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SALSA GROUP CLASS

"SPOTLIGHT ON BROADWAY" SHOWCASE

"SPOTLIGHT ON BROADWAY" SHOWCASE

Congratulations to the most #AmazingTeam of #Students and #Insturctors in the whole world for their amazingly beautiful participation during our "SPOTLIGHT ON BROADWAY" #Showcase on May 6, 2017. We are so proud of you guys and we would like to thank you all for being such and amazing team to work with. At Daza Dance, we sincerely appreciate all your trust and commitment to our dance school. We would be nothing without your dreams, support and love. This experience has been incredibly fun and humbling… Not only the dance level has been raised, but also we have grown as individuals. I thank you all for giving us the opportunity to be part of your lives and share our experience, knowledge and passion with you, as well as your friends and family. 





BACK TO THE BASICS

I am feeling fantastic going to class today as it is time to prepare for my Rhythm test which will take place in October! I have plenty of time perfect each dance, and now that I know what to expect I won’t be as nervous this time around. My first test ever, my smooth test, was such an enlightening experience.  I am looking forward to my constant goal of always improving and making each dance experience the best ever!

Today I learned the side basic in Rumba, it’s like the regular box step but you keep moving from side to side. It felt strange at first because I am so used to moving in the box formation, but I was able to pick up the movement.

For the next class we went all the way back to the basics and most of the class is focused on the elements of a perfect box step in Rumba. Maxi tells me we are starting with Rumba because it is the slowest rhythm dance, and it will be easy to apply it to other dances. Maxi wants me to focus on not clanking my heels. He shows me an exercise raise and lower my heels like releve from ballet, and emphasizes that Rhythm Dances should be on the balls of the feet.

My life lesson today was connected to my evolving sense of trust, trust absolutely crucial in partnership dancing. I realized that I have so much anxiety about being making a mistake that I have been memorizing the patterns I dance in with both Antonio and Maxi. This really came to light today because Maxi changed the sequence we usually dance several times in all of the dances, and I couldn’t rely on what I had memorized, I had to stay on my toes.  As a follower I need to relinquish control to Antonio and Maxi, and I also need to trust that I will be able to follow the leads. I can definitely see that as my confidence is improving and I am able to trust more my dance continues to improve exponentially.

By: Kamaria George (05/22/2017)


HAPPY 9 YEAR ANNIVERSARY TO DAZA DANCE!

Nine years ago one of my biggest dreams came true: To have my very own Dance Studio! I was only 24 years old and I didn't know anything about what having a business meant... All I had was my passion for dancing and a vision. There was someone very special named Liz Chester who believed in me and help me in many ways to become the person I am today. Thanks to her commitment and trust in me Daza Dance became a place like never seen before in Atlanta. Certainly, the road to success has not being at all easy... specially at the beginning. There was so much to learn, so many things to deal with, employees, taxes, scheduling, marketing, budgets, etc etc. I was on top of the world! Suddenly, a lot of people came into my life... Even some of them still around; those are the true friends. The ones that didn't let the appearances and jelousy take over them, but instead took the time to get to know the real me and supported me along the way. At all times, my family, partner and friends were there to encourage me in every possible way... and believe me when I say, there were many many times when I doubted my purpose. I can probably go for ever telling stories about the development of this dream called Daza Dance. But now, I just want take a minute to take it all in and thank everyone that has been part of this vision. I appreciate tremendously all the tears, blood, crying, but also fun, laughter, learning, and growing that this experience has contributed in helping me become a better person. I look forward to many more years of success and dance. Bill BennettMario NicolasMaximiliano PanesiMartha Fernandez BorreroElyn DazaSebastian ColavitaCallie Harris Foley #DazaDance#Daza#Atlanta#ILoveBallroomDance#BetterChoices#BecomingBetter#Healthy, #Atlanta #Great2017#AtlantaDance#IBelieveinMiracles#Love#Health#Forgiveness#Freedom#PowerToThePeople#Peace#Diversity, #Love, #Fun#Equality#Dance, #ibelieveinmiracles, #hrc#latinosviviendoenatlanta#latinosviviendoenatl#NoFear#NoRegrets#MakeTheBestOutOfLife


SPOTLIGHT ON BROADWAY SHOWCASE RECAP

Today was a beautiful clear day without a cloud in the sky. I reflected fondly on the week before and how the showcase came together in a way that was more beautiful than I could have ever imagined.

