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CHAPTER 2 BEGINS!

I am so excited as Antonio has invited me back to share my thoughts and dreams in a weekly column. As I am learning to live with the idea of limitless possibilities I invite you to join me for Chapter 2 as I begin living in the reality of one of my greatest successes and look forward to my next steps.

Today I am sitting in quiet stillness absorbing the rays of sunlight on the second day of autumn. Intermittently the wind blows giving a calming embrace as my thoughts run wild. Argentina was one of the most amazing experiences of my life! I surprised myself as all of the preparation, blood, sweat, tears, and sacrifice transformed me into a different person - I found myself on the ballroom floor as observed by Anna Smart one of the competition organizers. This is probably the best description of what happened to me. I am not the same woman I was when I left Atlanta, there is a clarity and definition of goals like I have never felt before.

 I have jumped right into preparation for my Salsa Choreography. I had a class with Maxi who introduced me to the cross body lead turn. The turn had me feeling like I was learning to dance for the first time all over again! He spun me over and over again until I became dizzy as I had forgotten to spot- Maxi even accused me of being drunk as I was starting to stumble through the turn. Finally he pulls out some blue tape and places it on the ground and tells me to stay on the line as I complete the step. After several attempts I finally get the turn he smiles and hugs me; it truly felt great to finally get it! The next week as I am preparing for my class with Maxi I get a big surprise as Antonio has returned from Argentina and drops by the studio to encourage me, and to cause me to start thinking about my vision for the next year. One powerful thing I draw from Antonio is to always keep moving forward looking to the next level, simultaneously performing in the present while focusing on the future.

Finally I have my first class with Antonio to set my routine. I have been ecstatic waiting for my steps playing my song La Camisa Negra by Juanes over and over for the past few months! As we begin there is a lot of walking in the beginning of the routine. Antonio asks me why I thought he was having me walk so much. I was thinking perhaps he wanted to make a statement similar to choreographers Blondell Cummings and Paul Taylor who use everyday movement in their pieces, but as it turns the walking was added to help me improve my posture. As we move through the steps I am realizing that this is a piece that will help build my confidence – even when Antonio and I are in closed position the routine demands me to step outside of my comfort zone and be fierce!  The Life lesson with Antonio for the day is to move with purpose- when you don’t have a purpose you are unsure and you lack definition and power. In addition to making my life lessons a reality my challenge is to learn my routine in 6 weeks and I am ready! After performing in Argentina I am ready to take this routine and this year by storm!!!

By: Kamaria George (09/23/2016)


ANTONIO DAZA... ARGENTINA MEMORIES!

... I would like to share this special video that Sebastian Colavita prepared and gave me on my birthday, showcasing the best moments of the #SouthAmericanOpenCompetition 2016 as I danced and performed with my students  Valeria Celano and Kamaria S George Atlanta as well as my partner in crime Sebastian. Almost, never I have the opportunity to see myself dancing from the outside and watch how much fun I am actually having on the floor. There is no doubt that dancing continues making me very happy and helps me express different feelings and emotions, while at the same time I help my students make their dreams become true. Once again THANK YOU SO MUCH Sebastian for putting this video together for me to help keep these memories alive for ever! #dazadance#daza#becomingbetter#Ibelieveinmiracles#worldpromotions#argentina#buenosaires



BONNIE EMERSON'S INTERVIEW DURING HER TRIP TO ARGENTINA TO COMPETE AT THE SAO COMPETITION 2014

In 2014 I had the opportunity to go to Argentina for the first time... Thanks to Bonnie K Emerson I had the opportunity to make one my long dreams come true. She was the first one taking on this journey with me outside of the USA and I will forever be thankful to her for all her trust, caring and willingness to step outside of her confort zone with me. Because of this trip with her my life changed forever. Take a look at this interview done by Anna Smart to her during our way back from the "Estancia Trip" on Monday after the competition wa over and it was time to relax... Enjoy! #dazadance#daza#becomingbetter#ibelieveinmiracles#southamericanopen#worlsdanceexperience#atlanta#argentina#buenosaires


