Celebrate Six Years with Yes Dance!

The Party

Mark your calendar for Saturday (Jan 26, 2019). Celebrate six years of Yes Dance—building community, where social dancing without alcohol is the new norm. Enjoy dance instruction throughout the day. Social dance with DJ Charlie from 9:30 pm to 2 am. Door prizes, dance performances by Yes Dance Fusion (Steven Matsumura’s team) and Yes Dance Global (led by Jayven Colon), cake, and a photo both. Cost is $10 for members and $15 for nonmembers. Become a member. Don’t miss our celebration of you—the Yes Dance community.

First Move: When Monica Met Victor

Back where it all started at Anyi Gallery six years ago (2013), Yes Dance founder Monica Dabos and first instructor Victor Contreras share a dip.

Monica Dabos and Victor Contreras were both regulars at a salsa social dance in Goleta. As soon as Monica danced with Victor, she knew he had rhythm. At the time, he was teaching himself to dance by studying YouTube videos. Every week, he’d have a new move. And he’d work on it until he was able to lead it. 

How did 4 dancers grow to a community of 2,300+ in six years? It’s a story about the tenacious pursuit of a vision. It’s a story about how that vision was based on a radically different idea—alcohol free dancing and socializing. It’s a story about how a community formed and supported each other and the vision time and time again. But first, it’s a story about two dancers meeting.

Monica had a vision—a studio where anyone could learn and enjoy dancing alcohol free. Now that vision included Victor. His patience, that he judged his knowledge by her ability to follow his lead, and his joy made him the perfect person to start the studio with. So she asked if you would join her and teach a class. He said sure, pretty sure she wouldn’t follow through.

But she did. Two locations later, the four original students have flourished into a 2,300+-member community, dancing seven days a week at the Paseo Nuevo studio. The anniversary party is a celebration of the countless ways the community has stepped up over the past six years to keep the Yes Dance vision going and to support each other. 

The Highs and the Lows

Dancers of all ages enjoy Dancing under the Stars in the courtyard near the Yes Dance Paseo Nuevo Studio.

Monica easily lists the highs. What’s she most proud of? “The amount of people we serve.” Her favorite moments looking back?  “When entire families come and dance together. When I see teens dancing with their grandparents, it melts my heart,” she says. “And I know I’m doing something right.” She gets the same feeling when it’s 2 am and she look around and sees young people dancing and having a good time without alcohol.

That was the part she thought would be difficult—getting people excited about building a community around the alcohol-free concept. But it hasn’t been. The rapid, enthusiastic growth of the community rallying around the vision has blown her away.It’s what has kept her going through the lows, too. They’re been a few—mostly financial. (Those who know her will tell you that’s, in part, attributable to her generosity.) Another challenge has been ensuring the mission comes first and all the moving administrative parts are dancing to the same tune, so to speak.

New Moves: Vision for the Next Six Years

Monica wouldn’t be Monica if she didn’t have a plan. “I want a bigger space. I want live music, karaoke nights, hangouts, multiple dance floors, a patio,” Monica says. “My vision hasn’t changed. It keeps going … slowly.”

Monica’s slow is others’ high speed. She has a specific plan in mind for the next big move. Just as Victor skillfully led his partners through each new move he learned, Monica has skillfully guided each new move for Yes Dance Stay tuned for the big reveal next month.

Three of the many group photos of Yes Dance (top left) at Anyi Gallery, circa 2014; (right) Veteran’s Center, 2017; (bottom) the Paseo Nuevo studio, 2018.

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