I am at the First Chicago Salsa Congress and my 98 year-old friend Ralph says to me, "those guys are great". Now that is a great compliment from a 98 year old man that has seen it all. I turn to him and say, "those are my boys from DC representin". That night, ClaveKazi Dee Scott and Shaka Brown blazed the stage with a performance that in my opinion is still the best ever by ClaveKazi - yes, better than the Karate routine. It was a pivotal performance for a group from the DC area because I think after that people in the salsa world started taking notice of DC dancers and viewing them with respect instead of looking at us like we were country bumpkins.
I met Dee Scott in 98 when he was dancing with Sammantha Erskine at Lucky Bar. We used to do the salsa circuit together: Lucky Bar on Monday, Lulu's on Tuesday, Bravo Bravo on Wednesday, Cecelia's on Thursday and when they did not go up to New York on the weekends, we would do Chelsea's on Friday night.
Always energetic and passionate about the dance, I had no idea he would become the great dancer that he is today. Dee was always trying different moves than everyone else, and I guess that is how he developed his innovative style. (Note: do not try to copy his style - you might hurt yourself!) LOL
With his explosive shines, intricate turn patterns and ability to spin like a top, this guy draws a crowd around him every time he dances. Often misunderstood, he is very friendly and down to earth. Do not mistake his confidence for arrogance, and ladies: he does not think he is too good to ask you to dance - but everbody wants to dance with him and he cannot get to everybody.
Whether winning a contest at the MCI center, teaching or performing at a salsa congress or being featured in the Washington Post with Irene Holtzman's hair (LOL), he does it all with a passion.
Though thought to be in the notorious rumoured "On2" clique, he will dance with anybody on any count and will support everbody's events. So fellow salseros, stop hating and start participating in one of his classes - you might learn something. To all the ladies: be patient, and your name will come up on his dance card. I caught up withh Dee while he was preparing a gourmet dinner - that's right ladies: not only can he dance - he can cook too! I hope you enoy this StuckOnSalsa One on One with Dee Scott.
One on One with Dee Yosi "Roadrunner" Scott
SOS: Where are you from originally?
Dee: I was born in Washington D.C. but I've lived all up and down the East Coast. I consider myself a New Yorker, being that I spent a lot of my years there in Brooklyn but DC has always had a special place in my heart.
SOS: When did you first start dancing Salsa?
Dee: I started dancing salsa when I was about 10 years old and I'm 28 now so you can say I have been doing it for awhile. Now I didn't always dance like this. I didn't take it to this level until much later.
SOS: What is about salsa that make you love it so much?
Dee: Salsa for one can be found all over the world and there is no other dance that has that type of range. I must say its the people that I have met along the way and the ability within salsa to take it further than one can comprehend that makes me love it so much. It is a true form of self expression.
SOS: What other types of dance do you besides Mambo?
Dee: I use to be a break dancer and a poplocker, freestyle, strand, cha cha, meringue, bachata, bolero. I get my feet wet is some ballroom but it doesn't rock my boat lol. Hustle every now and then. These are just a few being that my mother was a hand dancer.
SOS: You dance just as well on1 and on2 why are most of the classes you teach mambo?
Dee: Thats a good question because I will dance on anything that anyone wants to dance on. In dealing with salsa/mambo its important to deal with the history and the roots of the music. In my classes there is a lot of information that is given on the history of salsa and I find that when teaching on 2 it is a great way to break into that information being that mambo is the grandfather and salsa is its cousin. This does not mean that one is better then the other is just where I chose to begin. One other reason is that I have taught and danced on 1 for so many years and now I'm giving equal attention to on 2 lol. I think everyone should learn both.
SOS: Whose idea was it to start ClaveKazi?
Dee: Clavekazi was the brainchild of Shaka and myself. At first it was just us 2 because we didn't think anyone would want to dance with us and now look at us lol. Who would have thought it lol. I was in the car with Rona one day and we were trying to come up with a name and I had remembered that Shaka said there was no group with the name clave in it and I was like yeah you're right. So Rona and I started thinking and I said in joke what are we going to call ourselves ClaveKazi and we started laughing and then I said you know why not it has clave in it and it describes how we are which is crazy. We think outside the box and we live that way also lol. Since that day we have stuck with that name and sometimes people say it right and other times they just slice it all up and we like it that way. Its a name of mystery and power - it's like saying Keyser Soze from Usual Suspects.