This week I had practiced my routine so much and listened to my song to the point where I knew every nuance. The challenge for me this week was not to over rehearse. This was extremely difficult for me as I am always drilling, always going over movements in my head, and when I am not practicing my routine I am thinking about when will be the next opportunity to practice. For our last rehearsal Antonio said we would only do the routine twice which made me nervous.  I do it once almost perfect and then the second time I am focusing so much on getting each step perfect I completely fall apart. Antonio stops the song and we restart. This time was much better and I realize Antonio is right I need to pull back from the routine a little bit. This is my last full rehearsal and the weight of the moment is making me anxious, but I make the decision that this is indeed the last time I practice outside of the dress rehearsal. I will trust that I know my routine and just let it happen. 

I look forward to the dress rehearsal as it is the last opportunity to see everyone’s routines live, the night of the performance all of the performers will be in the green room watching from a monitor.  As the routines progressed everyone looked amazing and we have the makings of a wonderful show. Antonio gave a speech always keeps us mindful of the reason for the studio and to thank us all for being a part of the vision. The pillars of Daza Dance are a total embrace of diversity and inclusion, acceptance, and the desire to help each person become the best person they can be. We are a true family of different ages, cultures, races, and backgrounds. This vision is so close to my heart as it created an atmosphere where I could be allowed to flourish and become the person I have always wanted to be.  We departed for the evening full of expectation of the day to come, and for the first time I was able to get a full night of sleep the night before the showcase.

The next morning I am eager to get my hair and make-up done. Hair and make-up time is not just an opportunity to be beautiful, it is chance for all of the ladies who have different class times to catch up  with each other as we count down to our  performances. It was such a pleasure for me to also talk with to talk with our Glam Squad and see how they perfectly fit into our family. I am always amazed at how every professional person that comes through our doors that does work with our studio lines up with our vision statement no matter what their profession. Alexis Williams our hairstylist and I talked about her concept for Blushlife Salon and how she and her staff focus on beauty from the inside out. This holistic approach to beauty was something I picked up when I first met her and our Make-up artist Samantha Ellis.  At the end of our sessions together I not only had completely beautiful hair and make-up, I left their presence with a soul that was filled with wisdom.
When the time came to put on our dresses we all stood by to help each other, and I was thankful for the four people who helped me into my dress, likewise I helped others with their dresses! With all of the corsets, crinolines, hooks, what nots, and thing- a- ma-bobs that keep these outfits together it takes a village to dress for showcase!!

The time finally came for the performance, and since we are a family it was only fitting that we open the show with the actual family of Chelsea and Eric Petit with Melissa Gibson who happens to be Chelsea’s mom. They were phenomenal in their Tango that was danced with Maxi to the Theme from Phantom of the Opera.  They breathed life into their piece complete with costumes to match the era, black lace gowns with corsets, and special make-up designed by Chelsea with painted white phantom masks. You could tell how much Chelsea, Eric, and Melissa loved the show through their care and precision with each movement. They have now proved they can rise to the challenge Smooth and Rhythm dances, and I look forward to future performances from them.

