Salsa Sunday | 4

Ana and Joel Masacote, Masacote Entertainment
Wil and I love dancing together. When we’re on the dance floor, our movements replace spoken language as an expression of our love for each other. I know where he wants me and I trust him to put me there safely. He leads, I follow, but he also knows when I need to break free of his hold and take charge of our routine. We feed off of each other’s energy and respond to one another in a way that only lovers can.

This dance is our life and love in motion. I don’t doubt that our marriage will follow the same pattern because others before us, like Joel and Ana Masacote of Masacote Salsa Dance Company, have already proven that while tough, this choreography makes for a beautiful performance.

I was able to catch up with Ana Masacote between her 435092837450 scheduled salsa engagements for this month and grill her about the relationship between her and her Love Cub, Joel (here’s a shocker: we talked a little bit about salsa, too). Read on, folks…this is a salsa love story for the ages.

Me: How did you meet your husband?

Ana: I met Joel at a dance social in New York. I was living in Boston and he was living in California. We both happened to be visiting New York for a social one weekend and there we met. I tried to dance all my best moves to get his attention until finally I gave up and just asked him! Afterwards, we exchanged numbers and had a long distance relationship for a year and a half.

Joel's proposal to Ana.
Me: When did he ask you to marry him?

Ana: After a year of dating. He was about to move to Japan for a year through the military and they gave him a month of leave, which he spent visiting me in Boston. He'd been planning the proposal for six months and even had Victor and Burju of Hacha Y Machete in on it. He'd sent them the ring and planned the whole proposal ahead of time. He told me we were going to listen to a jazz band perform and then acted like he was asking the band leader to sit in with them on the piano. He played a song with them and when they were done, he dedicated the song to me and proposed, after which, all my friends popped up from the shadows. I had no idea!

Me: What song did you dance to at your wedding? 

Ana: We didn't have a typical church and party wedding. Nine days after he proposed, we decided to get married through the court. Because my family could not make it to Boston on such short notice, we decided that we would not let his family or any friends come either. It was just Joel and me and that was all we needed. We figured we would have a church wedding later, but haven't really done anything to this day.

That evening, we had a big group dinner with friends and then he left the next day to Japan for a year. Talk about the worst honeymoon ever! I took a semester off from school six months later though and went to stay with him in Japan the last half a year.  
Me: When did you decide to go into business together?

Ana: The week we met. We were in a long distance relationship, so we spent the first year and a half of our relationship just talking on the phone for hours on end and racking up some MAJOR phone bills! During our conversations the first week, we talked about what we liked, what we loved and what we dreamed of.

Joel loved music and dance, I loved dance and we both loved artistic imagery. We are both creative beings and felt that together, we could create a company that merged music and dance into an artistic expression. So, in the first week, we decided we would start a business together and in the first month, we laid out everything we dreamed the company would do.

The funny part is that I didn't want to partner with Joel in dance. I had always heard horror stories of couples partnering together, so I was totally against the idea at first. Joel convinced me though and here we are today.

Me: How do you separate your personal and professional lives?

Ana: The truth is that they often coincide; it's tough to separate them. As the business has grown, this becomes harder and harder to do. I would be lying if I said it's been all sunny days. We've had our share of rainy days and disagreements, but in the end, we learn that there is always a rainbow looming in the horizon.

When you're self-employed in such a volatile industry, you are pretty much working 24/7 to make sure things run smoothly (here I am answering these questions at 4am!). It took us seven years to go on our first vacation, but it was the best thing ever! Now, we try to take days off, go on dates, take vacations more often and take breaks from teaching. We are also at a point in our lives where we can pick and choose where we go.

It's still a learning process and I won't say we have fully succeeded in doing this, but then, what is a relationship without its ups and downs? At the end of the day, we love each other and that is what matters most.

Me: Do you always travel together? If not, how do you handle the distance and time apart?

