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SALSA GROUP CLASS

WELCOME BACK MARIO!

Welcome back home Mario... We Certainly missed you very much while you are gone on vacation!!!! 


OWNING EVERY STEP

As I am continuing to prepare for showcase I am so happy about the way I am able to retain what I am learning in class. For my first showcase I spent hours after class going over the choreography to make sure I had it perfect. Now even though I am learning the choreography quicker I keep the same work ethic about rehearsing, and I am making continual discoveries that help me connect to the dance.

Today we are working on my new favorite step, the Ronde! I’m having problems staying balanced, so after much repetition I get the mechanics. The next day I rehearse the step on my own until it is fluid, and I can do it without thinking.

The next class we are preparing for my Bronze level test and Antonio is talking about Balance steps importance of brushing the feet. With each step I am making sure to pass the feet underneath my body in the brushing movement which clarifies where to move next.

My test is coming soon and I am getting excited and nervous at the same time. At the beginning of the year it seemed so far away, now in 3 weeks’ time it will be here!!!

Today my life lesson is revealed as I continue to go through my choreography seeing how much of it will be completely dependent on my mastery of the steps. It’s at this moment I realize the leader I’ve been looking for all my life is myself. I still have faith and people in my life to talk with and gain wisdom, but I am gaining confidence in my ability to lead myself, becoming more decisive, and taking authority for my steps. Ballroom Dancing continues to give me invaluable tools for life I never knew I needed. I am so grateful for the opportunity to continue to become the person I’ve always wanted to be.

By: Kamaria George (03/19/2017)


ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARTY

As I continue focusing on balance in my dancing, as well as in every area of my life for this season of Lent, I am gaining a new clarity and focus. I took this weekend to rest, recharge and regain momentum for my dreams and goals for 2017.

As I look back on this week during class with Maxi we went through some more choreography and I got to throw the rules out the window for one step, the rondé! It felt empowering to get my feet off the floor if only for a short period of time. Maxi was so excited clapping his hands saying: "...this is your moment, take it!!!...".

Antonio returned this week, and I learned the balance step for my bronze test which requires me to shift my weight forward and backwards. As I was practicing this step I received my life lesson. Antonio was telling me not to "vomit" steps, but to think about what I am doing and to be secure in the way I move. Of course this applies to my life as I need to have a plan and a direction to move forward on my chosen path.

At the end of the week I got to unwind for the party, and we got to celebrate Callie for her birthday! She was one of the first to arrive in a beautiful dress that reminded me of the Elie Saab creations that Halle Berry wears. Since this was the Saint Patrick’s Day party I guessed correctly that we would finally be doing my favorite dance, The East Coast Swing for the lesson as it is a lively, fun dance and totally fits the mood of the holiday.  During the lesson I focused on technique and felt flawless with my execution.

When the party started I danced the first dance of the night, a Cha- Cha, with Mario. I can see how much I have improved with this dance, especially with the shadow step that took me weeks and weeks to learn. Mario gave me a compliment, and of course at that moment I tripped over my feet! I got to redeem myself dancing the Cha- cha with Mario again later that night, but overall I am so proud of all I have accomplished!

I danced the east coast swing with Maxi, he has such a joy for what he does which helps energize me. We are lively and free as we move around the ballroom.

With Gerri I danced the Tango and the Cha- Cha. Gerri’s fearless execution taught me a lot about being bold with every step, and her different combinations were challenging.

With the Birthday girl Callie I danced East Coast Swing and Salsa. Callie and I always have a good time. She was the first one to teach me the hair comb move in Salsa, and is always encouraging giving me invaluable insights as a follower.

Just like I got to dance the first dance, I danced the last dance of the evening with Mario which was a Rumba. I was remembering all the notes I have received for this dance and it felt wonderful to see them come to fruition. As we closed the evening with Samba line dance I felt at ease up front, and I gave my all. This was a beautiful evening once again with my Daza Dance Family, and I can’t wait for the next party!