Next Regina did an East Coast Swing with Mario to “Hey Baby” from Dirty Dancing wearing a black and white dress with a crinoline. The connection between Mario and Regina is undeniable and helped to fuel an amazing performance, Regina’s Character came alive and the dance put a smile on everyone’s face. Each moment was captivating until the end when they exited the stage with a skip that added levity and fun to the piece. Regina would come back later and do a completely opposite performance with Antonio, Mario, and Maxi from the Play Spring Awakenings about a woman who as a girl struggled with being sexually abused by her stepfather while her mother looked the other way. The dance represented her living in freedom with her sexuality and not being defined by here abuse. Regina was able to execute these emotions and give a defining transcendent performance.
Next was Bonnie Emerson’s heartfelt performance to “One Night Only” from Dream Girls. She wore a stunning black gown with crystal accents that were placed by Maxi. The theme of the Dance was about Bonnie having to choose between two lovers played By Mario and Maxi You could feel her angst as she went between each man trying to make a choice and there was thunderous applause from the audience.  Up until the last moment this story was conveyed by Bonnie, Mario and Maxi with drama and passion.

The Student Performance Group was back, with Colet and Patrick Falvey, Byron Starcher, and Michaela Harris. True to the Spirit of the show Colet and Michaela wore red and black polka dotted gowns and Patrick and Byron wore red sequined jackets.   They danced a Rumba/Swing number to the song “To Good to Be True” from Jersey Boys. You could tell they were feeling the song and I could feel the love between this group. You couldn’t help but smile as you watched them go in and out of their formations, and the piece left you feeling the beauty of love.

Next Jackie Levi did a fun lively Jive to a medley to Mama Mia with Mario and Maxi. Jackie truly came alive and I saw a carefreeness that made you smile from the inside.  She wore hot pink dress which captured the essence of the character she portrayed. She would later come back to do a waltz from the Sound of Music to the song “Edelweiss” With Antonio. She wore a beautiful cream lace blouse with a black flowing skirt which captured the essence of Vienna Austria during the time of the musical. She had a personal connection to the song as her grandmother was from Vienna, and she spoke in her video of how much her family loved to waltz. This was evident as Jackie gave a truly beautiful, heartfelt, elegant, performance.

Next up was me! I was feeling like a princess in one of the most beautiful gowns I had ever worn, a white and yellow dress with yellow and white crystals and a yellow crinoline that shadowed my every movement. While I usually am a bundle of nerves the whole day of a performance, this time I was perfectly calm until a couple of routines before my dance and then I started freaking out. Susan and Bonnie were encouraging me, and Bonnie gave me a special pep talk before I went to the holding Area with Antonio. Antonio let me know how proud he was of me.  That along with Bonnie’s special message helped me shake off my nerves and give the best performance of my life to the song “One” from A Chorus Line. I was able to live in the moment and experience joy throughout the entire piece, and was filled with emotion when I was done.

Next was Azita Rezaei who did a breathtaking first Waltz with Maxi to the song “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables. She wore an elegant black gown with flesh tone accents. Before coming to Daza Dance she had never danced before, but today she looked like a seasoned professional filled with grace. I was amazed at the way she expressed emotion and was able to connect with Maxi in her amazing debut.

Next came Susan Roberson. When I think of Susan I think of the song “We Are The Champions” by Queen. She took on two very challenging routines, the first being a Salsa with Mario in a stunning yellow fringe gown with beautiful movement to a song from the musical In the Heights. She and Mario have a special connection that shines throughout when they dance. Watching them together made me smile as I felt the story they wanted to tell.   Her next Dance was a Paso Doble with Maxi to the song “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from the Musical Evita. Paso Doble is a challenging advanced dance and Susan is only the second person in the history of the school to do one in a showcase. I remember watching Maxi practice Paso Doble In the studio with his precise intricate movements so I was thrilled to actually see one being done. Susan wore a stunning black gown with beaded accents that were placed by Maxi, and Maxi wore a red shirt symbolizing a matador.  Susan truly shone in her performance which had several beautiful moments that captured your attention showcasing her abilities.  Later we find that not only did she give two beautiful, challenging performances and raise the bar in the studio once again, we find out she was performing on a broken toe. She is a true Champion and inspiration to us all.

Next Were Cara and Alex Suarez Performing the song “Tango Maureen” from Rent with Callie and Maxi. Callie and Cara dazzled in their red gowns detailed with lace. The fierceness of their movements showed completely reflecting the true heart of Tango. Cara and Alex were also able to capture and convey the frustration of the song that talks about the fears and insecurities of loving an unfaithful partner.

