Sakara Dance Company in San Diego : First Impressions

Posted on about 10 years ago

San Diego is a young salsa city. It is not as mature as San Francisco, Los Angeles or (even close) New York in terms of the salsa community. However, a lot of progress has been made over this last year. We have had Junior and Emily, Mambo2Salsa by Angel and Tulane, and Serena Cuevas' team (yet to be nicknamed and announced) begin to grow in San Diego.Today, a new dance team as come to San Diego: Sakara ( The uniqueness of this dance team is the incorporation of enormous amounts of isolated body motions in their routine and style - which is a refresher to having to do zillion of patterns. Their tag-line: 'fluidity of movement'. It is a breath of fresh air. .. I was surprised to find out that they were providing a 4-hour workshop for just $5 dollars. While Majesty has had free workshops in the past (a week before their audition), Sakara brought good quality food and refreshments.

The workshop consisted of fundamentals, spin technique, body movement and simple dance patterns. At first, the group was divided into two sections: one for spinning and one for partner work. Now, I admit I arrived a few minutes late. However, when I arrived, I decided to join the spinning group for two reasons: the partner work group had a large number of men over women, and second, I wanted to learn their spin technique. After a few minutes in the female group, Violeta (co-director) came up to me (pointing me out to the entire crowd), looked at my name tag, and stated loudly : "Anthony! What do you think you are doing? ...Ladies... please point to where Anthony needs to go today" - clearly stating that I (or men) are not allowed to learn female spin technique or possibly be a follower. Other than the fact that it might be considered rude to a potential customer, it seems to go against sound arguments that have been posted before on how men/women should learn both roles (lead and following).

The workshop for body isolation was very challenging and interesting. Their style seems to be a mix of modern, ballet and salsa fused together to form an organic type of movement. In one part of the body movement pattern, we had to have our right shoulder rotate forward simultaneous with our left shoulder rotating backwards, while having our hips move circularly, yet maintaining an isolated abdominal area. Note that normally when you are doing shoulder rotations - both shoulders tend to go the same direction. Even though it might sound awkward - the move (when done correctly), looks great!

The final partner work consisted of a double turn, with a copa that opened up to a titanic, to a slick cross-body-dip lead. It was taught on the New York On2 timing, which is good for those intermediate dancers from this scene. The move was a fresh look at adding body-styling to a cross-body lead. The only downside was that there were no partner rotations - and therefore we cannot assess whether we learned it correctly by testing the lesson with other dancers.

Going to the Marriott for the preview event - had good dances with Violeta and Lesley. They are great dancers with great incorporation of movement into everything they do. My favorite dance was with Lesley as she kept her style very smooth and was incredibly playful - my favorite quality in a dancer. :-)Overall it was an interesting experience that can bring some new type of dancing and style to the San Diego salsa scene and expand the On2 dancing community from just being a style that only belongs within dance teams. They currently have plans to bring Santo Rico to give a workshop in December 2008 to help bring more inspiration to salsa dancing in California.

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