Getting Into The Rhythm Of Salsa

Linda Dela Cruz
Wednesday - June 17, 2009
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Judah Oschner (front) leads (from left) Carissa Medeiros, Sunshine Oschner, Lincoln Tokita, Carlyn Perry and Natalie Talamoa in a salsa class

Judah Oschner is quick on his feet when he’s teaching people to dance to the pulsating rhythms of salsa, and that energetic spirit reflects in his company, Aloha Rhumberos, where he teaches and performs salsa and does mobile DJ work.

“Salsa keeps me sane,” he says. “This is happy music, and we need to get that across. It’s wholesome. Anyone can do it, whether you are starting to walk or can barely walk. Just last month, at the West Coast Salsa Congress in Los Angeles, there was one guy dancing with one leg and a crutch. Then he dropped his crutch and the place went wild.”

With the help of his sister Sunshine, Judah wants to return to the roots of salsa with Aloha Rhumberos, which was established in 2002. He has taught private and group lessons in venues such as Mid-Pac Country Club and the Kailua Movement Center and also has coordinated a performing troupe which uses hip-hop, capoeira and other dance styles.

“Don’t think you’re going to be on Dancing With The Stars,” he says. “Come with an open mind and you will learn about the music, the history and about the entire culture.”


In addition to running Aloha Rhumberos, Judah works as a DJ at PlayBar in Waikiki (formerly Scruples).

The Oschner siblings appreciate all the many friends, family and supporters who have helped them over the years, especially their mom, Debra, for teaching them to dance salsa, and their dad, Ron, for teaching them sports. With the guidance of their mentor Edie the Salsa Freak and many others, including Sabor Tropical Productions, Alma Latina Productions, Hawaii Hispanic News, Hispanic Center of Hawaii, Albert Torres Productions and DanceSport California - the brother and sister team look forward to giving back to the community.

Judah says one challenge they face running the business is the economy.

“We are going to give more for what little they are going to pay,” he promises.

He has represented Hawaii at the annual World Salsa Championship, in which nearly 30 countries are involved - dancing with Sunshine in 2006 in Las Vegas, and with Nathalie Ho in 2007 in Florida.

The Kailua resident says it is important to perpetuate Latin music and culture.

“I want everyone to support all Latin events - restaurants, businesses and classes,” says Judah. “We are all in the same boat.”

One of those boats he’s in is the ninth annual Hawaii Summer Salsa Festival, which he says was the result of a conversation over dinner late one night.

“Latin Lady DJ Margarita was talking about having a backyard barbecue,” he recalls. That thought developed into the celebration of El Dia de San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2001 as the yearly fundraiser for the Hispanic Center of Hawaii. A portion of the proceeds goes to Latin Lady DJ Margarita this year to help in her battle with cervical cancer. The three-day salsa event June 18-20 has food, music and includes dancing from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 20 at McCoy Pavilion. Details are at

“Anything I can do to help with salsa, I’ll do if I can,” he says.

He also assisted with the third annual Hawaii Salsa Festival back in February.

Salsa classes start in July at the Manoa Dance Studio at Manoa Marketplace. For more information, e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or log onto

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