Ana: There was a time when we did travel together quite a bit, but we’ve taken more work apart the last couple years. We also go on short vacation trips away from each other-I'll visit my family in Texas or Joel will go golfing with friends in Florida. We have actually grown fond of this distance and time away from each other. It reminds us that we miss one another.

Remember that we had a long distance relationship for 1-1/2 years! We would visit each other every 6-8 weeks and the last 6 months were spent completely apart with only a phone to connect us. When we met up in person, we made the most of that time.

Now, we notice we take each other for granted more when we are together for longer periods of time. I can't really ask him, "How was your day, sweetie?" because I already know! Now that Joel is back in school, I can do that from time to time, so that I definitely enjoy. Also, when you are constantly working with your partner, you can often irritate each other over little things. Because of this, we like having a little time away from each other to remind ourselves why we like to be around one another.

Me: What is it like dancing with your husband?

Ana: When we are both feeling the music, it's poetry in motion. There's a connection to the music I rarely feel with others. I also feel like we are in our own little bubble. I know exactly what he wants and he knows exactly what I want. When we're really connected, we finish each other's dance sentences.

Me: What is your favorite thing about dancing with Joel?

Ana: His connection to the music. So many people are set on doing pattern after pattern after pattern these days that it feels like you're running around the dance floor to keep up with them. With Joel, I can build with the music and react to it. It feels like I'm telling the story of the music through my dancing. I can just groove.

Me: How do you think dancing keeps you together?

Ana: We met through dancing, but it's not really the dancing that brought us together or keeps us there. It's our love for the music that keeps us connected. Because we appreciate the music, we can appreciate it's beauty together and through it, we can appreciate each other. He's the yin to my yang.

Cheers to them! We wish Ana and Joel 293487502395 years of love, health and happiness. If you live in the Boston area (or happen to stop into any of the world’s 92348750 salsa congresses/festivals), make sure you check out Masacote Salsa Dance Company. At their school in Cambridge, MA, salsa classes are available for students of all ages and levels. Please visit the Masacote website for further details.

Masacote Salsa Dance Company, Cambridge, MA
Well, it wouldn’t be a true installation of Salsa Sunday without a video of Ana and Joel social dancing! Because of their busy schedule, they weren’t able to record a video of themselves at home, but Ana dug through 520394857230 YouTube videos to find her favorite one.

I hope you guys enjoy watching Ana and Joel social dancing to "Salsa Buena" (1979) by Frankie Ruiz at the 2005 Canada Salsa Congress. Remember, if you are part of a “real-life” salsa couple and would like to be featured on Salsa Sunday, give me a shout.


SunSilkSoy said... May 22, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Omg what a beautiful story! Good job Daniella!! This actually makes me feel a whole lot better as my sweetheart, who I met through salsa, is on a military base in Germany right now. He has been gone a few weeks & might be gone for months :( But before I know it, we'll be finishing each others sentences and bugging each other again. It's a strangely comforting thought right now, lol. Well here's to Ana & Joel, salsa love, and rainbows looming in the horizon :)

Anonymous said... May 23, 2011 at 12:52 PM

I LOVED this whole interview and that is one of my favorite clips to. Ana and Joel are such beautifully spirited people (inside and out) with big hearts and a love that shows to all who come in contact with them. They are some of my favorites to know :-)!

Erika S.

Carol said... May 23, 2011 at 11:46 PM

Great interview! Keep 'em coming!

Monique Massicot-Santos said... April 30, 2012 at 8:28 AM

I love this story!!!! Joel is my brother and when he introduced Anna to our family everyone loved her. They are inseperable in love,music and dance. Watching both of them on the dance floor, you can sure feel the love and support they have for each other. Our mom, our sisters and I visisted them about 3-4 weeks ago in Florida for the Hustle and Salsa competition and it was great being able to see them dance and also being able to spend a little family quality time. I love them both!!!!!!!! Keep up the GREAT work bro and sis!!!!!!

Monique Massicot-Santos

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