsa dance world for his innovative salsa dance shoe designs.  Indeed, Giancarlo’s passion for social salsa dancing has allowed him to dance, travel, and grow his business in a way that sets him apart from other salsa shoe designers.  I had the unique privilege to interview Giancarlo recently and learn more about salsa dancing from a shoe designer’s point of view.  I hope you enjoy the interview!


Ritmo Bello:   Giancarlo, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to address the Ritmo Bello audience.  Salsa dancers here in San Diego would love to know what makes your dance shoes great for dancers.  What makes Gabellini Dance Shoes a good option for them to consider?

Gabellini Dance Shoes:   Gabellini Dance Shoes was created because of my introduction to salsa. While it goes without saying quality and comfort are essential our shoes reflect the lifestyle and the fashion sense of the salsa community.

Ritmo Bello:  How did Gabellini Dance Shoes get started? 

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  The idea came out of necessity. After taking dance classes for about 6 months I committed to buying dance shoes. When I shopped around I was absolutely shocked by the available styles, most of which looked like something from 1970’s. I could see that there was a definite need for a stylish dance shoe.  Putting the concept of a fashion forward dance shoe in motion was second nature because I have a background in production from my years in the garment industry.

Ritmo Bello:  How has your experience in the garment industry influenced the design of your dance shoes?

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  Working in the garment industry involves studying fashion trends and using quality manufacturing techniques, both of which are essential to putting out top notch dance shoes. As far as styling goes you look at what dancers are wearing as street shoes and then incorporate those features into beautiful dance shoe. Salsa has the best social dancers around and we deserve styles that reflect our lifestyle.

Ritmo Bello:  Your website describes the best dance shoe soles as those made of suede.  Can you explain why you make that recommendation?  Are there any advantages to these types of soles versus other types?

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  I always do my home work, the best way to test dance shoes is to wear them.  I wore different types of dance shoes, from rubber sole dance shoes that restrict your movement to a jazz slipper that offers neither comfort nor support. My best advice came from experienced performers and the consensus was that a suede sole is the perfect balance of friction and maneuverability.  I added a small rubber portion at the back of the sole for that extra stopping traction when you need it.

The Lead Shoe

Ritmo Bello:  I know you that you offer five unique styles of dance shoes.  Can you describe what makes each one different and unique? 

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  Unlike traditional dance shoes that focus your entire weight on the heel and ball of the foot our styles have a new design concept. All of our shoes have a wedge shaped sole that distributes the weight of the foot over the whole surface of the sole.  We incorporate and build in arch support with metal shanks and reinforced sides. We always use 100% leather outer and lining to hold the form of the shoe.

Fly Out in Red

Besides the distinct style options, there are some differences in flexibility.  The Fly is the lightest and most flexible shoe because it is 3/4 lined in leather.  The Classic has a leather outer and is fully lined in leather but it will soften up like a dance slipper and you’ll be able to reverse point.  The Lead and Sancho are structured shoes that offer full support and will hold their form.  All of our shoes are lighter than the average dance shoes because we use a patented material we use for our soles. 

Ritmo Bello:  You create shoes that are available for men and women? 

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  Yes, the Fly and Classic styles are available in women sizes. Our busiest day for women dance shoes is always Sunday afternoon, the ladies coming looking for comfort after a long weekend of workshops and all night dancing. 

 Classic Shoe

Ritmo Bello:  Lots of dancers first learn about your products through the salsa congresses you attend each year.  Is it true that you attend 40 plus salsa congresses a year? 

Gabellini Dance Shoes
:  We are now very popular with Swing and Ballroom dancers so we are doubling the amount of events we attend every year. With every business I’ve owned I consider direct contact with my customer crucial for success, there is no better way to get feedback about your product. Salsa Congresses provide what I call “grass roots marketing” and allows Gabellini Shoes to be part of the dance community and also helps support the events.

Gabellini Dance Shoes at a Salsa Congress

Ritmo Bello:  What’s the best thing about attending these salsa congresses?

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  Over the past years I’ve made friends with so many social dancers, instructors and performers. It’s always fun joining up at the events and exchanging stories about our salsa travels.  I share a character trait that I think all dancers have, we are very social people with a certain “joie de virvre”. No matter where I travel in the world there’s an instant connection with fellow salsa dancers, it like running into an old friend.

San Diego Salsa Festival

Ritmo Bello:  I assume, then, that you will be at the San Diego Salsa Festival this year in September?

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  Angel and Tulane are fantastic hosts and I had great time at the last 2 events so I’ll definitely be back. On a side note, now when people ask me the question” If you could live anywhere?” my first pick is San Diego.  I’m not sure how many shoes I have to sell for that beach front property!

Ritmo Bello:  For those interested in purchasing your shoes online, how do you know which size will be the best fit? 

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  I do have a size chart online that’s very accurate but I always encourage dancers to ask me questions if there any doubt about sizing.

The Sancho

Ritmo Bello What’s your return/exchange policy like?

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  I know you have to make a leap of faith when buying shoes online, I offer free return shipping for exchanges and refunds and an absolute 100% customer satisfaction guarantee. I’m old school when it comes to customer service.  The customer is always right. 

Ritmo Bello: I understand that you ship everywhere all over the world, is that right?

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  We have customers all over the world, To give overseas customer the same return shipping advantage we opened a warehouse in the UK this year. We will open a distribution center in Rome and Germany by the end of the 2009. 

Ritmo Bello:  Can you tell me a little about your “wholesale” program and who can participate in that program?

