Latizmo dance emerges

Emily Andoney, 6, center, showed off her attitude at dance class while she practiced her moves with Sonia Lucatero, 9, left and Israel Alvarez, 8, right.

Hollister woman uses dance with attitude in classes
When Isabel Torres started dancing it was to escape. She was 6
years old and came from a home filled with problems, she said.
Dancing was her release. It was what she used to escape from that
life and embrace her feelings.
Hollister woman uses dance with attitude in classes

When Isabel Torres started dancing it was to escape. She was 6 years old and came from a home filled with problems, she said. Dancing was her release. It was what she used to escape from that life and embrace her feelings.

Three years ago, Torres, now 37, was working in home health care and making a great living, but she found herself unhappy. She was really depressed and needed a change.

“I had a desire to reach other kids,” Torres said. “I wanted to reach out to kids who were told that they wouldn’t succeed and show them you can do anything you want.”

Torres started volunteering as a hip-hop dance instructor at the YMCA and before she knew it, she had more students than she could accept.

“I had four classes at the Y and there were three waiting lists of people trying to get into classes,” Torres said.

In December she branched out on her own. She opened her own studio, Waves of Illusion, and now she teaches Latizmo dancing to girls as young as 6. Latizmo is a term that Torres created herself and it means Latin rhythm combined with style and zeal.

Torres really wants to work with kids who are coming from backgrounds similar to her own. She wants to show the kids that they do have a voice and dance can be just the outlet to express their creativity.

“I’m tired of my community getting pushed to the back of the bus,” Torres said.

Latizmo dancing is about attitude. It might combine movements from traditional hip-hop or crunk dancing, but it infuses the movements with attitude and takes them somewhere beyond, Torres said.

Students dance to the beats of modern dance music, performed by such artists as Akon, Justin Timberlake and Fergie, of the Black Eyed Peas. Some of the music the students perform to is sliced through with accents inserted by Torres, who fancies herself an amateur DJ and likes to mix her own stuff.

“I try and teach kids to recognize rhythm and to create their own style,” Torres said. “When you give kids the ability to respond to rhythm, that’s where art comes out. It creates a phenomenal illusion.”

Last year Torres’ dance classes won a grand champion trophy for being the best dance troupe in all the Bay Area. That’s quite a feat for a troupe that isn’t even two years old, but Torres has high expectations for herself and her students.

Though Torres wants to get involved with designing clothes and music and expand her dance program, there will be time for that later, she said.

For now, she focuses on the 50 students she has at her studio. She teaches Latizmo dance to her younger students and also offers classes in hip-hop for adults.

Waves of Illusion is located at 1725 San Felipe Rd., Ste. 6 Classes start at $45. Classes are one hour and fifteen minutes.

Patrick O’Donnell can be reached at [email protected]

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