Lena Hybrook and Alain Hernandez from Tango Evolution took the stage for our first of two Argentine Tango performances. Lena as always was beautiful and elegant in a bronze lame gown to the song “La Punalada” from Tango Argentino. Lena and Alain’s connection from their many performances shone through as they communicated a story of love and performed their movements beautifully.

Golden Precious, the team of Mario Lioce and Ferdinando Martino were back for an encore performance with Maxi and Callie for Salsa performance from Gloria Estefan’s show On Your Feet. Golden Precious was a nickname that came from the last production, and for this production they introduced themselves as Golden Precious the Latino Version. Callie and Maria Dazzled in brilliant green Salsa dresses that flowed as they moved.  You could tell Maria and Fernando were truly experiencing joy as they transitioned in and out of their formations with ease, precision, and a connection with their routine and with Callie and Maxi.

Our second Argentine Tango was a fiery performance with filled with passion With Clint Rausher and Shelley Brooks to the song “A Evaristo Carriego” from Luis Bravo’s Forever Tango. Shelley wore a black and red polka dotted dress accented with gold Tango Shoes.  Their intricate footwork dazzled the audience, and their connection as a team was evident.  I took special pride in watching this performance as the night before Clint and I realized we were both alumni of the Northside School of the Performing Arts.

Lynn Ragan performed with Antonio, Mario, and Maxi a Medley from the show American Idiot She was incredibly lighthearted in a beautiful red gown. She did both the East and West coast swing keeping energy throughout her piece. Lynn exudes a joy when she dances that uplifts all who view her and has a commanding presence of confidence.

Next there was a surprise as those of us who tested received our certificates. Myself, Colet Falvey, Jackie Levi, and Regina Davis Got our Intermediate Bronze Certificate while Bonnie Emerson and Susan Roberson got their full bronze certificates.

The much anticipated finale, the Instructor piece was a Cha-Cha performed by Callie and Maxi to the song “Sweet Transvestite” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. They not only captured and reinterpreted the movie for this piece, they took it to a stratospheric level in technique. Callie wore a champagne spangled mini dress, and Maxi wore a Nerd outfit similar to the character Brad in the original production. Callie and Maxi kept the tradition of inspiring every student to aim higher and dream bigger than ever before.

We ended the evening with the viewing party for the participants where everyone could be relaxed and watch the entire show while encouraging each other. Of the showcases I have participated in so far this was the one I felt the deepest connection with. I am feeling ever-growing confidence with each step, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.

By: Kamaria George (05/10/2017)


JOURNEY OF ANTICIPATION

It’s hard to believe the showcase is Saturday!!! My heart is a little heavy as so much time and preparation has gone into my routine. Each Showcase is close to my heart for different reasons. This time being    able to be more confident in the Foxtrot is such an achievement to me, as is having a hand in my choreography by helping Antonio with the first part of my routine.  I will savor every moment making sure to focus on being joyful.

As Antonio and I rehearsed this week Mario observed our run-throughs, encouraging me and giving me the note to look up. When I am nervous I try to see what my feet are doing, but Mario was drawing out the artistry in me so that I would make each step with conviction and power.

Later that week Regina and I were chosen to represent the range of complexions of the ladies in the studio by participating in a trial for our new Showcase Glam Squad, Alexis from Blush Life Salon who does hair and Samantha who does make-up.  Both of these ladies have tons of experience working for fashion shows; and as they worked their magic on us Regina and I were completely transformed. Samantha showed tremendous skill as she mixed custom foundations for us from what looked like a painter’s palette with different colors for every area of our face. Likewise Alexis transformed our hair into a seamless accessories that complimented our every expression; I joked about taking them with me everywhere I go. Samantha and Alexis had a warm, pleasant demeanor that made me feel so beautiful, and I can’t wait to work with them on Saturday!

