Unified On2 Congress; The new latin-dance congress in Los Angeles

We are excited to announce that we will be filming the 2019 Los Angeles Unified on2 Congress taking place in Orange County, California on March 22-24th, 2019. It’s not often that promoters on West Coast book international talent, so to say we are excited is an understatement.

California deserves festivals that attract both local and international talent. It’s all about providing value to local dancers that aren’t used to experiencing high-caliber talent from abroad.

As an event videographer, it will be very fast-paced and challenging trying to capture all those special moments. We’ve had the pleasure of filming Juan Matos, Rodrigo Cortazar, and Griselle Ponce at past festivals and events.

The hotel is conveniently located to major freeways in the heart of Orange County. It’s about a 15 minute drive to either Newport or Huntington Beach. The festival will have three rooms; a salsa room, bachata room, and brazilian zouk room (where we’ll be DJing as well)

Again, it’s great to see a new event that strives to bring a top-tier lineup along with unifying the local scene. Congratulations to Mario and Jose for making this happen and we can’t wait to produce an awesome recap!

Be a part of this amazing first year festival and get your passes below:

Flyer.jpg

National Lineup

  • Griselle Ponce (New York)

  • Sin City Salseros (Las Vegas, NV)

  • Majesty in Motion (San Diego)

  • MG Dance company (Los Angeles)

  • Omambo Dance Project (Los Angeles)

  • Benny & Brandon Ayala (Portland)

  • David & Carla (Stilo Dance Co Phoenix)

  • Lawrance Garcia (Arizona)

  • Christina Montoya (Los Angeles)

  • Mike Zuñiga (OC)

  • + many more!

International Lineup

  • Rodrigo Cortazar (Mexico/Spain)

  • Bersy Cortez (Venezuela/Spain)

  • Juan Matos (NYC/Milan)

  • Jessica Quiles (PR/Barcelona)

  • Jorge Martinez (Mexico)

  • Maria Catalan (Mexico)

  • Ernesto Lopez (Mexico)

  • Armando Cervantes (Mexico)

Karel Flores @ Unified on2

The Unified on2 Project kicked off 2019 with a bang. Karel Flores flew from NY to teach a fun and challenging workshop. The workshop started with stretching and posture technique followed by a high-energy footwork sequence.

Karel Flores is a professional salsa instructor and choreographer and is originally from Mexico City. She is one of the biggest names in the scene and currently resides in New York.

We had a blast filming Karel and she was definitely a fan of our shiba inu - Nana. The last time we filmed her was at the 2016 LABKS Festival. Hope to see you again soon Karel!

Unified.jpg

Interview: Luis Aragon

Luis Aragon Final.jpg

Luis Aragon is the director, founder and choreographer of Aragon Dance.

Luis Aragon is one of the most well-known instructors, DJs, and promoters in Orange County. He has been dancing for over 10 years and has trained in many styles of dances. With hard work and determination he has established himself as one of the best instructors in all Orange County area

How did you get started in the dance scene?

Like most guys, over a girl(chuckles). I was raised LDS (Church of Latter Day Saints) aka Mormon, and one of the activities was taking a salsa class. I was immediately attracted to the teacher’s assistant and I remember I told myself I had to learn this dance. The learning process was slow and I remember trying to find more classes but I couldn’t. For me, it was all new, I really wanted to learn more. One of my first outings was to JC Fandango, which was a really popular place at the time. I remember going and everyone was dressed up, the live music was great, and the atmosphere was cool. It was at that moment that I really knew I wanted to dance.

Tapas recently closed in 2017 but has always been a well known dance location in Orange County. Tell me about what it was like promoting there.

Tapas, Stevens, Granada - are/were the main three clubs that have been open for many years. Tapas was 21 and over and has always attracted an older crowd. It was hood. I think people don’t understand- as our dance communities develop and the level of dancing improves, many kids are growing up as young athletes. At the end of the day, the dance is the people’s dance, it’s a street dance, it’s hood.

What are some things you learned as a promoter?

Promoting is ruthless. I didn’t have a teacher or mentor so I learned as I was going. As a promoter, you think that you’re selling the dance or venue - but, in reality, you’re selling yourself, people go because of you. If people don’t like you, they’ll go out of their way to not go to your venue. As a teacher, you focus on your students. Becoming a promoter, you need to think “how do I get people in these doors.” It’s not always about the music or venue.

It’s the small things like walking around and introducing yourself to everyone. I try to be personable with everyone and give time to getting to know new students. At the end of the day people just want to be acknowledged.

You’re pretty busy as a promoter, why do you go out and social dance on your time off?

I go out because I want to see what other promoters are doing. Are they doing something new, or something relative that I can apply? As well as the DJs - what are they playing? Are they playing something new and am I thinking “wow, that was a dope song.” It’s good to keep up with trends. Sometimes it’s nice to go out, chill, and enjoy the music.

Describe a typical day.

