Edwin Roa

Posted by usadance on February 1, 2017

About Edwin Roa

Edwin O. Roa is a professional dancer and choreographer. He has over 18 years of experience as a dancer, and has been teaching for over 15. He became an independent teacher in 2003 when he founded Zabor Dance (his teaching method).  Since then he has actively participated in multiple dance programs, researches, workshops and shows. Currently he resides in Charlottesville VA, where he teaches partner dancing at his dance studio (The Dance Spot).

Edwin is a native of Bogotá Colombia, and came to United States in 1995. He became a full-time professional dancer in the winter of 1999 when he began his career as a performer and teacher for the Latin Ballet of Virginia in Richmond.  He was an active member of the company until the fall of 2003 when he decided to pursue his dream as an independent choreographer.  Edwin has been involved in ballroom and social dance communities since his arrival in the United States of America, but it was while working at the Latin Ballet that he became very interested in studying and showcasing the traditional views of Caribbean and South American partner dance. Thus he began researching the roots of contemporary partner dances and other ethnic dance forms.

Throughout his career, Edwin has explored various styles of dance such as ballet, Jazz, Modern, Ballroom as well as contemporary club dances, but it was his interest in music and culture that motivated him to experiment and eventually develop his own method of teaching, which he now calls “Zabor”.

Zabor is a method of teaching partner dance where as much emphasis is placed on music and culture as the technique of movement. Its name is a merging of three words: the English word “Zest” and the Spanish words “Saber” (to know) and “Sabor” (flavor). Combined, they represent the core philosophy of this method. In a nutshell Zabor is holistic exploration of partner dance, with the goal being to combine the knowledge of various techniques of movement, with the flavor of musicality and the zest that can be achieved through the connectivity and interaction with others.

Since 1997 Edwin has been involved in numerous educational programs.  Edwin is the founder of the Charlottesville Salsa Club, which has been active since 2001. In 2002, he choreographed “Rhythms of the Soul” (a play that showcased ballroom dancing and its chronological development), and more recently in 2010 he was the choreographer of “Footloose”, a regional play develop by the Charlottesville Community Theater “Live Arts” program. In 2003 he established “ETNIA”, an amateur performance group.  Edwin was also awarded first place in the 2005 theater dance division of the North Carolina Classic Dance Competition. Additionally, he participated in a research program conducted by the University of Richmond’s music department, where he had the opportunity to travel to Cuba and visit multiple cities, studying traditional Cuban music and folklore. This research eventually became a video documentary in 2009 called “Rhythm in Motion”, which is now held in the University of Richmond’s main library. In 2006, and again in 2008 Edwin traveled to Argentina, with the intention of researching the roots and the culture of Tango; recently in 2014 he traveled to Brazil, to participate in an study of Afro-Brazilian culture. Edwin is currently looking to complete his research and develop a book on the subject of partner dance.  At the moment he offers lectures and workshops in various styles of partner dance including Ballroom, theater and social dance.