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San Francisco Intl Dance Festival is 15

Written by Maya Salsaloca

Wow, hard to believe it’s been 15 years since we lost our main salsagangster, our creator of a long lived and long-enjoyed salsagang (who remembers it now?)

Salsagang was created by Rodney, but gave birth to Rodchata who switched not only his allegiance but even his name and all but disappeared from the SF salsa scene…Personally, I’ll never get over losing salsalgang and his betrayal, but…oh well…who can blame success? And success he did achieve. With bachata. All this time. 15 years. How, you would ask? Partially, by stealing salseros…

So this time, instead of raving over his festival attracting luminaries and dancers from all over the world, lets find out the roots of its founder I bet you never knew. So let’s get started.

This is what he looked like in his good old salsa hey days 24 years ago – cute, ain’t he? (Can you believe he’s that old?!)

Rodik, as I lovingly call him to this day, was shy, quiet and mostly silent – too shy to dance with strangers. So he had a brilliant idea to create a group of beginners, by invitation, christened Salsagang, so we could dance with each other and socialize in clubs – just what beginners need! Over time our group extended, we got better and Rodik got another brilliant idea – a website forum (in late 1990s!) so our gang moved online with all the attributes of a successful salsa social media forum – with its news, its lists and its jabs! We arrived!

But, it was not enough for calm-in-the-quiet-waters Rodik. So he became a businessman – just look at him projecting confidence and charm!

Soon after it was a death sentence for salsagang: Rodik discovered bachata. And as we say, the rest is history…You think the transition was easy? Ha, look at this!

Salsa was calling back, but he persevered and even got himself listed as one of the best bachateros

But wait, there is something you don’t know about this salsa traitor’s other secret life. Who knew?! I did not – not surprising from a businessman who keeps to himself (at least as I remember him) How can he be so successful? Beats me…

Tickled your curiosity? You can try catching this elusive mogul at his next SF festival coming up next weekend at, but don’t try locating him by these old photos. He now looks like this!


DIP (Dance-in-Peace)

Maya Salsaloca

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