So usually I get home around 2-4 AM. When I do events, I’m there until 4 to take everything down, put it in my car, unload it, and get to bed by 5. I wake up around 10 AM, so about 5 hours of sleep. I’m always working on flyers, downloading music, and organizing events. Being both, a salsa and bachata DJ/promoter keeps me very busy. I’m constantly looking for new music and going to vinyl shops.

Do you plan on throwing your own festival?

It’s been on my mind, but the market is so saturated and I feel like every festival is the same. I think the Brazilian Zouk festivals are doing the best in thinking outside the box. They manage their budgets well and bring great talent abroad. I like seeing non-salsa/bachata festivals that are doing things differently.

I think Reno is a prime example of when you have a great team in place for years. There are no hiccups or issues because they have everything in place. They have 10 plus years of experience.

Have you thought about producing?

I recently downloaded Ableton but I have so many projects going on that I haven’t had time to try it out. When I’m ready I’ll find someone to teach me. Producing is a whole different level. You got to learn you instruments, your keys.. I think at the end of the day, song selection is the most important. You can produce your own music, have the best transitions, but if you can’t read your crowd- it doesn’t matter.

What’s one thing we don’t know about you?

I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12. I try to stay 60/70% vegan. I also love quantum physics and listen to a podcast by Neil DeGrasse called StarTalk. I’m also a big outdoors person. I’ve done most big parks and enjoy backpacking.


Luis Aragon currently promotes LTN Tuesdays at EnVy Lounge in Newport Beach. The main room is salsa and bachata 50/50, while the patio has Brazilian Zouk. For more information, visit his website: www.laidance.com or follow him on Instagram - @ocsalsabachata

3 Best Places to Dance Salsa and Bachata in Los Angeles in 2019

This post is for salsa and bachata dancers visiting LA for a short time.  If you’re a local, there are multiple events going on every evening and new events popping up every month. These are three spots that haven’t changed for years.

Steven’s Steakhouse This is the best place to dance bachata, period.  Sometimes I have better times social dancing here than at many festivals.  The surrounding neighborhood is sketchy, but I’ve never had any issues.  Just valet or Uber here if you’re worried.  They also have salsa in the smaller room which isn’t too bad either.  The sound system and DJs are always on point.  The best days to come are Sundays and Wednesdays.

Dance: Bachata

Best Night: Sunday & Wednesday

Level of Dancing: 9/10

Stevens Blog.jpg

El Floridita - If you ask local dancers about this place, many won’t have a clue about it.  It’s located in the heart of Hollywood and has been around for 30+ years.  It’s a small Cuban restaurant that serves awesome mojitos.  They are known for their Mondays when they have a full live band.  The live music is incredible and creates an experience you won’t find anywhere else.  It may be hard to dance because it’s so crowded, but try to come early and stay late if you’re looking for good dances.  Come here for the experience, not the dancing.  It’s such a unique place, you won’t be disappointed.  El Floridita is also open on Friday and Saturdays and is usually not as crowded.

Dance: Salsa

Best Night: Monday

Level of Dancing: 6/10

El floridita Blog.jpg

Unified on2 Project - This once-a-month social is hosted by DJ Mayimbe in the heart of Orange County which is located about 35 minutes south of downtown Los Angeles.  This social offers salsa, bachata, and brazilian zouk.  The bachata and salsa rooms are always packed and really fun.  The social dancing goes late until 5 am.  DJ Mayimbe always has the best music in all three rooms that will keep you going until the end. If you’re in town to visit the social, this is definitely not an event to miss as you can expect great dances in all 3 rooms.

Dance: Salsa & Bachata

Best Night: Once a month

Level of Dancing: 9/10

Unified+on2+Project.jpg

If you have any questions about these locations or want other tips, shoot us a message and we’ll respond. This purely our opinion after having been social dancing all throughout the Los Angeles area for the past 10 years.

Eddie Torres Jr. @ Unified on2 Project

It’s always a pleasure filming the Unified on2 Social, held by Mario Gatica once-a-month in Orange County, California. He always bring top national and international talent from the salsa scene. During the day, he hosts a number of workshops and at night, the dancing doesn’t stop until 4 AM. This was the 3rd year celebration of the event and no better than to bring the one and only Eddie Torres Jr. to teach a 4-hour choreo bootcamp.

In the past, we’ve filmed artists like Amneris Martinez, Marco Ferrigno, Juan Matos, and Luis Ernesto.

The next event will be on January 26th, 2019 with Karel Flores. Hope to see you all saleseros, bachateros, and zoukeiros there!

****UPDATE**** - January 17th, 2019

The video below has almost 500K. Below are some reasons why this video has gone viral and done so well on Facebook on Instagram (almost 5k views).

  1. Content - Clearly the dancing, energy, passion, and facial expressions says it all. SBKZ Media asked Eddie and two other couples to perform this just for fun at the end of class (we were really tight on time).

  2. Distribution - We posted it using a certain aspect ratio and text to enable it to go viral on FB’s algorithms.

  3. Quality - This isn’t handheld cell phone footage. It’s good quality video with amazing content. This video isn’t going anywhere and will hopefully one day hit 1 million views.