Reflection time..2018 was a year of many changes. In the beginning of the year I told myself I could do more, make more and be happier. I didn’t realize that all along I needed to leave a place in order to come back to what would be a different role but what I’ve learned being there in the past is something I appreciate even more because I brought that new knowledge into this job. I also took chances and went to a media/journalism conference in Miami by @hispanicizeevent it was inspiring and put many things into perspective for me and I met some awesome entrepreneurs such as @lejuanjames 🙌🏽 After my conference I came back to some wonderful news that I got the job I’m at now and although I was sad to leave those coworkers who helped me, I was also excited to start a new journey. From covering the international salsa congress and many more…This year I also hit an milestone in my life…my 30th birthday. It’s crazy how much a person can change the way they think…from my 20’s to now I see the world differently and yes sometimes I may still overthink (who doesn’t?) but overall I feel even more humble, conscious and I’m taking more chances in life, scary or not. Life doesn’t wait for you and you shouldn’t either so laugh often, take chances even if it feels scary but also be wise about them. It’s ok to say no and it’s ok to say yes. Learn from your mistakes and move along. To those new friendships I’ve made this year I truly appreciate you all. I’m not going to be “cliché” and say I’m coming into 2019 a new person but I will say is that I’m ready for the new year and whatever else life brings me. Good, bad or neutral that’s just life. 🤷🏻♀️🙃 #happynewyearseve
This year marked the 17th annual Chicago International Salsa Congress and this exciting 4-day event was filled with musicians, performances and dance workshops. The feeling once you step into the salsa congress is like no other. There’s a joy that comes over you and it doesn’t matter if you’re not a dancer because the overall experience is breathtaking. Many come for its sole purpose and that is to enjoy themselves, experience and witness what the event is all about.
As always it never ceases to amaze me on how performers from different states, cities and around the world come together under one roof to showcase their best performances. Passion, creativity, love for music and dance is shared with the crowed. This year in particular there was more of a focus on the youth program and dance. I was stunned to see such young kids go on stage and dance their hearts off. After learning what Rosita Ragin-Alamin, co-founder and producer shared with me, she noted that it is important because these kids go on stage in front of many people and learn to become confident. I could not agree more because if there is something where kids can learn how to feel that poise within them they can conquer anything.
During the day, DJ’s and guest DJ’s play music continuously throughout 3 ballrooms and the main hallway area to keep the energy going. The evening weekend line up featured, JR and his bachata band from New York, Orquesta Guayacan direct from Colombia, La Sonora Ponceña of Puerto Rico and Sunday night closed with the best of the best from the Midwest with an incredible jam session under the direction of Chicago’s own Edwin Sanchez and Angel Rodriguez.
Each year I always look forward to the different workshops held during the day such as, SalsaArobics, Bachata Footwork, Ladies Styling, Mambo Shines, Cuban Salsa, Cha Cha, Brazilan Samba, Afro Mambo, Kizomba, Vogue and the list goes on! The classes are an hour long and usually there is one or two instructors leading the class in each ballroom for different classes. At the end of each workshop session the instructor allows the class to record him/her as they demonstrate the routine one last time. Instructors also offer a one-on-one private dance session.
If you’re interested, then you definitely do not want to miss out on next year’s Chicago International Salsa Congress! February 7 -10, 2019. For more info, click on the link below and visit them!
YK Management Model & Talent Agency took over the main stage at this year’s 2017 Black Women’s Expo held at Chicago’s McCormick Convention Center, April 7-9. Models from the Fashion Agency walked the runway on Friday and Sunday afternoon rocking some of the hottest brands. Founder and creator Yoshimi Kiosha, does it all on her own and preps her models for each fashion show. The 27 year old entrepreneur knew Fashion Management was her dream at the young age of 12.
“At 12 years old I decided to branch off and start my own fashion management. I remember recruiting people when I was young because I always had a passion for it. My Freshmen/Sophomore year of high school I had my own clothing line at school named Geishagirl. I would pick out fabric and my step-dad had a printing shop and helped me out. Through it all my grandmother was my biggest supporter and in 2009, YK Management was established. I eventually want to rent a building and make it a school and agency,” said Yoshimi.
Now Yoshimi takes on events such as, The Black Women’s Expo and her models walk the runway.