The next day it was back to dancing and Antonio challenged me to open up during the final turns of my routine to make sure I am in the right place. As we kept doing the routine I was making mistakes I had never made before, Antonio said it was because I had done the routine so much I was anticipating what was next.  We did the routine one more time before calling it quits, and during this time I made sure to stay in the moment instead of projecting a couple of steps ahead.

As I focused on being in the right place that became my Life Lesson, not just in dancing but spiritually and mentally. I saw more than ever that I am not an Island, my life is connected and intertwined with others and I need to be aware that my actions and words affect other people. I know I want to continue on this journey to be the best possible version of myself, someone that encourages and builds up others. I want to be someone believes the best in other people.

By: Kamaria George (05/02/2017)







TRADING PLACES

I can't believe this moment finally happened; I actually got to teach Antonio part of original “One” routine from A Chorus Line!  One of my dreams has been to do choreography for a showcase. I thought perhaps I would be doing this much later, so to be able to teach even this small part now after only two years was absolutely surreal! Antonio actually had done the Broadway Choreography a few years back so this was more of a refresher, but it felt good to be able to connect this piece in this way with someone who I admire who has been such a positive person in my life.

Teaching is much harder than it looks!  Even though I know the “One” routine backwards and forwards and Antonio is a seasoned professional, this was one of the most challenging experiences ever. I was so nervous as I wanted to make sure I was communicating effectively and flowing in a way that was easy to follow. I was taking notes for future teaching experiences; it helps to be able to break the dance down into parts and to know each piece fully well.  Antonio had questions about the routine, and it was tough to figure out where he was. Each time he asked question, I would have to do the dance all the way from the beginning to figure out where he needed help.  I was teaching but I was still a student as I watched how attentive Antonio was with each step. I had joked about being tough on him, and even though I saw him make a mistake, before I could form the words to gloat I was tripping over my own feet as I was trying to remember where I was in the routine! I saw through him what he had been saying all along about continuing through mistakes; a mistake is not the end, and you take your focus from the mistake to move towards the next moment.

For my next class I did my choreography and was humbled by the applause. I tried on my dress I will be wearing who Gerri, one of the Instructors in the studio is loaning me for the performance. It is truly one of the most beautiful dresses I have ever seen, when I put it on I was speechless and almost in tears. The dress is so pretty it could go out and perform the by itself! As I practiced and I was getting lost in the movement of the dress, so I will have to be confident and more precise so I can make the dress move!

The life lesson for this week was to never stop growing. I have watched as Antonio is never complacent, he always embraces knowledge and plans down to the last detail. He inspires me to keep the goal of always moving towards the next step.

Kamaria George (04/24/2017)


LOVE OF LIFE

As the season of Lent drew to a close with the culmination of Easter I could see that my goal of balance, not just in dance but in every area of my life, was coming to fruition. My inward confidence was shining through my life brighter than ever from the inside out, and even the way I dressed was beginning to show a deeper confidence. This week was also a time of deep reflection for me as I crossed my two year anniversary with the studio! I celebrated my accomplishments through these past years, the completion of choreography for my 4th showcase, an impressive first showing at my very first competition in Argentina, and this week I got my official scores - I have passed my test, and am officially an intermediate bronze level dancer in Tango, waltz, and foxtrot!
This week as Antonio and I went through choreography, the main battle was in my mind was to know the steps, and I needed for the confidence I have been building inside to shine through every movement. This week we paid particular attention to the tap touch sequence at the end of the running steps, and to executing movement in such a way that even if I’m wrong it is assumed I am flawless.

At the party the class was the Cha- Cha. I could tell my technique was improving, I was feeling bold and joyful! I guess the word is out that I am now bronze, because the instructors took everything up a notch, and did not take it easy on me! I danced a Salsa with Callie where most of the steps we did together I didn’t recognize. Later we danced the Rumba and she brought new sequences and a fresh take on the steps I already knew, and threw in a new step for good measure, my head was spinning as I tried to keep up! Maxi and I had fun doing the East coast swing, laughing, making faces it wasn’t about the steps – even though he would not let me slid on technique. I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt from smiling. Mario and I did the Waltz and Cha-Cha, through him as always I perfected how to move with a regal air as if I were royalty. Antonio and I danced the East Coast Swing, a dance that is almost a signature dance for us as we covered the ballroom with laughter and ease. We also danced The Cha-Cha and a Salsa that was so far beyond my current level it took everything I had to be able to follow. Antonio continued to challenge me, and as we danced together I could only think of what was yet to come. I am so excited to see what will come next with my dancing, I have only scratched the surface of the potential inside myself, and I am enjoying every step that continues to unfold. Now more than ever I have a zeal and love for life.

