Photo Feature #2- Nicole Chan, Carlos Molina, and Elina Sumichan

It is my pleasure to share a special photo feature this month involving three fellow dancers and friends from our very own Vancouver dance community!  

Carlos Molina and Nicole Chan are captured here in a beautiful moment of dance by photographer and dancer Elina Sumichan.  The photo was taken at a recent event in Vancouver called Kizomba Temptation.  Thank you Elina for hosting and organizing such a magical night, and special thanks to Nelda Sumichan for providing us with such an elegant, intimate venue in which to get our Kizomba dance on!  It definitely proved to be a great night of mingling, music, and fun memories.   I am thrilled to be able to share one of those moments here as Elina’s shot of Carlos and Nicole will be our new header photo for this season. 

DANCER- Carlos Molina was born in Nicaragua, Central America and was raised in Montreal, Quebec. He is currently working at two different jobs and is getting ready to continue school at BCIT to obtain his certificate in business management.

For more information on the Dancey Ballroom, where this photo was taken, visit http://www.danceyballroom.com

I dance Bachata, Salsa, and Argentine Tango. I am 28 years old now, and have been dancing on and off since I was 17.  When I truly feel a song – when the melody or singer’s words touch me- I let the passion of the song create the moment.  My girlfriend Nicole and I often refer to a category of very passionate songs as the ‘pain songs’.  A couple of examples that come to mind are “Me Puedo Matar”, by el Torito, featuring Bachata Heightz, or “Assassin’s Tango” by John Powell.  When these kinds of songs come on, to me, it’s like walking into a room blindfolded.  Every sound controls you, moves you, and makes you feel a whole new reality for whatever time the song lasts.  And I love the feeling of connecting with my dance partner during these moments, even when we are on a packed danced floor.

One of my favorite quotes is “To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak” (a Hopi
Indian proverb).  It’s true. It’s amazing how the expression of our emotions can be shown through our body, through dance, and how this follows the music. The connection between the two people and the music, in that moment, appears to have no time. When you feel that- those are the dances that you remember the most.

I love how dancing can be so addictive.  Even when I’m tired, all it takes is just one song that I love- whether I am indoors, outdoors, alone, or with someone- and I will get up and dance. Dancing has the power to bring people together and to ease away stressful and lonely times.  I am fortunate to have Dance as a part of my identity, my culture and my everyday life.  And I am grateful to Dance, and my dance instructors, for teaching me strength, wisdom, respect, self-confidence and humbleness. Dance has also shown me what it means to be inspired.- Carlos Molina

DANCER- Nicole Chan was born and raised in Vancouver.  She is currently studying at SFU and works at a restaurant on Granville Island.

Strangely enough, dancing was not always something I had been passionate about. I used to be extremely shy and awkward, so dance would have been the last thing I would have attempted.  In high school, I was introduced to ballroom dance. At that time, I learned a little bit of everything- West Coast Swing, Jive, Foxtrot, Tango, Salsa, and Waltz.  I may not remember most of these dances, but it’s safe to say that it was enough to whet my appetite for dance.  I didn’t start Salsa until about two years ago.  I went to a Salsa social for the first time and absolutely loved it. Ever since then, I have fallen even more in love with dance.

My favourite dances in particular are Bachata, Salsa, and Argentine tango.  But I am always willing to try something new!  It is fascinating how dancers are able to express themselves so fully through the movement of their bodies. Whether it is anger, happiness, or sadness, a great dancer is able to communicate emotions through something as simple as a step or sway of the hips.

When I dance, I am absorbed in another world for the duration of the song, especially if it
is a really good song. Good songs to me are ones that are soulful and full of powerful and passionate emotions, usually about love and/or betrayal. Combine that with the right dance partner, and the result is beyond words. I can become so wrapped up in a moment of dance that I close my eyes and just feel throughout the dance.  And when I open my eyes again, I forget where I am, as if waking up from a vivid dream. 
– Nicole Chan

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PHOTOGRAPHER AND DANCER- Elina Sumichan is 22 years old and is originally from Bali, Indonesia. She is a Bachelor of Business Administration and Marketing student at Capilano University. Elina is an extremely active member of Vancouver’s dance scene and has contributed in the organization and promotion of various dance events and workshops all over the city. She teaches Salsa, and currently performs for Salsa Studio (headed by Roger Chen).  Elina is also a distributor of Burju Shoes (a line of high fashion Salsa shoes) in Vancouver, and recently joined an all-women’s dance team known as the StilettoEttes (by StilettoFit founder Chantal Hunt).

I have always enjoyed performing and being on stage. I started with traditional Balinese dancing when I was five years old back in Bali, Indonesia, and I haven’t stopped dancing since. Before I got into Salsa and other Latin dances, I was a Street Jazz and Hip Hop dancer. Then I found Salsa seven years ago and fell in love with this dance immediately. Through salsa, I also came to love other Latin dances such as Bachata and Cha Cha Cha.  And most recently, the infamous Angolan dance Kizomba has become one of my favorites.  Also, recently, I have gotten excited about Street Jazz and Hip Hop all over again.

I am not a trained dancer; I have always considered myself a street dancer. But, now, I have started to take dancing more seriously.  I definitely know that dancing is my passion and I want to push myself as much as I can while I am still young and while my body can still take it. After all, we only live once!

I took the photo displayed of Carlos and Nicole at an event that I organized and hosted- I called it The Kizomba Temptation Party.  Kizomba is such an intimate and sensual dance, and thanks to my sister Nelda, I found a lounge that I felt had the perfect atmosphere for this dance style. It was also fun to see the dancers dress up, as I truly believe that it is important for dancers to look their best. When we look good, we feel good about ourselves. And when we feel good about ourselves, it shows in our dancing.  I was happy to see the great turn out at the event, and everybody seemed to really enjoy themselves. Big thanks to again to my sister Nelda for letting me use her work space at that time for the event.

Dancing is liberating. Dancing is the one thing that allows me to be whoever I want to be, and to express whatever feelings and emotions I want to express. Dancing has also helped me grow as a person. It has taught me valuable life lessons such as discipline, motivation and confidence. Nothing else can make me as happy as dancing can. It has become a huge part of my life and I can’t imagine my life without it.- Elina Sumichan

It is Elina’s obvious passion for dance that not only gets her excited to be out on the dance floor herself, but also motivates her to provide opportunities and events for others to do the same.

Thank you Elina, Nicole and Carlos for contributing to Dance Me Free’s Photos and Features page this season!

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