SOS: Will You ever have another partner after Sammantha Erskine?
Dee: Finding a dance partner is very hard but right now I am working with Karen Aguilar alot on projects and we are partners. Samantha and I were not just partners in the dancing sense so thats what makes it different. We dated for a couple of years so our connection was much stronger than anyone that I dance with here. She is doing very well in New York and she is now working with the Cobo Brothers Milton and James and Diana.
SOS: I am going to put you on the spot with this one, Who are you feelin on the salsa scene?
Dee: Yes you are putting me on the spot with this one lol. Its okay I'm and open book. Dating someone in the salsa scene is different for me then it is for most people. For me if I'm dating someone in the scene and it doesn't work out then that person returns back to the scene. So then you have to deal with labels as in what your motives are with people but they fail to realize that this is the only scene i'm in so I so odds are thats where I would usually meet someone. I don't do hip hop clubs that much or alot of other places because the salsa scene is where I am 95 percent of the time. There are people that I would like to get to know better but I'm not going to say any names lol. Hey, I'm open to meeting someone.
SOS: Is Jimmy Anton's your favorite place to dance and if so why?
Dee: Jimmys is one of my favorites yes. Its a place where I can really push myself to be better. Its also a place I can look to for inspiration. There is also a different level of acceptance. At Jimmys, no one smokes and they play great music and the people come there to dance, not hold up the foundation of the building all night. The ladies come prepared with dance shoes and the men do the same.
SOS: You are branded as a "On2" dancer - why is that when you dance just as well "On1"?
Dee: I don't know why that is because you are right I dance on 1 just as well as 2 and people forget that I dance with Samantha on 1 more so then I did with her on 2. I think people fear what they don't understand or even who they don't understand. There is a very negative vibe that is put out against 2 dancers but if you notice on 2 dancers don't really say anything about 1 dancers except that why do they keep getting on us about dancing on 2 lol. I think it very funny to hear you are one of those on 2 people and if we are a special breed that is born and not made. I know hundreds of people who dance on 1 and now they prefer to dance on 2 or they dance on both. If anyone has a problem with me dancing on 2 then I will dance with them on 1 or 3,4,5,6,7,8 it doesn't matter to me but be careful of what you ask for it doesn't get any easier to dance with me on 1 and you can ask Samantha about that one lol.
SOS: I hear you have mad cooking skills, would you care to elaborate?
Dee: I have had the honor of cooking for some very famous and important people. I used to be a chef at Blackies House of Beef/Lu Lus. I was a pastry chef at Goldoni which is Italian for those Italian lovers and Vivace Enoteca for which I was a chef there as well and I still cook in my spare time its just that dancing takes up most of my time now and teaching gymnastics to kids a couple of nights out of the week.
SOS: Every now and then it seems your look changes , what's up with that?
Dee: My physical appearance always changes. I believe its very important to improve or to always be evolving in some way or form and for me I do that mentality and physicaly. You never know what to expect from me.
SOS: Who are some of the people in the Salsa world who inspire you?
Dee: Some of the people that inspire me would be Eddie Torres, Frankie Martinez, Ismael Otero, Earl Rush and Troy Anthony.
SOS : Thanks for the compliment. It means a lot coming from a great dancer like yourself.
SOS: What is the State of Salsa in DC?
Dee: DC is up there when it comes to salsa. Everyone wants to make compare us to NY or Miami or LA. I don't know why because these are places that have had salsa around oh lets say FOREVER and we have only been in the game for a minute now. I say to those people let worry about our own backyard and make DC a legend in its own right. Its going to take a group effort from everyone not just a select few.
SOS: What are you plans for ClaveKazi in the future?
Dee: My future plans for Clavekazi is to expand and just take it as far as we can for as long as we can. We won't be able to dance this way forever so we have to make use of these legs while they can still dance 2 songs in a row lol.
SOS: Thanks Dee Scott for going one on one with StuckOnSalsa.