By: Kamaria George (03/12/2017)


MY SOUL LAUGHED

This week’s class fell on Ash Wednesday, and as I am focusing on balance in my dance I have decided to take this season of Lent to focus on a figurative balance in every area of my life between spiritually, family, work, and fun.

Maxi is continuing to break me of my habit of anticipating the next move, during one of our warm-up dances we kept alternating between Rumba and East Coast Swing. This kept me on my toes because the movements were so different I couldn’t anticipate what was next.
As I prepare for my bronze level test I learned the Double Corte step in Tango.  I have to remember to point my feet which aids in the execution of the step. I realize I really enjoy the step, it makes me feel like I am gliding.

Today there is an audience as I go over my choreography I have learned thus far before Gerri and her students, Mario, and Jackie. Jackie is a fellow student who has always encouraged me and has been a true friend.  I am feeling so confident and can remember most of the steps, and afterwards, I am humbled by applause.  Later Maxi and I do some clean up. We go over a turn sequence leading to a dip, and we perfect leaning back at just the right moment.

Today’s life lesson was simply to laugh. Maxi helped me to take a break from being serious and deep to laugh from my soul; my whole countenance changed and my heart became light.  I left class full of joy, refreshed, and at peace.

By: Kamaria George (03/05/2017)


THE SOUL’S TRUE FREEDOM

Won’t you help me sing, these songs of freedom
Cause all I ever had, redemption songs - Bob Marley

These lyrics are from Redemption Song, one of my favorite songs of all times by Bob Marley that has been covered by several artists and several different cultures and styles of music such as Southern Country, Gospel, Jamaican, and Chinese. This week during my warm-up I was enamored by a version we play at the studio for Rumba that combines Brazilian Bossa with Reggae. This to me is the heart of what diversity is all about, many voices singing the same song through the different filters of their experiences. When these truths combine it allows unity to shine like sunlight on the facets of a diamond.  As I prepare my heart and mind for the Lenten season leading up to Easter I am thinking of how important it is to have environments like our studio where everyone can experience love, acceptance and true unity.

This week was a week to focus on cleaning up choreography, we are ahead of schedule so Maxi wants me to truly embrace what I already know. We first work on the running steps which has the slow- quick – quick rhythm similar to Rumba. During the quick –quick part of the Rhythm I need to be on the balls of my feet. This change helps me to glide across the floor. During the next phrase I have 2 tap sequences and Maxi has me focusing on foot placement, making sure that I am facing the proper direction with each step.

My life lesson came as Maxi was encouraging me to relax and slow down. I know my choreography but I just need to trust myself. I begin to breathe and relax and even though I make a few mistakes there is a strength and ease that is beginning to emerge in my heart that is being expressed through my dance. As I apply this to my life it is a profound notion for me to relax. I’ve spoken in different blog posts about my struggles with anxiety and how some days I feel like I’ve completely overcome it, and other days I just feel lost. The joy I feel when I dance helps to steady my heart and mind for meditation and prayer which comes full circle, helping me to experience my soul’s true freedom.


By: Kamaria George (02/26/2017)


#TBT: BUILDING OUR NEW STUDIO ON PEACHTREE ROAD!

#TBT ...WOW! We have come such a long way since those days when we decided to step outside of our comfort zone at Miami Circle and embark this new adventure on Peachtree Road. We were about to build our very own, dreamed space in the heart of Buckhead... where all the action is happening! Those who have been with us for a long time know that it was not a very easy process, but we did it... TOGETHER. So, Thank you for sticking with us and continue to show us your support! Those who have recently become part of our family, now know that we have worked extremely hard to be able to provide this magical and positive place... We also want to thank them for giving us a chance to walk them through this dance journey. I, Antonio Daza, could not have done it without the help of my friends and co-workers; some of them still with us and some of them have moved on to better opportunities... Nevertheless THANK YOU for believing in my dream!
#dazadance#daza#becomingbetter#IBelieveInMIracles#Love#Diversity#Equality#ILoveBallroomDance#Atlanta



























FEBRUARY PARTY RECAP #RISEUP!!