VALERIA CELANO'S MULTI-DANCE EVENTS AT THE SOUTH AMERICAN OPEN COMPETITION 2016

Valeria Celano and Antonio Daza did a great job at the last #SouthAmericanOpen Competition in Buenos Aires, Argentina last month obtaining 1st place on both American Smooth and American Rhythm Closed Bronze Multi-Dance Events as well as the "Top South American Student" over all. We are so proud of her for working so hard and diligently during the whole year to to make her dreams come true and get the results that she wanted out her goals. Thank you also to Sebastian Colavita and Celeste Italiano for all their professionalism, dance experience and passion while working with Valeria during the times I was in USA... #dazadance#daza#becomingbetter, #southamericanopen, #BuenosAires#Argentina




SOUTH AMERICAN OPEN 2016!!!

At 5:00 AM I wake up for my hair and make-up call at 6:30. Antonio and Sebastian come to get me from my room and make sure I have breakfast before this incredibly long day. Breakfast is not ready yet but they find me some coffee and juice and Facturas (yay!!) before Antonio takes me to hair and make-up. After being transformed I run to my room and get dressed. Antonio comes to get me to take me to the ballroom, and when I get downstairs my nerves are going haywire, I am feeling so much pressure wanting to dance well and make a good impression for Daza Dance. My head is spinning and I am about to vomit. Valeria takes me away for a few minutes to a side room. I run into the hair stylist who fixes my hair while I am swallowing table salt which keeps me from being sick. Valeria is holding my hand and comforting me and her peaceful spirit helps me to collect my thoughts. Finally I am calm enough to re- enter the ballroom, and after a short practice session I am feeling better. When I took the floor for my first dance the nerves were gone! I just relaxed an enjoyed dancing with the best dancing coach in the world, and dancing my personal best! I was filled with such joy and never wanted these moments to end! When I wasn’t dancing I got to soak up watching the technique, creativity and artistry from Chile, Germany, Costa Rica, and many other nations. I also gleaned from our dancing family getting to watch Valeria and Antonio majestically move on the ballroom floor, and she shone as well with Enrique her other partner. Likewise her sister Costanza was delightful to watch as she performed with Sebastian, her love for dance came through with every movement. Of course I also loved watching the divine Celeste and Enrique, Celeste reminds me so much of Masha as she and Enrique illuminated the dance floor. I also enjoyed watching the joyful Christian and Stella, and the Regal Estella and Sebastian- Estella is indeed a queen as she and Sebastian move beautifully through the floor. Sonia looked like an Egyptian princess as she dazzled in her beautiful gown with the love of dance flowing through her. I was also deeply moved by watching Sebastian and Ligeia move throughout the ballroom, their lines were utterly perfect and their connection was seamless- It’s easy to see Ligeia is a former ballerina a she and Sebastian execute each dance with precision and ease.  At the end of the Day I was able to celebrate with Valeria who got top honors in Rhythm and with several members of Colavita who took home top honors as well. I felt blessed to be a part of a family of champions and to be present in a ballroom with some of the best dancers in the world. When we concluded for the Day we came back later for the group presentations and performances. Antonio and Sebastian performed an amazing East Coast Swing that electrified the crowd. After the performance I was grateful for sleep as I had only slept 4 hours in 2 days!

The next day of the competition was the smooth day- I had no nerves and just had fun. I remembered every correction and even my Foxtrot looked great! I understood in that moment why Antonio is so tough on me and never lets me get away with even the smallest detail. His demands for perfection helped me fine tune and dance with a confidence I never knew I had, and helped me not to second guess myself when the pressure was on. I had another day of dancing my personal best and feeling like I was gliding around the dance floor. Joy that had been hidden in my heart for years was coming out and shining. I became very known for my Tango face, and scared some poor lady so bad she made a point to come tell me. At the end of the day Valeria took hope top honors again in the smooth I didn’t realize she had never competed in smooth before, what an amazing accomplishment. Other members of Colavita Studio were also taking home awards. That night at the VIP dinner for the South American Open I was so surprised that I, along with other members of my team received my participation medal from Anna Smart one of the organizers of the South American Open. Usually this medal would be given at my school, but they wanted to acknowledge me, and were hopeful that I would return.

