“There’s no culture on Earth that doesn’t have dancing and I believe that giving people an outlet mentally, spiritually and physically to express themselves betters their life,” Vassili said.
Vassili, who goes by this single name after a family surname change made his legal name Vassili Vassili, was born and raised on the island Paros in Greece. In his younger years he loved music, dancing and theatre. By his mid 20s he decided to move from Europe to the Northwest and shortly after arriving started a band called “Children of the Revolution”.
Vassili and his band began headlining at the Paramount in Seattle, when one of his friends introduced him to a salsa team.
The salsa team became the opening act for the band.
“I thought it was the stupidest looking thing in my life,” Vassili said in regards to first seeing the salsa dances.
However, Vassili tried it out, and he said he fell in love with salsa dancing and started competing and perfecting his craft. Drawn to the way dance could make people feel empowered about themselves and their bodies, Vassili started teaching classes in the U.S. and Europe.
After teaching numerous classes to various students, Vassili opened the Seattle dance school, Salsa con Todo, in 2005, located on 34th street in Fremont.
As of late Vassili focuses on making his place one that is inclusive and down to earth when it comes to dancing.
“Dance is often looked at as something people can or can’t do. Very few people look at it as something that is learned,” Vassili said.
Salsa con Todo student Milton Moorhead first discovered the studio on the Internet. Browsing for a place to take salsa dancing, Moorhead picked Salsa con Todo and has been dancing at the studio for the past year.
“It has taught me how to not be embarrassed,” Moorhead said.
The typical group class has around 20-30 people of ages ranging from 13 and up, but the studio also provides one-on-one session as well. The instructors at Salsa con Todo encourage people of all experience level, body type, and ethnicity to sign up and give it a try. Vassili and his Salsa con Todo team focus to create a good, safe and creative place for dancers to express themselves in a positive way.
With his body hurting from years of dancing, Vassili began to focus on moving much less when it came to dance and created the dance form Oaxia.
Oaxia is a free form dance, which contains no planned steps and allows the dancer to be creative while also focusing on their partner. Vassili, is known for his minimalistic movements, which Oaxia is greatly based on.
In the future Vassili plans on touring with Oaxia as a project of health and wellness. He wants Oaxia to be something that people of any age, background or physical body type could experience and hopefully better their lives.
Another Salsa con Todo student, Ron Barrantes, has been taking classes at the studio on and off for the past year and a half.
As Barrantes has upped his classes at Salsa con Todo he says Vassili has changed his life.
“He has impacted my life tremendously, in a positive way,” Barrantes said.
Whether you have been dancing years or never stepped into a dance studio people are welcome to come and join in.
Every Friday there are beginner and intermediate level salsa dancing classes at 8:00 pm, and then following that, a beginner and intermediate Bachata class at 9:00 pm.
Following these drop-in classes is a Social Dance that everyone is welcome to join, which goes until 3:00 am.
Vassili said the Salsa con Todo team strives to leave their students with a positive experience.
“Life should be lived musically, should be lived joyfully and that’s important. Dance is an amazing outlet for getting people to do that,” Vassili said.