We had the pleasure of watching Raymond (12) and Jenalyn (9) Saraza Pacheco perform and receive a great standing ovation at the Los Angeles Salsa Congress this past May, and wanted to interview them to share their story. Raymond and Jenalyn currently dance with Latin Energy dance company and have been taught by instructor Vanessa Stay. Watch them dance and read their amazing story!
How did you learn to dance?
Jenalyn (9 years old): My mom says I was always dancing, even before I was born in her tummy. As soon as I could walk, I was dancing around on my tippy toes every chance I got. My parents put me in dance classes (ballet, jazz, hip hop, acro, tap) when I was 3 years old and I really loved it! With partner dancing, it all started when we saw our parents taking salsa lessons and watched my parents and grandparents dancing the cha cha and swing at family functions. We thought this kind of dancing was really cool and my brother started practicing salsa moves in our rooms when my parents werent watching. But one day, our parents heard us practicing and asked if we wanted to take lessons. They brought us to the Canada Salsa Congress when I was 5 years old and my brother was 7 years old, we met Vanesa Stay and Oscar Naranjo from Latin Energy and showed them our moves. Vanesa thought we were pretty good and asked us to come for salsa lessons. When we got good enough, she asked us to join the Latin Energy dance team and we began performing at weddings and festivals.
Raymond (12 years old): I started taking hip hop and breakdancing lessons when I was about 6 or 7 years old. I was always around dancing because my mom and dad loved to dance as well as my parents and uncles/aunts. My sister pretty much explained it all but I want to add that after we joined Latin Energy, our big break was when performed exactly a year later at the Canada Salsa Congress run by Jennifer Auction and the MC was Albert Torres. He was just a great guy to meet and Ill always remember how we got our first standing ovation and Albert called us the future of Salsa. We were hooked on dancing and have continued to learn with Vanesa Stay and have taken other types of partner dancing including ballroom and other styles....