This week Atlanta was energized as the hometown team the Falcons played in the Superbowl. Even though they didn’t win, they gave the city something even better. They chose #Riseup as their theme and the Atlanta community came together as this became the battle cry of the city. I was carrying these thoughts this week. Daza Dance is a place where you can rise up and soar, and I am experiencing this in my life.

This week I was working with Maxi, and he challenged me to go deep within to believe in myself as I continued to learn my choreography. As we continued to practice, Maxi was encouraging me to take bigger steps when I do the grapevine so I can travel. As I incorporated it, I could see how this made the overall picture stronger. Maxi was also working with me on making my arms fluid, instead of making staccato sudden movements. He showed me how to make my arms slow and graceful, and as I put this into practice I could feel the results.

As we go through the choreography I am learning quicker than I ever have. I am getting nervous as I am seeing that it will be at least a minute before I get to closed dance position. I am starting to become irrational and getting hard on myself for every little mistake, even though I have learned so much and am far enough ahead that Maxi wants to take the next class to work on technique. It is during these moments that my life lesson comes. Maxi tells me to not get stuck in my mistakes, but to figure out where I am and continue to move forward. As I apply this to my life I have a tendency to keep reliving my mistakes in my mind to the point where I become paralyzed. It was as if this class gave me permission to release the thoughts that have kept me so bound to the point where it is almost difficult to breathe. I am feeling the true freedom of my faith as I make a decision to silence the voices in my mind that want to chain me to my past; it’s time to move forward.

After a week of hard work it’s time to relax and enjoy the monthly party. I consider these three hours a special family time to catch up with my fellow students, and to raise my game by being challenged by the instructors. Tonight was extra special because there were a lot of new people to welcome into the fold. Because it is right before the Valentine’s Day the class before the party is Rumba, the dance of Love. Maxis is teaching, and creates a combination which includes a basic, a shoulder check, and a turn. I decided to take the time to practice the details of shoulder check.  After the class is our usual chill time where I caught up with several of my fellow students. During the party I was excited as the school came together to honor Mario for his Birthday. Mario cares for every student as if they were his own, always going above and beyond for everyone. He was given plane fare and six nights to his favorite place, Puerto Rico, and it gave me joy to see how happy he was when he received the gift.
Both Mario and Maxi keep me on my toes throughout the night first by raising the bar with Foxtrot. I also got to do a special East Coast Swing with Maxi, and I got to dance the last dance of the night which was a Rumba with Mario. As we close the evening with the Samba Line Dance I am overjoyed to be one of the leaders, I am one step closer to my goal of teaching! I am not in a hurry and know I need to go through process, but I am truly excited about the things to come. As the evening ends I can’t stop smiling and feel peaceful and calm, I can’t wait to come back to the studio to learn more choreography!

By: Kamaria George (02/12/2017) 


THE ART OF BALANCE

As I am continuing my quest to become a bronze level dancer every class is challenging and I never know what to expect. I absolutely never expected dancing to also include lessons on philosophy and math. I continue to see how different concepts in different subjects connect through creativity as Antonio creates another mathematical diagram to help me solidify and perfect my turns. I seem to be continuing my liberal arts education through ballroom dance, picking up where I was when I graduated from Spelman.

Today I am focusing on the signals to turn and where I should be with each signal. I usually am too hasty to turn, making my first step on a diagonal. Today I am concentrating on making my first step a simple step forward with the signal of the raised hand, and waiting for the second circular motion which is almost like a halo above my head to begin to do the actual turn. Taking my time to perfect these details not only helps to make my turns cleaner, it helps me to keep my timing, and to stay balanced.