For the evening session we had a ceremony where they announced each Country and I got to walk around the ballroom with Antonio and other members of the United States behind the American Flag. It was exciting to see all of the other countries represented as well. That night there were several wonderful performances including Amazing performances Manuel Favilla and Natalie Maduik. I was in awe of how Natalie moved across the floor, stunningly beautiful and completely captivating. I felt like a child wanting to capture and copy her every movement. Another wonderful thing that happened was that I was honored to be present as Sebastian got inducted into the Choreography Hall of Fame. I felt so proud to have had the opportunity to work with him in Atlanta when he choreographed my last showcase, and to now be present as he accomplished this amazing achievement.

Later that evening was after party. I still wanted to dance so Antonio challenged me to do Gangum style.  I think it surprised everyone to see me totally free of any inhibitions on the dance floor and just having fun- I couldn’t stop dancing. Celeste was laughing saying “where is Kamaria!!!” Sebastian just stared at me and said “you danced a lot!!!”

I never like to visit a city without learning something about and embracing the culture, and the next two days Antonio and Valeria were gracious enough to take me throughout Buenos Aires. We went the first day to LaBoca, The Birthplace of Tango with the beautiful colored buildings and saturated with beautiful art. Next we visited Puerto Madero a beautiful pier that represented the modern architecture of Buenos Aires. Later that evening there was an awards ceremony that acknowledged every student. I was deeply moved to hear what Antonio thought of me, and I got to tell my story and thank Antonio for this wonderful journey that has changed my life.

The next day we went to The Evita Museum in Palermo, and to a hauntingly beautiful Cemetery in Recoleta. After we had lunch with Sebastian at El Club De La Milanesa It was time to leave, so sadly I boarded the plane.  I couldn’t sleep on the plane as wonderful memories permeated my soul. The Sun was rising as I was flying into Buenos Aires, and the moon was setting as I landed in Atlanta. Incidentally my name means like the moon, and like the moon I feel reinvigorated from my time in Buenos Aires to bring light and joy to a world that desperately needs encouraging.

When I woke up this morning I stared down at my glittering fingernails, the last remnant of my performance, glittering like Cinderella’s slipper after the ball. Chapter 2 begins today as I start my Salsa

Choreography for the next showcase. Where will my dreams take me this year? It’s time to continue on my path and go beyond the limitations of my mind- not just for myself, but as an encouragement to all I come in contact with.

I would like to thank Antonio for helping me transform not only as a dancer, but as a person and for letting me use his blog to write 200 articles. He has helped lead me on a path to find the best version of myself and to embrace who I am completely, giving me tools for success in every area of my life.

By: Kamaria George (08/22/2016)


REALIDAD ARGENTINA (Part 1)

As I was arriving in Buenos Aires I got to watch the sun rise through the clouds and almost appear to be  level with the plane.  I was thinking this is a new day for me; and I was to embark on one of my greatest adventures. Antonio met me at the airport with Enrique, a student at Sebastian’s studio.  As I was riding into the city I began to realize I was fulfilling my dream- everything for a year had built up to this moment. The thoughts running through my mind were competing with the eclectic architecture, and parts of the city that reminded me of places I had visited in France, Belgium, England, and even cities in the United States like San Francisco in California, and New York City. Before going to the hotel we went to say Hello to Sebastian who went with us across the street to this this delightful bakery with Facturas, delicious pastries with all sorts of flavors. My favorites were the Dulce de leche, the crème centered ones, and a flat one with a berry jam. I ate two on the ride over to the hotel and saved the others for a midnight snack!

