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Salsa dancers have glitzy LA in their sights

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Invigorating, fun, enjoyable, very high energy, spark, upbeat, very social these are the terms the teens of Ming Mambo used to described the atmosphere in their salsa class. This enthusiastic atmosphere has been passed down from Ming Mambo’s founder Jamelle Ming. Since 2007, he has been passionately sharing his knowledge of salsa dancing with Bermuda youth in an effort to keep salsa alive.

The youth programme began in 2007 when Jamelle Ming started teaching a handful of six through ten-year olds to dance salsa. Whilst several children have come and gone though out the years, Jamelle has maintained the interest of the core group of students with his challenging footwork drills, fast music, and easy-going teaching style.

The Young Observer was able to catch up with dance students Khaleb Tota, Mikayla Wilson, Kaelin Cox, Malaysia De Rosa, and Ashanti Hart during a recent Sunday morning rehearsal. Khaleb Tota, 14, attends Warwick Academy and was one of the initial students. He decided he wanted to do salsa when he saw his mother dancing. Khaleb is an avid equestrian who spends a lot of time with his horse name ‘Hey Dude’, a strawberry quarter horse. Khaleb hopes to someday be a professional horseback rider and go to the Panama Games, even the Olympics.

Kaelin Cox is fifteen and goes to Bermuda Institute. He has been dancing salsa for four years under the direction of Jamelle Ming. Kaelin was inspired to dance salsa after watching his father dance for years. Kaelin has also performed in a father and son duo, and has performed numerous times in Bermuda and twice overseas, once in Tampa, Florida and the other in New York City. His father also started teaching him the basics of martial arts at the age of four, and he started Northern Style Kung Fu at age five under the direction of Si Fu David.

Mikayla Wilson, 12, dances for the In Motion School and is extremely proud to be a member of Ming Mambo Salsa Kids Group. She has been studying with Jamelle for over two years. Mikayla also has a special place in her heart for animals, and she’s in her school’s band and has played percussion for eight years.

Malaysia De Rosa, 12, attends the Bermuda High School and has been dancing salsa since she was five. She also dances modern, jazz, ballet and tap. Malaysia has performed at the Corporation of Hamilton’s Harbour Nights, talent shows, and the Bodybuilding Federation’s Annual Night of Champions. In her spare time, she enjoys art, fashion design, choreography and riding horses.

Last but certainly not least Ashanti Hart, 16, attends Saltus Grammar School. She has been dancing salsa since 2006, though she’s been dancing since the age of two. Dancing is her passion and besides salsa Ashanti has enjoyed hip hop, ballet, modern and jazz. She says that dancing makes here feel free. She further stated that “Salsa is the best and you can dance it anywhere in the world.”

The students gave their debut performance in May 2008, and have continued performing locally at venues such as Mambo Night, Concert in the Park, Harbour Nights, and for Bermuda Day entertainment. In September 2011, they became the first and only youth salsa dancing team from Bermuda to perform internationally, when making their first performance at the International Salsa Congress in New York City. They are hoping to go to the Salsa Congress in Los Angeles this year, and have to raise money to cover their expenses. These expenses include costumes, plane tickets, passes, and hotel fees. To help offset some of these costs, they’re going to do bake sales, pledge drives, grocery packing, car washes, and pot-luck dinners, and other events. So keep your ear open for these events to support Ming Mambo. For further details please contact Jamelle Ming, cell phone 337-1415 and e-mail mingmambo[AT]bermuda.com

Sultry salsa: Members of the Ming Mambo dance troupe performed at the CableVision Salute to Service evening earlier in the year.
Feeling the music: Khaleb Tota, Ashanti Hart, Kaelin Cox, Mikayla Wilson, Emmanuel Smith and Malaysia De Rosa performed at the New York Salsa Congress in September 2011.

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Published March 01, 2012 at 1:00 am (Updated March 01, 2012 at 7:39 am)

Salsa dancers have glitzy LA in their sights

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