We are located in Santa Cruz, California, serving the community since 2001. Chris & Jessica founded ‘Salsa Gente‘ in Habana, Cuba, in 2011 while on one of their dance and music study trips.
Before that, from 2001 to 2011, they taught and performed as “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz” (see more below).
The mission of Salsa Gente is to promote the joy and excitement of Cuban dance and music and it’s Afro-Cuban roots to all people. We teach Cuban-style dances (such as Salsa Suelta, Casino partnering, and Rueda de Casino) from Beginners to Advanced and regularly invite Cuban teachers for Cuban dance workshops (such as Afro-Cuban Rumba, and Orisha). We strive to be authentic but also fun.
We frequently study dance and music with renowned teachers in Cuba (Habana and Santiago de Cuba) and in the USA. See more in our bios below. Our inspiration comes mainly from Cuba, and also from our travels, nationwide and worldwide, to countries such as Russia, Germany, China, Japan, Mexico, and Singapore. We are fluent in English, Spanish and German.
‘Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz’
In the past, from 2001 to 2011 we served the community as “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz” offering Rueda de Casino classes. After 10 years we ceased operation of “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz” and in 2011 created “Salsa Gente” (Salsa People). Over these 10 years, “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz”’ grew and maintained the Rueda scene in the entire Monterey Bay area. Because of “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz” the “Salsa Rueda” community in Santa Cruz and Monterey Bay area grew to hundreds enjoying 8 classes per week. In that time ‘Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz’ supported community events with over 95 performances. Major awards and recognitions include: 2002 WE Carnival parade, 2004 Calabash Award,and a 2005 Community TV show dedicated to “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz”. Former students and teachers split off and created their own Salsa Rueda venues.
Bios of the Team
Jessica co-founded ‘Salsa Gente’ with Chris inspired by one of their trips to Habana, Cuba in 2011.
She has over 25 years of dance experience. She studied ballet for 16 years, and performed professionally with the Harbor City Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Nashville Ballet in the US.
Jessica started to dance with “Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz” (SRSC) in Santa Cruz, California in 2003, and soon became a team leader and choreographer for over 40 performances. She has enjoyed dancing Rueda de Casino in Miami (Henry Herrera), Russia (Moscow), China (Beijing, Shanghai), Japan (Tokyo), Singapore and many places in Germany.
Her studies include renowned teachers such as Isaias Rojas Ramirez from BanRarra in Habana (Cuba), Luis “Titi” Guzman in Habana (Cuba) and Yanek Revilla and Karelia Despaigne from Santiago de Cuba. She also studied folklorico with Milagros Ramirez Gonzales at the teatro de la Danza del Caribe in Santiago de Cuba and Daisy Hernandez in Habana (Cuba).
In the US her studies include teachers such as Ramon Ramos Alayo of Alayo Dance Company in San Francisco (Afro-Cuban folkloric, popular and modern dance), Royland Lobato in San Francisco and Berkeley/California, and Nick and Serena from Salsa Vale Todo in San Francisco/Berkeley, California.
After her ballet dance career, she became a nurse practitioner in women’s health. Since 1992 she has also been a certified group exercise instructor (AFAA). She has taught step spinning for over 20 years at 24 Hour Fitness Club in Santa Cruz, California.
Jessica holds two Master degrees in Humanities from Johns Hopkins University, and a Masters in Nursing from Vanderbilt University.
Chris, Christian Gregor Dieseldorff, co-founded “Salsa Gente” while in Habana, Cuba, in 2011 but began to dance Cuban-style Salsa in 1999 in Santa Cruz, California. He continuously studies with renowned teachers in the US and in Cuba. These teachers include in Cuba Isaias Rojas Ramirez from BanRarra in Habana, Luis “Titi” Guzman in Habana, and Yanek Revilla and Karelia Despaigne from Santiago de Cuba. He also studied folklorico with Milagros Ramirez Gonzales at the teatro de la Danza del Caribe in Santiago de Cuba and Daisy Hernandez in Habana.
In the US his studies include teachers such as Ramon Ramos Alayo of Alayo Dance Company in San Francisco, Royland Lobato in San Francisco and Berkeley/California, Jose Francisco Barroso in Oakland/California, Jose Cheo Rojas Ramirez, and Nick and Serena from Salsa Vale Todo in San Francisco/Berkeley, California.
Chris loves to travel around the world and experience Cuban-style Salsa from others such as in the US such as Miami (Henry Herrera), Russia (Moscow), China (Beijing, Shanghai), Japan (Tokyo), Singapore and many places in Germany.
In 2001 he co-founded award-winning ‘Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz’ (SRSC) in Santa Cruz, California which he managed for 10 years with over 95 performances. The awards include 2002 WE Carnival Parade and the 2004 Calabash Award by the Santa Cruz Ethnic Arts Network. In 2005 Community TV aired a special feature about ‘Salsa Rueda Santa Cruz’.
After 10 years Chris founded with Jessica ‘Salsa Gente’ inspired by one of their trips to Habana, Cuba in 2011. ‘Salsa Gente’ promotes Cuban-style dance and music and offers Cuban style dancing such as Suelta, Casino partnering, Rueda de Casino and Afro-Cuban dance workshops with Cuban teachers.
Chris grew up with an affinity to Latin culture and music. His grandmother was born in South America and he has family in Guatemala (Dieseldorff Kaffee near Coban) and Peru (Lima). He grew up listening to Bolero, Mambo and ChaChaCha and Afro-Peruvian music. He came to the United States in 1990 working as engineer for a technology company upstate New York. Since 2002 he works as industry analyst for the computer chip industry at an international trade organization in Silicon Valley, California.
Images from Cuba and with friends
|with Royland Lobato at Cuba camp||with Maiensy Sanchez|
|Studying dance in Habana Cuba||Learning Rumba and Orisha with Daisy Hernandez|
|Studying dance at the teatro Heredia in Santiago de Cuba||Learning Rumba and Orisha with Milagros Ramirez Gonzalez in Santiago de Cuba|
|Chris with Cesar “Pupy” Pedroso in Habana||Chris & Jessica with “Raspa” Eugenio Rodriguez of Septeto Nacional in Habana|
|Chris & Jessica with Yanek and Karelia in Habana||Chris & Jessica with Isaias Rojas from BanRarra|
|Chris & Jessica with “Titi” Luis, his wife Yllanis and friends at the casa de la musica in Habana|
Images from some of our world travel
|Chris & Jessica with Yanek Revilla
and Karelia Despaigne (Zhuk) in Habana, Cuba in 2011
|Dance study group
in Habana, Cuba in 2011
|With Henry Herrera in Miami||Chris with Billy Fajardo in Miami|
|Jessica with Ramani Nicola in Miami||Chris and Jessica with Karen and Jeffrey
from Eugene, Oregon
|Chris with Yoshiyuki Sakuma in Tokyo,
Japan in 2009
|Chris and Jessica with group “Miami Rueda”
in Tokyo, Japan
|With Rueda group “Girasoles”
in Stuttgart Germany in 2007
|Rueda in Shanghai, China in 2006|
|Jessica in front of Karma in Moscow
Russia in 2008
|Dancing Casino on the Great Wall of Chinal
near Beijing, China in 2006
|With Jackson and June of JJSalsaRengue
in Singapore in April 2012