In addition, this week we start my showcase choreography, and I am thrilled. As we are going through the steps I am surprised to see that the choreography so far has me in front driving the dance! I won’t even be able to see Antonio during this first part of the dance, I won’t be able to hold on to him for dear life, I will have to trust myself completely and my ability to lead. As Antonio is watching me with these first phrases he is encouraging me (as always) to stop second guessing myself. I make an effort to stop overthinking things and this becomes my single greatest first week learning choreography. Not only am I learning quicker than usual, but Antonio is extremely encouraging and excited to see my progress which gives me even more confidence.

Today’s life lesson came as Antonio was encouraging me throughout the week to find my balance- to find what will ground me and help me move with authority and boldness.  As I apply this to my life what grounds me and keeps me focused is my faith in Christ, and the more I grow in faith the more my life becomes balanced. My faith has been enhanced by my experiences at Daza Dance which have encouraged me to develop my thoughts and clarify my voice. The discipline that is helping me become a better dancer is making me stronger and wiser, as well as helping to deepen my spiritual roots; furthermore being around people of various backgrounds and cultures different from mine has enhanced me as a person, and added depth to my beliefs. Being in a place where I can comfortably interchange visions and ideas with those who are different from me helps me to see how we can build a better world together through love and understanding.

In dance and in life I am perfecting the Art of Balance.

By: Kamaria George 02/05/2017


A BRIGHTER SUN

Today the sun seems to shine brighter, and the vision of Daza Dance gives me clarity and focus like never before. I am thinking about how earlier this week at the studio the instructors were wearing the same shade of navy blue. This may have been a coincidence in fashion, but for me, it was a visual representation of how every instructor is from a different culture and background, but they all come together despite their differences to create beautiful art, setting the standard of love, peace, and acceptance that is the heartbeat of our studio. Everyone connected to us including instructors, students, and friends represent various stories of strength, resilience, and character. It is our commitment to these ideals that propel us to move forward through the challenges of this week and not become overwhelmed in the face of adversity, but to stand in solidarity with one voice.

This week I was focusing on making sure I was facing Antonio in proper position slightly to the left in all of the dances. By staying on my side especially when I complete a turn etc., it makes it easier to move to closed dance position. When I am in my proper place Antonio does not have to take extra time to correct me, and when I am confident and can move independently from Antonio, he is able to focus on other aspects of the dances making our patterns stronger.

We are continuing to practice the double sided under arm turn, and I am concentrating on a note I get quite frequently to close my feet. Even though I know closing my feet helps me by knowing which step to take next, sometimes the excitement of the music causes me to lose focus. Antonio tells me closing my feet is vital in this particular step because it will be impossible to execute properly. As I get this adjustment straightened out I am able to complete the step perfectly, and Antonio pleased with my progress. I am extremely pleased as well as I am truly seeing myself improve at an accelerated pace.

Today’s life lesson became when I make a decision to solidify it with action. My desire to be right and not make mistakes can cause me to analyze the next step to the point of paralysis, and even when I am sure which way to go sometimes I hold back irrationally out of fear. As I am growing in dance I am feeling freer to use my growing knowledge of each dance to be confident moving forward, and if I am wrong I can be corrected. Paralysis from fear halts my progress abruptly and causes me to have to begin each pattern again. As always, my issues on the dance floor reflect my life struggle. I can be extremely indecisive and when I do make a decision, sometimes I let fear stop me from moving forward, even when I am sure of my path. Following through with going to Argentina was one of the most powerful things I have ever done to combat fear and indecisiveness, and turned out to be a life changing experience. The lessons I am learning through ballroom dance are helping me to silence the inner struggles that hinder my progress and showing me the hero within myself. I still have a long way to go, but I am making progress one phrase at a time.

