Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Nov 01st
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

 

Jawing

Monterey Bay scientists are working to crack the mysteries of—and dispel the myths about—great whites. But in the highly contentious world of shark experts, there’s a fin line between love and hate

 

Altars of Remembrance, Forgiveness & Rapprochement

We’re in Scorpio now—things mysterious, ageless, hidden, sometimes scary. Friday is Halloween; Saturday, All Saints Day; Sunday, All Soul’s Day. Sunday morning at 2 a.m. (after midnight), Daylight Savings Time ends. Clocks are turned back. Tuesday is the General Election. Our vote is our voice. Each vote matters. Applying freedom of choice—Libra’s teachings. It’s time to build Halloween, All Saints and All Souls altars—with marigolds, pumpkins, sugar skeletons, copal (incense), pomegranates, persimmons, candy corn and cookies, orange and black. It’s so Saturn (now in Scorpio). Saturn is the dweller on the threshold (like St. Peter at the gates of heaven). Saturn can look like a Halloween creature—a gargoyle—a fantastic dragon-like creature protecting sacred sites. The dweller (Saturn) stands at the door or threshold of sacred mysteries, wisdom temples, inner sanctums of churches, offering protection, scaring evil away. The last day of October and first two days of November, when veils between worlds thin and spirits roam about, are times of remembrance, forgiveness, reconciliation and rapprochement. These actions liberate us. At death, when reviewing our lives and the consequences of our actions if we have forgiven, then we are free, less encumbered with grief and sadness. We place forgiveness on our altars. Happy Halloween, everyone! It’s good to dress up as what we’re afraid of. Or whom we would mentor. Then we become one with them. Note to readers: by Thanksgiving I will need a place to live (with purpose). Please contact me if you know of a place where I can rest for awhile. Teach and build community. [email protected] I will be leaving my mother’s home for the last time.

 

The New Tech Nexus

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

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of October 31

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Back Nine Grill & Bar

The secrets of remodeling and juicy steak

 

What is Santa Cruz’s biggest eyesore?

David Finn, Santa Cruz, Graduate Student

 

Alberti Vineyards

Looking for some blood-red wine for your Halloween party? Then I have a recommendation for a new brew.

 

Turning Point

New revolving restaurant on the wharf, plus Cafe Ivéta and the last great Jack cheese