When we got to the hotel my room wasn’t ready so we went straight to rehearsal at Ensuenio. The studio reminded me of dance studios in New York City with the long marble staircase leading to the top and antique wood finishes. I met Susanna the owner whose warm demeanor made me feel at home and who makes the best cup of coffee in the world.  The room where  I was rehearsing had a beautiful mural that looked like petals painted in a color between lavender and violet.  For the first time I was rehearsing with a mirror; at Daza Dance there are no mirrors which actually is a good thing for me; I can concentrate on connecting with Antonio and not feel self-conscience about how I look. This time however, I am using the mirror to make corrections. As always I am full of anxiety, I haven’t seen Antonio in 2 weeks and I usually freak out because it takes time to reestablish a connection, and this time was no different. I do really great on the Rhythm dances and then during the smooth dances I fall apart with the Foxtrot. (No surprise here) Antonio gets frustrated and starts fussing, and I get really angry with him - which is great because our next dance to rehearse is Tango. I don’t even have to look in the mirror to know how scary my Tango face is looking right now!!!  Next we are doing The Waltz and I have to be sweet again – but I don’t want to be sweet! I want to keep my Tango face because I am furious, but I soften and become sweet again. After a very intense practice we shake off the rehearsal, hug and have lunch. I have a ham, egg, and cheese pastry similar to a quiche and some more of Susanna’s delicious coffee!!

Back at the hotel I am greeted by my friend Heather who has been one of my best friends since we were 13. We were ballerinas together a Terpsicore studios in Atlanta and attended Northside High School of the performing arts together. It meant the world for me to see her and to know that she would be there for me as I performed as friends like her come once in a lifetime. After catching up I am getting ready for a Tango Show.  Before the show starts I get to learn some Argentine Tango from one of the dancers and totally forget my Tango Face! I have more of a Lucille Ball/ I love Lucy/ East Coast Swing face because I am so excited and happy. The show was a dinner theatre with several couples who performed together and separately; some of the performances were so emotional I could feel them all through me. The show also included Gaucho performers who infuse the audience with a vibrant explosive energy.  We get back at the Hotel shortly after midnight and I can’t sleep as I have too much excitement and expectancy about what is to come. Tomorrow continues my journey further into the unknown!

By: Kamaria George (08/20/2016)






ANTONIO DAZA AND SEBASTIAN COLAVITA'S PREFESSIONAL SWING SHOWDANCE 2016!

...This has definitely been one of the most fun, exciting and humbling experiences I've had in the last few years. Although I have put a lot of energy, work blood, tears and effort in my work as a ‪#‎ballroomdanceinstructor‬ the last eight years as well as building Daza Dance and only wished that it could be noticed just as that, I recognized that performing a professional show with Sebastian Colavita was very very exciting... maybe I will do it again soon! Thank you so much Sebastian Colavita for encouraging me to get back on the floor and perform with you.... I would not have asked for a better dance partner to share this experience. Sebastian did a fantastic job choreographing this piece that, without a doubt, brought the best of our personalities out on the floor... the crowd felt our energy and how much we were enjoying it. Thank you Andrew and Anna Smart for providing this space and for putting together such a beautiful event where ‪#‎people‬ can express freely through the language of ‪#‎Dance‬ beyond their cultures, religions, sexual orientations and political views, and to TRULLY come together. ‪#‎dazadance‬‪#‎daza‬‪#‎iloveballroomdance‬‪#‎southamericanopen‬‪#‎Argentina‬‪#‎Antoniodaza‬‪#‎becomingbetter‬‪#‎ibelieveinmiracles‬


THE WINNING TEAM!

Beyond all the difficulties and obstacles that I've encountered throughout this journey as a ‪#‎businessowner‬ and ‪#‎ballroomdanceintructor‬, I recognize that I've also been always surrounded by many people who have made a tremendous ‪#‎positiveimpact‬ in my life. They have offered me a hand to pick me up when I have fallen, walked next to me in the obscurity and some times gifted me wings that have mede fly... Sebastian Colavita and Celeste Italianohave done that for me since the day I met them. Very few times in our life time, you get to meet wonderful people like them, who are not afraid of taking risks, growing and living life to the fullest in pursuit of their dreams. Last weekend at the SAO Competition they showed unbelievable strength, professionalism and skill like never seen before. I am so happy and proud to call them my friends.... I love you both very much. ‪#‎THEWINNINGTEAM‬‪#‎dazadance‬‪#‎daza‬‪#‎iloveballroomdancing‬‪#‎southamericanopencompetition‬‪#‎becomingbetter‬‪#‎ibelieveinmiracles‬








