Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Dec 19th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Decade of Passion

ae3-1Salsa by the Sea celebrates 10 years

The sun is setting as a crowd gathers around a makeshift dance floor next to the Santa Cruz Wharf. At the center of the circle, a diverse group of beaming locals appears liberated as they writhe to the sensual sounds pouring out of the speakers.

The energy is infectious.

The free event, known as Salsa by the Sea, has drawn experienced dancers and first-timers to the deck adjacent to Ideal Bar & Grill every Sunday for the last 10 years. In honor of its anniversary, the group will host a special event from 5 to 9 p.m. on July 29, featuring DJs Luis Resendiz, Paul Camacho, Ferdouse Khaleque, Dark Rum, and Micheal Mpyangu. Watsonville’s community dance group, Fuego Latino, will also perform.

“It all started with a small boom box,” says Itziar Santos, Salsa by the Sea’s founder, “and it grew and grew and grew from there.”

In 2002, Santos was a DJ at the now-defunct Club Dakota, where she would spin during their free Monday night salsa events. When the salsa night was cut, Santos recognized the sense of loss among the dancers, who no longer had a place to regularly convene.

“Salsa dancing must be shown! It must be seen,” she exclaims. “The world had to know how great it is. That’s how I felt when I started it.”

In the beginning, Salsa by the Sea was an attempt to replace what had been lost with a handful of amateur salsa dancers clustered around a modest portable sound system at the end of Pacific Avenue. But, after receiving numerous noise complaints and police visits during their months Downtown, Santos took to the beach.

“I walked out on the Boardwalk and I came to that deck that we dance on now and I thought, ‘This is it,’” she remembers. “It’s right by the ocean, the sunset, it really couldn’t get any better than that.”

From a small boom box to its current professional sound system, Salsa by the Sea has inevitably grown in the past decade; some people even travel from outside of Santa Cruz County to participate. While each week the group grooves to ae3-2salsa music mixed with cha-cha, cumbia, and merengue, the event’s current coordinator, Trace Farley, has recently incorporated an evening dedicated solely to bachata—a hip-swaying style of dance that originated in the Dominican Republic, and is popular in the Bay Area—on the third Sunday of every month. “Bachata is a more romantic style of dance,” explains Farley. “It’s really like the slow dance of our event.”

Relative to the size of the community, salsa has a fairly large following in Santa Cruz County.

“I look forward to the end of each week because I know that I will be back in the arms of Salsa by the Sea,” says Lillian Berger, who has been participating for five months. “It really does hold me; seeing the same warm faces and feeling the familiar rhythm of the music each week keeps my blood pumping and feeds my soul.”

Both Santos and Farley describe their involvement in salsa as a way of life, even an addiction. “It’s just so fun,” says Farley. “It’s great exercise, it’s free, it’s very social, it's a great way to meet people, it’s great for dating. In fact, there have been some salsa babies that came from people meeting at our event.”

The intention of Salsa by the Sea and its patrons is the same today as it was 10 years ago: to get more people involved.

“Because Salsa by the Sea is a very open event, people are very accepting,” explains Berger. “Dancers of all levels are welcome because people are enthusiastic about the dance and willing to help [those who] do not know the steps.” A partner is never necessary and everyone is welcome. “The most important thing is to have fun.”

Salsa by the Sea meets from 5-8 p.m. on Sundays on the left side of Ideal Bar & Grill. The anniversary event is from 5-9 p.m. Sunday, July 29. Free for all ages.

Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by SalsaGente.com, July 26, 2012
This free social event brings people together from all around of all ages, ethnicities, religions and professions. It is like a big family dancing to happy music at this beautiful beach. We remember when it all started with Itziar! We should not take this for granted and be grateful also for the people who keep this going like Trace and Itziar and all the great DJs. Thank you so much from SalsaGente.com
...
written by Trace Farley, July 26, 2012
Thank you so much for doing this great article on our event Jenny/Good times.
We love you!
Trace

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Is This a Dream?

A beginner’s guide to understanding and exploring the uncanny world of lucid dreams

 

Giving and Giving, Then Giving Some More

2014 is almost over. Wednesday, Dec. 17, the Jewish Festival of Light, Hanukkah, begins. We are in our last week of Sag and last two weeks of December. Sunday, Dec. 21 is winter Solstice, as the sun enters Capricorn (3:30 p.m. for the west coast). Soon after, the Capricorn new moon occurs (5:36 p.m. for the west coast)—the last new moon of 2014. Sunday morning Uranus in Aries (revolution, revelation) is stationary direct (retro since July 22). Uranus/Aries create things new and needed to anchor the new culture and civilization (Aquarius). We will see revolutionary change in 2015. Capricorn new moon, building-the-personality seed thought, is, “Let ambition rule and let the door to initiation and freedom stand wide (open).” Capricorn is a gate—where matter returns to spirit. But the gate is unseen until the Ajna Center (third eye), Diamond Light of Direction, opens. Winter solstice is the longest day of darkness of the year. The sun’s rays resting at the Tropic of Capricorn (southern hemisphere) symbolize the Christ (soul’s) light piercing the heart of the Earth, remaining there for three days, till Holy Night (midnight Thursday morning). Then the sun’s light begins to rise. It is the birth of the new light (holy child) for the world. A deep calm and stillness pervades the world.The entire planet is revivified, re-spiritualized. All hearts beating reflect this Light. And so throughout the Earth there’s a radiant “impress” (impressions, pictures) given to humanity of the World Mother and her Child. The star Sirius (love/direction) and the constellation Virgo the mother shines above. For gift giving, give to those in need. Give and give and then give some more. This creates the new template of giving and sharing for the new world.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Stocking Stuffers

The men behind the women of the Kinsey Sicks Dragapella Beautyshop Quartet explain their own special brand of ‘dragtivism,’ and their holiday show at the Rio
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Tramonti Pizza

Why there’s no such thing as too much Italian food in Seabright

 

Guitar or surfboard?

Guitar. The closest thing I ever came to surfing was sliding down a rock hill. Charlie Tweddle, Santa Cruz, Hats and Music

 

Fortino Winery’s Intriguing Charbono

At the opening celebration of the new Santa Clara Wine Trail in August, one of the wineries we visited was Fortino. This is where I first tasted their intriguing estate-grown Charbono—a varietal that is one of the rarest in California, with only 80 acres grown statewide.

 

Beyond the Jar

How Tabitha Stroup has built her rapidly expanding jam empire