Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Salsa on the Plaza" tonight at 7 pm.

The Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. invites you to "Salsa on the Plaza," a multi-week Salsa dance class for all. And it's free! Starting Wednesday, September 14th--and continuing into October--Ricardo Loaiza and Elba Garcia will teach you how to dance the Salsa or help you improve you style!

What: Salsa Dancing on the Plaza
Where: Silver Spring's Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring, MD 20910
When: Wednesday, September 14, 2011, 7-9 pm.
Experience: No experience needed! Experienced dancers welcome!
Cost: Free!

Want to learn how to dance the Salsa? Want to improve your Salsa dancing? Join Ricardo, Elba and friends on Veterans Plaza for free Salsa classes, every Wednesday in September and on into October!

About Ricardo and Elba. Ricardo Loaiza, a native of Colombia, is the originator the Latin Dance Company DC SALSEROS/LATIN VIBES which was launched in 1996 in Washington, DC. Ricardo has taught, choreographed and performed in more than 500 events in the Washington DC Metropolita, area as well as in over 20 cities in the USA. He has taught and Performed in various major SALSA international events in Holland, England, Germany, Dubai, Ireland, Puerto Rico, Japan, Aruba and Colombia. Currently he teaches Salsa-Aerobics (Dance Aerobics) at various Washington Sports Clubs, as part of a High and Low exercise program, for young and old.

Joining Ricardo, the father of Esperanza Loaiza, in instruction is Elba Garcia, his life-long dance partner, wife and mother of their other 3 children--Ricardo Rey, Leonardo and Lorenza.

Mr. Loaiza has been a pioneer in his field and has facilitated many firsts throughout his career. Ricardo was the first local Latin Dance Instructor to start a Dance Company and to be invited to represent Washington, DC in various National and International events. The first in the DC Metropolitan area to provide students with progressive group and performance classes with a carefully planned syllabus and evaluation process. And the first to open a Latino Owned Latin Dance Studio in Silver Spring, MD in 2000. Ricardo is also a promoter of Salsa, Mambo and other Latin dances through WEPA Productions, who are the organizers for the International Salsa Conventions. Mr. Loaiza has paved the way for the many Dance Instructors and Dance Companies that currently exist in the DC Metropolitan Area. He is well known for his Group classes and ENERGETIC and FUN presence when teaching. Ricardo considers himself "a student of SALSA and Mambo" and takes every opportunity to learn new things everywhere he teaches.

For the last 10 years, he has helped organize and host the Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Latin Dance Competition which has had as many as 10 schools participate in the past. As a result of this competition in November of 2010, he co-founded “The After School Latin Dance Fund”(ASDF), a non-profit organization that provides artistic, technical and financial support for the establishment of after school Latin dance programs with the hope of expanding the program to all 25 MCPS.

After School Dance Fund provides artistic, technical and financial support for the establishment After School Latin Dance Programs in all Montgomery County Public Schools (“MCPS”). ASDF offers its programs in an effort to combat the troubling prevalence of preventable social and health issues; particularly in the Latino community, including childhood obesity, teen pregnancy, high rates of high school drop-outs, and the devastating influence of gangs in our communities. The ASDF initiative aims to create a permanent space for participating MCPS students to be involved in a positive group activity with their peers after school. The GOAL is for students to learn to showcase popular Latin dances, as well as the importance of living a healthy mental and physical life style. To this end, dance becomes a vehicle for increased cultural awareness and pride, while fostering exercise and having fun. In addition, participants learn teamwork and gain leadership skills in preparation for competition with individuals dancers and dance teams from other schools. The artistic progress and continuous improvement in dance technique will have a positive impression in each participant's personality, manners and etiquette. Also, by participating in a structures program, students learn to be part of a team, to be responsible, on-time, respectful to their team members, adults and their parents.

As a result of last year MCPS Hih School 11th Annual Latin Dance Competition, which was held at the Strathmore, The ASDF proudly partnered with HIPtv, who produced a Documentary “The Road to Strathmore” which features the lives of (4) students from two different schools and their sponsors. The documentary will be PREMIERE in Silver Spring this Fall 2011 and will be submitted to local, regional, national and international film festivals. The Documentary elaborates on the struggle, success and importance of students to be involved in a positive group activity with their peers.

About Althea Grey-McKenzie. Assisting Ricardo and Elba for "Salsa on the Plaza" is Althea Grey-McKenzie, the Artistic Director for the White House Studios. Althea is an awarded artist and visiting scholar in dance and cultural event management for her work as a performer, instructor, educator, and grant committee panelist. In addition to her work for The White House Studios in Downtown Silver Spring, she is Choreographer for Caribbean Dance Traditions (CDT), a resident performing group at the studio that performs in the Washington Metro area and has been seen at The Takoma Park Folk Festival, Magical Montgomery, World of Montgomery Festival, Taste of Wheaton and Montgomery County Public Libraries. She currently serves as Chair for the National Caribbean-American Heritage Month Steering Committee for the Caribbean-American Chamber of Commerce in the Greater Washington Area and has coordinated several successful programs regarding Caribbean culture which were featured in the Washington Post, ‘Montgomery Extra ‘ section, the Silver Spring Gazette, and the Rockville Patch.

Ms. Grey-McKenzie directed successful programs including: the Caribbean Dance Genre Program for several years at the Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity in Wheaton, Maryland, and co-directed the Caribbean Cultural Youth Association in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Both programs brought folk and traditional dance and cultural workshops representing Caribbean and Latino Heritage to underserved families in the Washington Metro area. She was also instrumental in bringing theatrical arts and workshops to The CaribFest in Richmond, VA, The Neal-Marshall Black Cultural Center at Indiana University and the Murphy Fine Arts Center at Morgan State University for a wide range of audiences. Ms. Grey-McKenzie continues to bring the awareness of this rich artistic culture to audiences in the Washington Metro area and Baltimore and produced “Caribbean Carnival Experience” for a 750 audience assembly of elementary school and middle school agers in July 2011.

As a professional dancer, member performer and former member of two dance companies, Ms. Grey McKenzie has an extensive background in dance. She was member of La Musicale Dance Works (DC) for eleven years, Soul in Motion Players, Inc. (MD) for five years and currently a member of the Zomema Dance Ensemble in Prince George’s Maryland, and a continuing five-year member of Carivision Community Theatre, a Caribbean theatrical company in College Park, Maryland, Althea has a passion for dance and the arts, as well as celebrating the interrelated aspects of African, Caribbean, Hispanic, European, Asian and African-American dance, musical, and theatrical art forms and traditions.

This program is a production of the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.

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