VALERIA CELANO IN ARGENTINA 2016

... About a year and a half ago during one my visits to Buenos Aires, Valeria Celano and I met because of her interest in perfecting her West Coast Swing... Long story short, she not only took one lesson with me but she continued taking many more to the point of competing at the 2015 South American Open competition with only twenty lessons to rehearse. She definitely took a leap of faith and ‪#‎jumpedinthepool‬ all the way. Almost instantly at the moment of meeting we stablished a special connection and a friendship was born... After a great success at her first competition and gaining the "Top South American Student" Award, she decided to take part of this great venture to compete at the 2016 South American Open competition again and setting higher and more exciting goals. In addition to training and dancing with me, she took on a new amateur partner (José Enrique Míguez Porcal) and received instruction from ‪#‎thebest‬ two instructors in Buenos Aires, Sebastian Colavita and Celeste Italiano, who took care of her while I was in Atlanta. For the second time she performed her ‪#‎AmericanRhythm‬ routines, and this year for the first time she competed on the ‪#‎AmericanSmooth‬ dances (Foxtrot, Waltz and Tango), which has been one her dreams all along. I am so proud of her because she exceeded all my expectations; Valeria Celano won ‪#‎1stplace‬ on the Close 3-Dance Multi Dance Challenges in American Rhythm and American Smooth. As if that was not enough she took (again) the title of "‪#‎SouthAmericanStudentAward‬ over all. I am extremely proud of her not only because she has done what no one else has ever done in Argentina as far as pro-am ballroom dancing, but also because I have first hand witnessed the amazing personal, emotional and psychological growth she has gain through this journey. I will forever be grateful to her for believing in me as well as allowing me to turn her world upside down... Thank you Valeria for all your love, support and trust. Let's keep dancing!!!! ‪#‎dazadance‬‪#‎daza‬‪#‎ilovebuenosaires‬‪#‎worldpromotions‬‪#‎southamericanopen‬‪#‎becomingbetter‬‪#‎ibelieveinmiracles‬





KAMARIA GEORGE IN ARGENTINA 2016

This year, and for the third time in my life I had the great opportunity to be part of one the most well-organized, fun and friendly-environment ballroom dance competitions in the world. The South American Open, led by the amazing team of Andrew and Anna Smart, takes place every year in Buenos Aires , Argentina, providing an opportunity to dancers from all over the world, but specially from South America, to gather under the same roof to show their unbelievable talent and passion. Daza Dance and I were gratefully lucky to be represented by one of our most beloved students: Kamaria S George Atlanta. She has been taking lessons at the studio for one and half year and this was her first competition ever... Yeah, She definitely jumped straight into the the big fish tank. Her sweet.loving and fun demeanor immediately stole everyone's hearts, as well as her personality on the dance floor left remarkable memories that will last for a long time. In addition, I am so proud of Kamaria S George Atlanta for being an example of the numerous benefits that Ballroom Dancing has on those who dare to experience it. Today, she is someone who has become closer to the kind of person she really wants to be by allowing herself to grow and change through the life lessons that she learns when she dances. I would like to invite everyone to join me in Buenos Aires next year in 2017 to experience the amazing energy of this country! ‪#‎dazadance‬‪#‎daza‬‪#‎ilovebuenosaires‬‪#‎worldpromotions‬‪#‎southamericanopen‬‪#‎becomingbetter‬‪#‎ibelieveinmiracles‬





TOMORROW I LOVE YOU!!!

The day I have been waiting on is finally here! In a few hours I will board a plane headed on my first adventure in the world of competitive ballroom dance. I have been emotional all day. I had a wonderful final class with Maxi, even though I kept turning when Maxi wanted to do hair comb in Salsa. Actually I did very well on all the dances and my confidence is growing by the minute. As I left the studio I felt like a celebrity as I was getting so many hugs and encouraging words from all of the instructors and students. Tomorrow I love you! You are here!!!

