By Gus Herrera
Since 1999, Laura Powell and Brandon Kwae have been teaching the art of dance to clients all throughout the San Gabriel Valley.
Not only is dancing a fun skill to learn, it also a useful confidence-booster for those parties/weddings and is a great way to exercise, meet new friends, and simply escape from the rigidity of daily life. Dance is a fun, liberating, and healthy activity/hobby for both couples and singles alike, and the Sonata Room is the perfect place to let loose – Powell and Kwae pride themselves in providing a friendly, welcoming environment for all levels of dancers.
Although the duo followed fairly different paths along their dance careers, it did not take long for Kwae and Powell to realize they shared a passion for teaching.
Kwae has always been a talented athlete – whether it was via soccer, basketball, or martial arts, he always felt most comfortable while active. Unfortunately, the stress of balancing full-time work and nights at the Kung-Fu studio eventually took a toll on his body, so he became interested in finding a less-punishing hobby.
One night, Kwae stumbled upon a Latin dance competition on TV and he suddenly found himself captivated by the grace and fluidity which the dancers exuded. From that point on, Kwae dedicated himself to the art of dance and, eventually, his relentless training introduced him to Powell, who was already fully-immersed in the dancing world (both teaching and competition).
In contrast to Kwae, Powell began her dance career at a young age – as soon as her parents (who were both dance students themselves) took her to the studio for the first time, she was instantly hooked.
At first, the duo had a student-teacher relationship, but it did not take long for Powell to recognize Kwae’s talent and commitment. They started out participating in “Pro-Am” competitions (with Powell the professional and Kwae the amateur) but, soon thereafter, they began achieving success in pro competitions – even placing third in the first LA Salsa Congress, Professional Division.
The dynamic partners, who thrived as a result of their great chemistry and mutual respect, naturally decided to go into business together and began offering private lessons. In the beginning, they operated as the “Latin Dance Pros” and taught privately wherever they could find an available space, be it a studio, church, or dance hall.
Eventually, the Latin Dance Pros decided it was time to solidify their business with a home of their own and they acquired a magnificent, 3,000 square-foot space in Arcadia, which they aptly named, the Sonata Room.
The Sonata Room offers the following classes (aside from specialized, individual lessons): Salsa, Argentine Tango, Bachata, Cha-Cha, and West Coast Swing. Classes are offered in different skill levels, throughout four-week sessions. Students can purchase classes in convenient packages: either a five-class package or season pass for the entire four-week session. They also offer a complimentary class for first-time clients.
In addition to their classes, the Sonata Room also hosts a delightful selection of weekend social dance parties, complete with snacks, refreshments, and sweet desserts – offerings include: Salsa Socials, Ballroom Parties, Tango Workshops, and much more.
The Sonata Room is located at 210 N. First St. in Arcadia. For more information, visit www.SonataRoom.com, email SonataRoom@yahoo.com, or call (626) 286-0373. Also, make sure to keep up with all of the Sonata Room’s events/classes by following them on Facebook and Instagram.