Up Close and Personal with Marianna Bel
How did you get started In Bachata?
I met an old friend who I had known
through ballroom dancing and she invited me to come to Parx with her to dance
salsa. I decided to give it a shot and went out that same night. She introduced
me to her instructor Joe when we got there. To be quite honest I had never even
seen salsa. Joe came up to me and said "we're going to dance Bachata"
my response was “what’s that and right now?" He said yes right now. I was
also thinking how forward this little boy was (little because I thought he was
20 years old with his baseball cap on). As soon as we were in close hold and
the music started I knew that I would be dancing Bachata for the rest of my
life. I had no idea how to dance it, I couldn't understand the words to the
song, but he had me dancing like id been doing it for years and it was
incredible. A few days later I came you t he reef, and I've been there every
Tuesday since then.
What do you like most about the Philly Bachata scene?
My favorite aspect of the scene is
how understanding people are of the intimacy of the dance. Romantic Bachata was
all I knew for a while when I started dancing. That's just how they dance at
the Reef and when Bachata came on I knew I was free to express myself to the
music with any partner in the room without judgment or assumption that
something more would happen after the dance. It is just complete respect for
the music, the dance itself and your partner.
Have you been to any interesting places since you started?
Every place I've traveled so far has
been interesting. It is all about the people I've met and the long lasting
friendships that I've been able to build as a result of the dancing community.
So far I've been to Alaska, Denver, Washington DC, Rochester and Albany.
I can't wait to revisit each city and add more to the list.
What girls on the scene do you like to watch?
Some of my favorites have been Priscilla Marino, Sharonne Vinokurov, Renee Nichole, Amie Archut, and Tanya Kameneva. Bachata really allows room for passion and flavor so each great dancer has a way of delivering the same basic different than the next. Sometimes all you need to see in Bachata is the connection between two people and it becomes mesmerizing. Jacki Rozzo is also incredible and as of lately a fantastic lead. There is no doubt that catching a glimpse of any one of those women in the middle of a Bachata will make you sweat.
Who are some of your favorite guys to dance with?
My absolute favorite Bachata dancers
are Joe Figueroa, Darlin Garcia, Watson Saintsulne, Kevin Ngo, Michael Andino,
Kolbe, Carlos JL, and my new favorites Luis Albaladejo and Daniel Collins! I
know there are more I'm forgetting....
Why are the things you look forward to most in a social dance?
I look forward to surrendering to my partner and going along for the ride. There is something so stress relieving about not having to think about what's next. All you have to do is listen to the music and listen to your partner. The music tells you how to move and your partner tells you where.
How would you describe your style?
My Style is Passionate but simple. I don’t really do fancy footwork or styling. I prefer to just focus on being a light lead and connecting with my partner.
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I’m going to continue traveling and expanding my career as a dance teacher. Hopefully sometime within the next 5 years I will be in another interview with you talking about salsa :-)