By: Kamaria George (08/11/2016)


A CLEAR VOICE


For the past few days I have been coasting on adrenaline, but today I am strangely calm. That does not mean however that I have stopped spontaneously dancing around Atlanta, it just means that I feel peaceful on the inside. Today I made a friend while doing the Cha-Cha in the elevator who as it turns out loves ballroom dancing. Of course they were inquisitive and I got to talk about Argentina. During a break in my day I stepped outside and strong gusts of wind left from a rain shower are giving me the Beyonce fan effect! Of course I need to dance – I will do Salsa. Dancing is a way for me to say the things that are hidden in my heart; the more I dance the clearer my voice becomes.  Argentina are you ready for me? I will be there soon!

By: Kamaria George (08/10/2016)


I’M READY!!!

Today even though I am still somewhat nervous I am starting to feel good about where I am in my dancing. I am feeling a boldness and a confidence, hopefully I can carry these feelings through to the competition. I have imagined and dreamed of this time for a year, and as I think about my journey I am proud of myself for staying focused and not giving up. As I walked into the studio today I got big hugs from Masha, Maxi and Mario and lots of encouraging words.  Today as I practice I try to do everything I am supposed to do in competition.  I have been watching competition footage from around the globe and seeing how people carry themselves and how they follow through on movements down to the last detail. In a few days that will be me – and I am ready!!

By: Kamaria George (08/09/2016)


TECHNIQUE AND EMOTION

As I walk in the studio today my mind is racing. Mario and Maxi are encouraging me as they are preparing showcase routines. I am looking with pride on all of my stars around the walls, to date I have had 4 stars that have been posted with my name. Stars are posted when someone commits to a performance or a competition. At the end of the year I will have performed in 3 showcases and of course the star I am most proud of – My competition in Argentina. Sometimes I reach up and touch the stars reminding myself of my purpose and my goals.

Today my favorite rock band skillet has released a new album. To celebrate I am listening to their music while doing the Tango, and I am imagining doing choreography to this song and wearing an all leather costume. I am throwing some serious shade as I practice, and I can hear Antonio’s voice in my head saying technique! Watch your technique, don’t get so lost in the music. I can show so much emotion that sometimes I forget the steps. I have so much to say in my heart, and hopefully I can channel my personality to enhance my technique. 4 more days!!! Oh my goodness!!!

By: Kamaria George (08/08/2016)


ALMOST THERE...

Today this experience is too real as I started packing. Packing is one of my least favorite things in the world to do but I am so motivated!  I just got my jewelry for my Latin dress, and I can’t wait to sparkle on the ballroom floor.  I have consulted with Masha on nails and she helped me pick out a design that will go with both dresses.   I have been reading up on Buenos Aires, and I love the city already! I’m going to embrace the culture of the city with all of the art and dance – this place is just for me. So many thoughts are going through my mind. I only have a few days left to rehearse, and one coaching session left with Maxi. I am almost there!

By: Kamaria George (08/05/2016)


VIVA LA MUSICA

I am a week from departure, if you only knew the anticipation, joy, and excitement I am feeling!  I can't get too excited at the moment, however, as I am waiting on the bus. Maxi said once you can spend your whole life waiting on a bus in Atlanta- and he is more than correct!

As I am waiting I am watching the sun set and listening to one of my favorite songs Yo Si Me Enomore by Huey Dunbar. I truly hope this is one of the songs in the competition, it is a perfect song. The first time I heard the song at a Daza Dance party I was so gripped by the passion of this Artist. Right now I am so moved by this song have to do the Rumba right now!!! my heart is so full I can't hold it any longer, I have accepted the fact that if I don't dance right at this moment – complete with Masha arm styling- I will burst!!!. I am just dancing away at the bus stop. Finally the bus arrives the driver has this perplexed look on his face I just laugh! (Hahahahaha) Argentina please come quickly! I am going nuts- but I am so happy! Viva La Musica!!!


By: Kamaria George (08/04/2016)