Salsa Sunday | 8

Meet Joel and Maria.
I “met” Joel before I had moved from Philadelphia to New York City through Facebook. I was kept up to date with all of his classes and socials, even though I knew I was never going to make it to any of his events; never say never, right?

Once I made the move up to The Big Apple, I finally met Joel in the flesh and we enjoyed a wonderful first dance at the Abakua social. It wasn’t too long after that that I met his lovely girlfriend, Maria. As I saw them out together more often, my curiosity about their relationship grew. Here’s their story.

I first met Joel when he filled in for my salsa instructor for a group class. I was a little ticked at first that it wasn’t my usual teacher (I was very used to his style and technique), but as Joel started the class, something really turned all my attention on him. I had never seen someone with so much passion for what he does…he was so concerned about whether or not we understood his lesson. I said to myself, “This guy is a Salsa Guru!”

Needless to say, I had the best class…despite the fact that my loose cotton pants fell down a bit, exposing my underwear (I can’t believe I’m even admitting this part)! Joel, being the gentleman he is, discreetly pulled them up when it was my turn to dance with him. For some reason, I will never forget that day!

After the class, I complimented him on being such a great teacher and thanked him for the class. We spoke for a little bit and went our separate ways.

A few days later, Joel sent me a Facebook friend request in SPANISH! My only response was, “Sorry, I do not speak Spanish. I am Italiana.” We joked back and forth a little bit, spoke about where we go out dancing and that was it. I started to see him out at salsa clubs/socials and sometimes at the salsa studio I was still going to.

At the time, I had just gotten out of a relationship and wasn’t even thinking of starting a new one; however, every time I ran into him, I always had a big smile on my face. He was such a warm person and that made me very happy to be around him.

It was obvious that we liked each other. We were always laughing as we were dancing, flirting and just enjoying each other’s company. People started commenting and kept asking me what was going on between us. My response every time was “We are just friends,” which was the absolute truth at the time.

We eventually exchanged numbers and started hanging out more even outside the salsa scene. We became closer and closer (as friends) each time we hung out. We would go for long walks and share our thoughts and feelings about dancing, family and life. We both had a lot of the same goals and perspective on life. It was crazy to me.

One day in the subway station on the way to Taj, Joel leaned in and kissed me. My heart fell, I have to say. After that, he said he wasn’t going to go to the club because he had work to do at home and left. Not your typical love story ending, eh?

He texted me while I was in the club and told me how much he liked me…and I couldn’t stop thinking about him the whole time I was there. We hung out the next day and even spent that whole weekend together. It was pretty magical as cheesy as that sounds! Ever since then, we have been together…more than friends this time!

We moved in together eight months after we were officially a couple. Some people may think that’s fast, but I knew he was The One-The One I wanted to spend my time with, The One I wanted to share my thoughts with and even The One I wanted to start a business with.

Here we are today, running a school together and having the best times of our lives. Don’t get me wrong, it can be tough some days, but when you have the strength and connection between the two of you, you can conquer anything. You just have to believe.

Still to this day, even between work and teaching, we go out dancing to our favorite spots as much as we can. We feel truly grateful we have that connection between us and can share our love and passion with each other while having an absolute blast on the dance floor!

Sometimes when we are both home cleaning the apartment or whatnot, we blast salsa and take a dance intermission on the living room floor. We dance, sweat, laugh and then go back to cleaning…which is why I was thrilled when Danielle asked us to be featured on her blog! All in all, I couldn’t ask for a better boyfriend, friend, dance partner, business and life partner.

Beautiful couple, beautiful dancers. To find out where Joel and Maria are teaching, please visit You can also follow Joel on Twitter to stay up to date with all his salsa events, including La Vieja Guardia. If you're a salsa dancer and happen to be in New York City the second of fourth Sunday of the month, you MUST go to this social!

Joel and Maria were able to record for us before one of their group classes; I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Again, if you are part of a "real life" salsa couple and would like to be featured on Salsa Sunday, contact me.

1 comment

wilfredo Rivera said... June 20, 2011 at 8:50 PM

Great story and awesome dancing guys! One of these days, we have to check Joel's class.

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