By: Kamaria George (04/19/2017)


"SPOTLIGHT ON BROADWAY" SHOWCASE PROMO

We would like to invite all of our friends and family to join us during our upcoming "Spotlight on Broadway" Showcase @ #DazaDance next Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 6:00PM. Tickets are on sale now ($20 in Advance and $30 at the Door)... get yours today because the space is limited. For more information its us at www.dazadance.com, call us at (404)5375222, or email us at info@dazadance.com. We can wait to perform, entertain, and have fun on the dance floor. See you soon!!!! 




BEYOND LIMITATIONS

The day I had been anticipating for so long finally arrived, my first ballroom test went beyond my expectations. Chantel Leclerc, the person judging my progress was incredibly accomplished with a giving soul, and her warm encouraging personality immediately put me at ease. She had an energy that made me excited as she imparted her wisdom and passion for ballroom dance to me.

First Antonio and I performed Tango, Waltz and Foxtrot for Chantal. I held my own in the Waltz and Foxtrot, which are the two smooth dances I have become comfortable with in my showcase routines. In the Tango I performed my famous Tango face that scared that poor woman half to death when I was in Argentina. The one issue I immediately knew I needed help with as we performed the Tango was not being able to distinguish the lead for the Open Fan from the lead in Double Corte. After each dance was complete Antonio and I paused for notes, the coaching session began.

As I watched Chantal, It was encouraging see someone my height be incredibly fearless with such a powerful presence. She completely filled the space around her demonstrating flawless technique and lines and able to anticipate my questions as she gave her advice. I learned how to wait for the lead instead of anticipating the next move. We also worked on bending my knees and elongating my frame which changed the entire look of my dance. Both Chantal and Antonio continued to compliment me as I was able to apply the corrections, and when the test was over my confidence shot through the roof.

The next day we did the showcase video.  Now that the test was out of the way I could have more fun and show a different side to myself, the side that is fun and quirky and loves to laugh.
I come to class the next day and find out I will have to wait until next week for my scores from the test! The agony of it all. I am so eager to see how I did, but I must put that aside to focus on the task at hand. Today we are focusing on Choreography, and I have all of these notes from the test swimming in my head from my test as I am learning the last few phrases. By the end of class exception of the very end we are done!!!

I was dozing off one night this week and awakened to a documentary of Marvin Hamlicsh, one of the co-collaborators of A Chorus Line who composed all of the music. It seemed like it was meant for me to review the historical context of my showcase song, and I learned some things I never knew before. The movie talked about how the musical was birthed from a workshop of chorus dancers telling their story as dancers that fade into the background. As the workshop evolved Marvin created theme songs for all of the characters that matched each personality and the story that would be told. By the opening night of the show the stories of these background dancers struck such a cord with the audience, the show was such a hit the performers did 21 curtain calls! The curtain call is the song and dance routine to the song “One”.  Which is the song for my showcase. The musical is credited with beginning the transformation of New York City and 42 street as the new life from creativity brought change and purpose to the area. During Marvin’s life he won three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony, three Golden Globe awards, and the Pulitzer Prize.

I couldn’t help but think about how powerful the song “One” has been in my life and how through dance I am being built up and restored to a place of wholeness. As I continued to watch the documentary my life lesson was that when you follow your dreams you have the power to inspire those around you. I was encouraged to keep dreaming and to press beyond my limitations for myself, and to show others it can be done.

By: Kamaria George (04/09/2017)