Former baseball player wants to bring the salsa scene to Queens
New York, NY, January 18, 2009 – Rodrigo Bellony, 50, a former baseball player with the Yankees Farm System, recently opened a Latin and Afro-Cuban dance studio in Queens. At the studio, which held its first day of classes on January 6th, Bellony and instructors Janice Sinkler-Daste and Ilse Mohamed teach salsa, merengue, cha cha cha, bachata and Afro-Cuban dances. Bellony’s goal is to establish a vibrant Latin dance community in the Greater Jamaica, Queens area. Bellony explains, “I do this not only because I love salsa, but because there is a need in this community to have more resources, especially because the Hispanic population in this area is growing. This dance is not only for Hispanics though. It’s for everybody.”
While growing up in the Dominican Republic, Bellony took easily to activities like baseball and dancing. From 1976-1978, he was an infielder for the Yankees Farm System but left after injuring his shoulder. After leaving the Yankees, he played baseball in the Dominican Republic. Throughout this time, Bellony continued dancing and eventually decided to take his love of dance to another level. In 1990, having returned to New York, he began teaching dance classes and is credited with starting a few after-school salsa programs around New York City. With Mohamed, he also produced a series of dance socials which they named “Salsa in Jamaica.”
Bellony has found many ways to express his love of baseball, dance and community. He coaches a little league baseball team in Laurelton, where he encourages young boys, aged 10 to 13 years, to learn the fundamentals of the game. He also teaches the little leaguers the basics of salsa, merengue and bachata. Bellony, Sinkler-Daste and Mohamed also dedicate some of their time to charitable causes such as performing for the Boy’s Club of New York, Carlito’s Wish Foundation and the National World Aids Society. Mohamed feels that learning salsa builds a sense of camaraderie because, “Salsa has no race, no color. It’s a dance that just makes everyone feel good.” Sinkler-Daste, a native of New Orleans, agrees, “When I hear that music, I just don’t know how anyone can sit still.”
At Rodrigo Dance Studio, lessons are $10 per hour. There is also a Recession Package of 10 one hour lessons for $75. Private lessons are $25 per hour and private couples’ lessons are $40 per hour. The studio is open Monday through Friday from 6PM-9PM and Saturday and Sunday from 10AM-6PM. For more information, please visit www.RodrigoDanceStudio.com or call (646) 209-3173.
Rodrigo Bellony opened Rodrigo Dance Studio in December 2008, with the mission of adding to the rich cultural heritage of Greater Jamaica by providing low cost Latin and Afro-Cuban dance classes and dance socials.
133-15 223 Street
Laurelton, New York 11413