After the show, I interviewed a few of the models, make-up artists and hair-stylists on their experience at the fashion show.
One of the newest models to YK Management, 24-year-old Christian Pittman, explained how she was in a previous fashion show and Yoshimi was there recruiting and scouting models. From there, Yoshimi liked what she saw and Christian joined the team. Although, she has been modeling with YK for a little under 2 months, she explained how practicing with the other models has been unbelievable.
“It’s like an adrenaline rush on the runway but fun. We only had about a month to practice before the expo and Yoshmi managed to get all the models ready and organized. Her vision and method helped put everything into perspective,” said Christian.
24-year-old model and veteran Dominique Penn, has been with YK Management for a few months. Since she was a little girl she knew she loved fashion and has been modeling for 8 years.
“I watch fashion shows and I love to express myself with wild and bold colors. Modeling gives me a confidence and I enjoy walking the runway,” said Dominique.
Besides being a model for YK, Dominique has been doing lingerie modeling for about a year for Jewcee Boutique. “I’m trying to do different things and have a variety of pictures,” she said.
Last but not least, 17-year-old model Keyera Jones said her experience at first was nerve-wrecking but after changing and coming back on the runway, those nerves went away and she enjoyed herself.
“It’s a wonderful experience to be with YK Management. Yoshimi scouted me at my very first fashion show I did and now, I’m here,” said Keyera.
Currently a Junior at Simeon High School, the young model wants to pursue Fashion and work in the industry as a stylist and make-up artist but noted her main focus would be modeling.
ABOUT THE GLAM TEAM:
Behind every model there’s a glam team with talented individuals who help put the final pieces together. Each model had their hair, make-up and were styled to promote each brand of clothing line on the runway.
Freelance Make-up artist, Toni Mead said her friend tagged her in a flyer where Yoshimi was looking for make-up artists for the fashion show. Although it was her first time at the Expo she noted it was a great experience.
“I’ve worked with a WNBA player for a spring collection photo-shoot and did a hair show but never the Black Women’s Expo,” said Toni. The make-up artist goes by antigorgeous on Instagram.
Make-up artist, Jessica Patterson has done professional make-up for proms, weddings and now added fashion shows to her list. She also looks forward to attending the Black Women’s Expo next year.
“The energy was fast-paced but exciting and I’m very honored to have done some of the models make-up,” said Jessica. She goes by, _Jesstimeless on Instagram.
Make-up artist, Jasmine Martinez explained how it was interesting being at the expo and noted it was also her first time.
“I have been doing make-up for a year now and it has been very lucrative,” she said. Jasmine goes by Jayevelyn on Instagram
Full-time Hairstylist, Tiffany Shelly said it was also her first time at the Expo and noted it was fast paced but awesome. She explained how she enjoyed doing the models hair and eventually seeks to have her own hair salon.
“I hope to have my own suite and also build a glam team,” said Tiffany. You can find her work on Instagram at Tiffanystylezglamoursly.
The Black Women’s Expo was filled with many talented exhibitors and it was a cultural explosion of fashion, food, health, art and music. You definitely don’t want to miss next year’s event.
This year marked the 16th annual Chicago International Salsa Congress, (CISC). The four-day event took place on Thursday February 9 to Sunday February 12 at the O’Hare Regecy Hyatt. The Salsa Congress is an event where different dancers from all around the world meet to share the same love and passion of dance. The event was full of non-stop excitement and features dance workshops, performances, competitions, vendors and social dancing to the live band and DJ.
Due to the many workshops available during the day I was able to go to a few even though I wish to have done them ALL! My first workshop was Vogue with Instructor Carlos 007 of Latin Rage Dance Company in Los Angeles. The class taught me how to incorporate voguing with salsa moves. Just like Salsa, Carlos explained the importance of moving your body and telling a story through vouging.
“Using pain to create the creativity and to create masterpieces,” said Carlos 007.
Another workshop that I took was Ladies Styling with Blanca Aviles of Latin Rhythms in Chicago. She taught the class how to style your hands, arms, and legs while dancing Salsa. The fluidity of each body gesture is what makes any dance unique. Another important tip I took away from the class is that each movement should come natural when dancing.
“Take the stuff that feels organic to your body,” said Blanca.