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  We want to put Gabellini dance shoes on anyone who loves to dance so we have many options available. Along with our very successful distribution program for dance schools we also offer dance troupes volume discounts.

Ritmo Bello: What is the most interesting story you have from your travels and business of Gabellini Dance Shoes?

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  One event in particular always brings a smile to my face. At my first salsa congress as a vendor, way before I knew anyone in the business, I was at my booth when a guy comes up and asks if I knew where the room for the advanced salsa workshop was. I pointed him in the right direction and warned him “Not to feel bad if it was above his head, I had heard the class was pretty challenging”, he went on to the class. Later someone told me his name was Tito, as in “Tito and Tamara” I guess he was amused too since he’s become one of my regular customers. 

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

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  Make sure you take advantage of our draw for a free pair of dance shoes that we give away each month. We’re also excited about our new woman’s formal shoe line coming our by the end of the year, so stay tuned. 

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

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  The best way to contact me is via email.   I always answer questions and usually within 24hrs.  You can also visit me at my website, Gabellini Dance Shoes.

Gabellini Dance Shoes Website

Ritmo Bello:  Giancarlo, on behalf of the Ritmo Bello and San Diego dance community thanks so much for your time.

Gabellini Dance Shoes:  Always a pleasure, I’ll see everyone again on my next trip to the West Coast events. Come by and say hello!

Putumayo World Music Releases New Salsa Music Collection “¡Salsa!”

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Putumayo World Music is known throughout the world for connecting people with different types of world music.  Their CD’s are easy to recognize in the stores with their colorful artwork and unique music compilations.  Many of their best CD’s are salsa music collections. I own a couple and really enjoy the distinct salsa artists that are represented on those CD’s.

I was happy to learn that they are going to release a new salsa CD shortly titled “¡Salsa!”.  The new CD features a number of well known salsa artists from Colombia, Cuba, Puerto Rico Venezuela, New York and other places that have influenced salsa music.  These artists include Eddie Palmieri, Cheo Feliciano, Chico Alvarez, Son Boricua, Poncho Sanchez, Jose Conde, Fruko y sus Tesos, and Grupo Galé. 

Putumayo CD Salsa

Apart from sharing great music, Putumayo also helps out the world community through the sales of its CD’s.  For example, a portion of the sale of the new ¡Salsa!” CD will be donated to the Pan American Health and Education Foundation (PAHEF) in support of its efforts to improve health care in the Caribbean and throughout Latin America.  I included the video above to give you some more background information about Putumayo and what they do worldwide.  

For those of you in San Diego on April 1st, I’ll be giving out 3 copies of the new CD at the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group’s night at Café Sevilla.  The first three people to show up at 9pm at the VIP area will get the CD’s.  To find out more information about that event please visit the RSVP page that is already set up (click here to be taken there).

Check out the new Putumayo¡Salsa!” CD! 



Friday, March 13, 2009


Grupo Niche and Oscar D'Leon San Diego salsa concert

I have some great news to share with all of you in San Diego!  Blue Agave Nightclub, the group that recently brought us the Gilberto Santa Rosa & Victor Manuelle concert, is bringing to us here in San Diego another great concert.  This time we are lucky to have two well known salsa groups together in concert for one night only here in San Diego, Grupo Niche and Oscar D’Leon!

Direct from Colombia is Grupo Niche, a well known and established salsa band that for years has entertained the world with its unique style of Colombian salsa music.  Grupo Niche is world renowned for it high tempo, energetic dance music along with a number of slower paced romantic songs.  Many of the songs created by the group over the years are now considered salsa classics and are regularly heard in the salsa clubs around the world.  As a Colombian American, I take great pride in the work and impact Grupo Niche has had on salsa music.  I included a video from one of their past concerts so you could get a sense of what their unique salsa sounds like.


Oscar D’Leon, the other headliner for the concert, comes direct from Venezuela and brings with him a different yet equally uptempo style of salsa music.  I’ve been to Oscar D’Leon’s concerts in the past and I can tell you that he is truly a master “sonero” and is known worldwide for his great singing voice.  Like Grupo Niche, many of Oscar D’Leon’s songs are now considered salsa classics and the concert will present a unique opportunity to listen to him live.  This second video shows a glimpse of what you can expect from this great salsa music artist.

The San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group will be in attendance at this concert and we’ve already set up an RSVP where you can find out all the information you need about this event (click here to be taken there.)

We’ll see you at the Grupo Niche & Oscar D’Leon concert here in San Diego!

Dimelo! Records Revisited: Dimelo! TV

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dimelo Records

A while back I interviewed Salsa Dance Recording Company Dimelo! Records and learned a great deal about the work involved in supporting up and coming salsa artists.

I went back recently to their website and noticed that they’ve done a great job of expanding their video selection under Dimelo! Records TV.  The videos I posted here are a good sampling of the type of events Dimelo! TV covers.  Check out their website for more information.   See you all on the dance floor!

Preview of Saturday Night’s Tiempo Libre Concert…

Thursday, March 5, 2009

I’ve received a number of emails regarding Saturday nights upcoming Tiempo Libre concert and what Timba sounds like.  This video I’ve included in this post is a nice taste of what you can expect from the band on Saturday night.

If you don’t have your tickets yet there is still time to buy them.  You can find out more information on the RSVP page of the San Diego Salsa and Latin Dancing Meetup Group (Click here to be taken there).  

See you all at the Tiempo Libre concert Saturday!

John F. Bello

Meet John ;-)

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