A former Panoramic Dance Project Member and current CONTRA-TIEMPO repertory piece dancer, Daniela Patiño-Zabaleta, won big at this year’s Lulu eGames competition, NC State’s annual startup competition awarding over $100,000 to NC State entrepreneurs. Patiño-Zabaleta earned a second-place finish in the arts category and a prize of $3,000 for her startup, The Salsa Underground Experience.
The Salsa Underground Experience is Daniela Patiño’s exclusive, immersive Salsa underground party and cultural movement for “Salsa dance nerds” (or, as she calls them, “hardcore salseros”) who are obsessed with old-school Salsa and the Fania All-Stars era, and who also find great enjoyment in finding like-minded “salseros” who they can share this obsession with. The Salsa Underground Experience is the place for people who are intellectually curious not only about the movement that Salsa generates but also, the history behind Salsa music, dance and its origins in Africa, Puerto Rico and New York. Daniela is a dancer and singer, and her specialty is Latin dance and music. The Salsa Underground Experience is the intersection between her experience and her intellectual curiosity for the dance and music she grew up listening and dancing to. Through this venture, she aims to provide a space that is not only welcoming of Salsa dancing and live Salsa music but also of intellectual stimulation by building a tribe of “Salsa dance nerds” who “speak the same language” and who are well-versed in the intricate and beautiful art of Salsa.
Patiño-Zabaleta, a senior majoring in Business with an Arts Entrepreneurship minor, has been an active member of the NC State Dance Program community over the years. She has shared her passion for dance as a member of the academic dance company, Panoramic Dance Project, and a dancer in our recent CONTRA-TIEMPO repertory piece. Her success in the studio, in the NC State community and all around the world represents the dedication and versatility of NC State Dancers.