A few other workshops that I did was Partner-work on 2 intermediate/advanced with Tamara Livolsi and Tito Ortos and Salsa Turn Patterns on 2 beginner/intermediate with Ernesto and Maritza. Both classes involved practicing with a partner and most importantly having the patience to get the steps right.
“Keep training and discipline whatever you can grab your hands onto,” said Tamara.
Each workshop was tailored to what the instructor teaches and a great way to learn the many different dance styles. Although, some classes were more challenging than others it still gave people an opportuity to step out their comfort zone and learn.
“Never stop learning and have fun,” said Maritza.
And that is exactly what each performance exuded from the afternoon and evening showcases. From the costumes to their facial expression each dance group and or solo dancers gave their all and showed. This year in particular was extra special and emotional for some of the performers because it was their last debut. Ericka Crespo who dances with Urban Vibe Dance Company in Chicago performed her last mambo routine. The group danced to Celia Cruz’s “Caramelo,” and you felt the love and passion that was put into the choreography.
“This was an emotional and bittersweet performance overall. I’m grateful to have been part of the dance world in general and to have a oppportunity to show others the art of dance,” said Ericka.
Another dance company who closed the 16th annual CISC on Sunday night was Gifted Souls who also came to an end as they debuted their “Last Roar,” a Lion King inspired choreography. Director Rocky Quinones of Gifted Souls moves on to become a new father and at the end of their performance a machine exploded with pink and white confetti to reveal the gender of his baby to be, a girl. There was a total of 56 dancers who performed the “Last Roar” the majority being from Gifted Souls and some from other dance companies who auditioned. Overall, the performance was breathtaking and unforgettable.
At the end of every performance each night the Grand Ballroom was cleared in order to have an open space to dance, hence the term “Social Dancing.” Some of the live bands/artists who closed the night were Jimmy Bosh and the All Star Orchestra featuring Yoko, Herman Olivera and Nelson Gonzalez on Tres, La Japonesa Salsera and all the way from Spain Tromboranga Salsa Orchestra.
This year’s Salsa Congress was another success! And I hope to see you at next year’s CISC, until thenDANCE!
What better way to bring in the 16th annual Chicago International Salsa Congress then by hosting a press party just 9 days before with a few sneak peek performances.
On Tuesday January 30 I had the pleasure to attend the press party held at Chicago’s Block 37 inside of the restaurant Latinicity. The evening consisted of music, performances, socializing, appetizers and drinks.
So what exactly is the Chicago International Salsa Congress (CICS)?
The founders Rosita and Saladeen Alamin of Cultural Expressions Productions and the Chicago Intercultural Alliance created a multicultural community through Afro-Latin music and dance. In 2002, both Rosita and Saladeen formed the first CISC.
The goal was not just about having music or dancing but to empower personal awareness, creativity, passion, leadership and inspire. The CISC gives an opportunity for up and coming artists to perform alongside some of the most elite and well-known artists. The event also showcases dance companies from Chicago, other states/city’s and even different countries.
As stated in the Chicago Salsa Congress website their mission is to:
“unite cultures and generation, engender leadership through empowerment opportunities in its showcase and to keep alive the history of the many cultures collaboration in the creation and evolution of Latin and Afro-Caribbean music and dance.”
On February 9 – 12, 2017 the CISC will take place at the O’Hare Hyatt Regency. The non-stop entertainment event will have dance workshops throughout the day and it will include different levels of dancing from Salsa, Bachata, Jazz, Hip-Hop and more. The night performances begin at 7:00p.m. inside of the main ballroom where the different dance companies and solo performers will showcase their finest choreographies followed by a live band for social dancing until 3:00a.m. Outside of the main ballroom there will be a DJ playing music and vendors.
This is definitely an event you don’t want to miss!
Stop what you’re doing and watch this new video entitled Little Lady directed by Jacob Cuevas. The A.S.A Project which stands for “Always Something Awesome,” is a spunky group that gives you both alternative and hip-hop in their music. This new hit is full of energy, love and surely an album you don’t want to miss out on. Make sure to also check out the rest of their upbeat videos on The A.S.A Project (Album) below.
Below you will also find the websites to Heart of the City and Private Stock along with their social media outlets. So if you’re an artist looking for exposure then they are your go to.