DJ Spotlight: Sabrina Ramos
1. What is your partner dance background?
I started dancing salsa and merengue while growing up. I discovered lindy hop in my teens during the 90s revival and was suddenly hooked on dance. I later dove into blues, fusion, some Argentine tango, and most recently have been dancing West Coast Swing.
2. How did you discover fusion dancing?
I was dancing blues about nine or ten years ago in L.A., and some of the dances had nights when they would play “blues adjacent” music. Back then the local scene called it “turquoise” (since it was a shade of blue). I DJ’ed for one of those nights and loved the ability to play with new music. I then heard of the fusion exchanges that Ivy Grey used to organize, though I never had a chance to attend. I moved to NYC in 2013, the year Flouer started Melting Pot, and I’ve attended regularly since then. A few years ago, I started DJ’ing at Melting Pot.
3. How did you get started as a DJ?
Starting around 2004, I was DJing for lindy hop events in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. I also started DJing at house parties. After I moved to New York, I started DJing house parties (blues and fusion), then later began to DJ at Melting Pot and Friday Night Blues. I’ve also DJ’ed blues and lindy hop events when traveling to other countries.
4. What do you find to be the biggest challenge as a fusion DJ?
The biggest challenge is letting go of a personal connection to a song. If a song or style I love isn’t resonating with a dance crowd, I have to move on to what will keep the dance floor full and the dancers happy and inspired.
5. What is different about how you listen to music as a dancer vs as a DJ?
When I listen to music as a dancer, my body just moves me naturally. The most exciting music makes me feel like I can express myself the best with the movement I already know. As a DJ, I try to make sure the music can be danced by people with a varied dance background. I have to imagine that a dancer that knows bachata and blues can dance with a dancer that knows west coast swing and argentine tango. The music should be accessible enough for them to find a commonality in movement and interpretation of the music.
6. What do you love most about being a fusion DJ?
I love it when you see dancers smile or laugh or kind of “woo” when a song just hits them in the right emotional spot. To see dancers connect with each other and to know that my music choices are guiding them through that is beautiful.
7. What’s a track you’ve discovered recently that fusion dancers will love?
Purple Heart (ft. Drifting Lights) by MUTO. This song has been out a few years, but I recently discovered it, and I think it’s a hidden gem of a song that I hope gets more play for dances.