Interview with Jason Haynes of SocialDanceCommunity.com

Haynes Photo 8I was so honored by your message to me a few years ago, reaching out to see if I would be interested in being part of collaboration project between a group of other writers of Dance.  What made you decide to create a site with this kind of collaboration in mind, and with writers from all over the world?

I love being part of the social dance community, and I’m a journalist at heart.  These two personal interests are the fuel that keeps the fire burning.  Around 2013 I started seeking out Latin dance themed sites that I could hopefully join and contribute to.  I was interest in learning more about the culture and influential dancers within the Latin dance community, and I wanted to share my findings with others.  I found a few sites that contained interviews and blog posts.   I was looking for a site that felt more like an online magazine and wasn’t aligned with any particular organization.  I didn’t find one.  I did, however, find one writer named Tasleem (smiles), who had produced wonderful, in-depth interviews with several influential dancers.

That is very sweet. Thank you so much. It really meant a lot to me. Sometimes, especially as a solo writer, I never really know who, if anyone, my pieces are actually reaching or resonate with. So your message to me helped to encourage me and remind me that what I am doing actually has a purpose.  

Well, what you were doing was exactly what I wanted to do! I read several of your interviews, and during this time, I had a lightbulb moment:  I got the idea to build my own website.  So, I brushed up on my WordPress skills and started a site called DancePlanetDaily.com.  My goal was to produce an online magazine catering to the interests of the Latin dance community.  The site had a magazine style feel, but the content was from a single source (me) and lacked the community feel that I wanted.

Haynes Photo 5Yes, I could tell, even from your initial message to me, that you are definitely a people person. I loved the way you obviously enjoy bringing people together, and I imagine you contributing greatly to the welcoming  and friendly atmosphere to dance communities around you.

Thank you.  Well, I knew that if I ever wanted to create a site with global appeal, that I would have to collaborate with others.  I simply couldn’t do it all myself and accomplish my greater goal.  This was the inspiration that led to SocialDanceCommunity.com (formerly LatinDanceCommunity.com). Continue reading

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Reminisce on VIS- Interview #3- DJ Montuno

montuno8I’ve heard so much about DJ Montuno and his music, and have often been tempted to travel to Montreal to experience his art first hand. Well, thankfully, he has been travelling quite a bit, even outside of his home city, and we were lucky enough to have him join us at VIS!  It was a pleasure to find out a little about how he got into DJing and what he loves about it.

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Kizom-what?- An interview with Eddy Vents- Part 1

Kizomba. What is it, and why are more people talking about it?  The word itself seems to stir up a whole range of reactions from those who have never danced it.  Some of my favorites are:

“Oh, is it related to Zumba?” 

“You’re referring to that NEW dance, right?” 

“Yeah, I think I’ve seen it and it reminds me of high school dancing. Not much to it.” 

“Oh, I can’t do THAT, being glued to a partner that way?”

“It looks so simple.”

I laugh, not just at the reactions, but at how I can relate to them because, before I started learning kizomba myself, I’m sure some of those thoughts ran through my head as well.  But it didn’t take long for me to realize that there is so much more to the dance than what it appears to be from the outside.   In fact, all of those perceptions above disintegrate when the magic of the true kizomba takes a hold of you. 

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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. 

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VIS 2013- The Finale- The question is no longer WILL YOU BE THERE? It’s WHY WOULD YOU WANT TO BE ANYWHERE ELSE?

The Vancouver International Salsafestival (VIS) has easily been one of the most successful, fastest growing, and not to mention hottest dance events to hit Vancouver.  In the few years that it has been running, it has drawn many of the top Latin dance performers, artists, and instructors from around the world.  Moreover, the attendees of the festival come from a range of cities just to dance and learn and socialize with other fellow dance addicts.  The connections that are made between all the dancers just leaves everyone ‘wanting more’- as one of the first VIS slogans so appropriately described it.

So when I heard that next year was going to be the last of the VIS, I was completely surprised.  I couldn’t believe that such an incredible event was soon to be coming to an end.  But when the creator of the event- Cheyenne Kamran- began explaining the reasoning behind the decision, I definitely could appreciate and admire his conviction to maintain the quality of the event.  And I thought it important share his thoughts with others through this interview.  It was great to hear Cheyenne reminisce on the memories he holds of VIS but also to see the utter excitement he feels for the next and final year!  “Make no mistake,” says Cheyenne, “this year will be the craziest most epic event anyone has ever experienced. Because guess what? There is no next year!”

And that’s why it’s easy for me to say that you just all got to be there!

People have often told me they are shocked when they meet you because you’re so young.  It’s impressive that someone your age began what has turned into such a huge and successful event.  How DID the idea come about for you for VIS?

Cheyenne: Oh my God (laughs).  Okay. Well, to back up a bit, I was about twenty one when I tried out salsa at UBC.  But at the same time, I was playing a lot of soccer so I didn’t really have time to dance salsa.  And then, at one of the soccer games, I tore my ACL and I had to have surgery.  And the doctors told me not to play soccer anymore.  And for some reason, I thought that dancing would be easier on my knees (laughs). So I started taking classes, and I just fell in love with the dance.  By then, I was a twenty-two year old kid excited about the dance and I wanted to DO something more with it.   And for me, call it a weakness or a strength, I’m not sure, but when I get excited about something, I’ll take action on it, you know?

So the more I got into dancing, the more I wanted to put on salsa events.  So we started with smaller events first with about eighty people attending, and then it kind of grew from there.

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On a good night out dancing…

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“When I’m having a good night out dancing, I feel confident, playful, and a little bit sexy.  And along with my own feelings, if I get the connection I want with my partner in the dance, she’ll (heck, sometimes “he’ll”- haha!) feel those same emotions as well.  Sharing those feelings, even if only for three-and-a-half minutes at a time, can be a touch magical…and/or really hot.  I also like to follow in salsa and bachata when I get the opportunity. It’s a total mind bender to hold the other end of the communication line. It’s fun in its own right, and it makes me a better lead, too.”

-Geoff Gariando

Photo by Jeff Mendoza of  Commence Vision Studios