For The Love of Salsa Dancing


For The Love of Salsa Dancing

Salsa music entered the mainstream in the late 1980s and by the 1990s, thousands of fans outside of Latin communities caused a salsa explosion throughout the United States. Salsa dance fever ensnared  Israel and Rosie Coronado, the owners of Sabor Vallero Latin Dance Company, who recently celebrated the tenth anniversary of teaching and promoting salsa throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

Sabor Vallero owners Rosie and Israel Coronada and omar Oropeza and dancer Lizzy de la Garza celebrated the company’s 10th anniversary with a performance at the RGV Salsa Heat Wave. (Che Ibarra photo)

“Salsa can really get in your blood,” said Israel Coronado, who first heard it at a local Latin dance hall with a Puerto Rican friend. “When I saw how salsa was danced, I was blown away.  I knew then I had to learn how to dance.”  Rosie was already dancing cumbias, when in 1988 in San Antonio, she watched a couple dancing to the salsa beat. The variety of synchronized moves, the togetherness and the sexiness of salsa captivated her. “Cumbia has very limited steps, and couples don’t really dance together,” she said.

The love of salsa music brought Rosie and Israel together. “I met Rosie at a local salsa club, and asked if she could teach me how to dance. She agreed and gave me her phone number which I lost, so I never called,” said Israel. They found each other again when Rosie was scouting for a dance partner to participate in a dance competition. Israel accepted her invitation and became her student. “’Forget everything you know and let’s start from scratch’, I said to him.  He has been my best student so far,” said Rosie, with a loving glance at her husband.

Once they began dancing together, they knew they wanted to promote salsa.  They formed Sabor Vallero Dance Company, which loosely translates to the Flavor of the Valley. In the beginning, their love for salsa led them to perform for free. Sometimes they obtained financial support from local businesses as they persevered to promote Latin music and dance.

Today they are considered the best dance company in the Rio Grande Valley by the dance fans who flock to weekly dance lessons they offer in Brownsville, Harlingen, Mission and Weslaco. “We do not have a single studio because we do not want to limit ourselves,” said Israel. “We want to have a presence in every Valley city.”  Private lessons are also available.

Sabor Vallero’s lessons are not limited to salsa dance, but extend to a variety of Latin rhythms. Mambo, merengue, bachata and even cha-cha-cha are part of their repertoire. Lessons are not limited to any age group either. “We’ve had four-year-old students all the way up to an enthusiastic 92-year-old dancer,” both said.

The Coronados are talented dancers as well as compatible business partners. Rosie is the administrator and marketing person, while Israel is the creative director and choreographer. They have performed in the United States, Mexico and in Puerto Rica where their Matrix-inspired choreography earned them rave reviews in their first appearance.

Between performances and dance lessons, Rosie and Israel married and are the proud parents of two young children, Yahir and Yadiel. Rosie’s second pregnancy was the inspiration for their new DVD series titled Prenatal Latin Dance Volume 1 and 2.

For more of this story by Nydia Tapia-Gonzales, pick up a copy of the January edition of Valley Business Report, on news stands now, or visit the “Current & Past Issues” tab on this Web site.

Freelance writer and blogger, Nydia Tapia-Gonzales enjoys writing about life in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. She has been a contributor to the Valley Business Report for the past 5 years. An avid proponent of the preservation of mid-twentieth-century modern architecture. Tapia-Gonzales is the publisher of two online publications: La Vida Valle; an online magazine about the arts and culture of the Rio Grande Valley and RGVMod; a website dedicated to create awareness and promote the preservation of the midcentury modern architecture of the Valley. Tapia – Gonzales presents as a guest speaker on the subject of midcentury modern historic preservation in the Rio Grande Valley. She is a destination management and tourism professional with 25 years of experience currently serving as the director of South Texas Nature Tourism Marketing Cooperative. A native of Matamoros, Mexico who lives in Harlingen with her husband Lupe Gonzales. Tapia-Gonzales is a board member of Preservation Texas, the Center for Latino-Jewish Relations and the Brownville Community Development Corporation.