By: Kamaria George (01/29/2017)


THIS TIME THE VICTIM WAS OUR VERY OWN STUDIO

This is what we came to today. The front door of our beautiful studio was, without a doubt, vandalized by people who despite us, as an intent to plant fear and scare us. Unfortunately for them, their intent was not successful, because we simply do not do fear!! 

With great sadness, we observe this type of malicious actions happening more and more often in our country by individuals who just simply can accept other people's beliefs, cultures, ideologies, and good intentions. It seems difficult not to feel anger, frustration, and the hoplesness feeling of not having the necessary ways to do something to bring justice to those who harm us. This incident is not the first one nor it will be the last obstacle we will confront in our journey, and although we might have fallen down today just for a bit short amount of time, we will get up and continue doing what we love to do! 

Thank you, thank you, thank you so much to all of our students, friends, family members and neighbors who who made a point to show us their support and love. We feel very humble by seeing how much we matter to this amazing Daza Dance community of individuals!

At Daza Dance, we are, and will continue to be, committed to be a place where everyone finds a happy space filled with peace, diversity, love, fun, freedom, equality and a lot of DANCE!

#Peace#Diversity#Love#Fun#Freedom#Equality#Dance, #DazaDance, #Ibelieveinmiracles#NoFear, #Atlanta, #RiseLikeAPhoenix


  

JANUARY PARTY RECAP!

As you know one of my favorite events each month is the Social Party at Dance – it is not only a chance to perfect my craft, but an opportunity to press pause for a little while and enjoy spending time with the amazing people who are a part of our family at Daza Dance. Every party has its own individual flavor, this one was extra special because Antonio was in town, and we always miss him when he travels.

Maxi is teaching the Cha-Cha tonight and I take the opportunity to focus on my rock step in the class and throughout the night. Tonight Gerri was formally introduced to the studio, an Instructor with a beautiful welcoming spirit who has been teaching. I had a chance to dance the Cha -Cha with her for the first time, and it was helpful to gain insights from a new set of eyes, and she was incredibly encouraging to me as well.   I danced the Rumba with Callie, I have learned so much elegance and grace with her, and I always look forward to her insight.  With Mario I danced the Tango, and he commended me for staying in character. As always he challenged me with new variations, building on what I am currently learning. Alas it is now time to say goodbye to my scary Tango Face - as a bronze level dancer my intensity must now come through my dancing and technique. Maxi and I danced the Foxtrot – Maxi was extremely excited that I remembered the notes he gave me the last time we danced the foxtrot together, and I was happy to be continually improving in Foxtrot. If there’s one thing I look forward to, it’s dancing the East Coast Swing with Antonio. It’s such a lively fun dance, and the one I have worked the hardest to perfect. As we covered the ballroom I couldn’t help but be joyful, and I was fortunate enough to get to dance this twice with him.  Antonio and I also did a waltz together and I was able to practice the two way under arm turn I had learned earlier that week. During the door-prize section, one of Gerri’s students gave me their free dance lesson they had won. I was so deeply moved that someone who I met briefly that evening could be so generous. I was already happy, but that made my entire evening!

After a wonderful party it’s time to get work in class the next week. For part of the lesson we are focusing again on the two way underarm turn by breaking down the first three steps, and I practice them over and over and over. Antonio draws me a geometric diagram so I could mentally picture the pattern I should be creating. I not only practice these steps that night I come back and the next night to practice, making sure I am facing the right direction.

Before class I had decided to make my class Wednesday the best class ever – by just making that decision my dance changed completely. Antonio told me I danced the best Rumba and Cha-Cha ever!!! Those words meant so much to me, especially knowing that he does not hand out compliments lightly.  As we moved through the other dances I had many more encouraging words from Antonio, and he told me he could see I was improving. I am seeing more and more confidence and faith give life to what seems impossible - which became my life lesson for the day. I started last year accomplishing more than I could imagine with a small grain of confidence, but as I am continuing to grow I am starting to see that 2017 can be a year of limitless possibility.

By: Kamaria George (01/22/2017)