An interview with Ike “Dr. Ike” Ogbaa

Dr. Ike OgbaaJohnny: First and foremost, thank you for giving an opportunity to interview you. You have been a pertinent figure in the Houston Salsa scene for a while. For those who may not know you can you tell us how you got into salsa dancing?

Ike: I decided to pick up salsa dancing as a hobby in med school in New Jersey after seeing some great salsa dancing while on spring break in Puerto Rico and as an outlet from the rigors of school. The music reminded me of the same rhythms I used to hear as a kid playing the drums in church as a kid in Nigeria. It later became an addiction.

Johnny: You recently started your own dance company Mambo Poseido. What prompted this move?

Ike: After dancing salsa for 6 years I was beginning to get bored of going to the same clubs every week and seeing the same people all the time. I decided to take up a new challenge to make salsa fun for me again. I have always been known as a social dancer and performing is very new to me, so performing and choreography is a very fun and exciting challenge to me. I get a unique kind of high from performing on stage that is very different from social dancing. I also started my group to help further promote mambo dancing in the south.

Johnny: In addition to dancing salsa you also DJ, how did this come about?

Ike: Again it also came out of the frustration of hearing the same 15 songs at every salsa club. I am an avid latin music and video collector and there are literally thousands of great salsa songs that you never hear in clubs or performances. I felt obligated to share some of this music with fellow salsa/mambo lovers. I have been a guest DJ for the Houston Salsa Congress, South Padre Island salsa event and for various night clubs and socials inTexas. I like to play medium tempo dancers music like Tito Rodriguez, Sonora Poncena, Willie Rosario etc

Johnny: How involved are you with salsa promotions in the Houston scene?

Ike: I am very involved in salsa promotions in Houston. I am usually involved directly or indirectly in promoting most of the major salsa events in Texas. I have worked closely with Jerome Carter of United Salsa Productions to promote dancers and groups like Tropical Gem, Santo Rico, Griselle Ponce, Adolfo Indacochea etc in Houston.

Johnny: Many people that know you, may not know that you are practising Physician. Can you talk a little bit about your life outside of salsa as a doctor and your specialty?

Ike: Well I have been practising as a General Internist for about a year and half now. I work for a teaching hospital that trains residents and medical students. I enjoy practising medicine and teaching medicine because it gives me a unique sense of satisfaction and reward for helping to alleviate suffering. I also work in the emergency room 3 to 4 times a month. I was actually the official doctor for the NY and Texas Congresses in the past.

Johnny: How do you balance life as a doctor with your salsa endeavors?

Ike: Its easy, I just manage my time very efficiently and many times sacrifice sleep.

Johnny: Who are some of your favorite salsa dancers and/or performance groups?

Ike: I have so many favorite dancers/groups I know that some people will be offended for leaving them out. But a few of my favorites include Griselle Ponce, Shani from Israel/NY, Adriana from Houston, Juan Matos & Dicky Colon(favorite social dancers), Frankie Martinez (favorite choreographer), Adolfo Indacochea &Thomas Guerrero (favorite performers). My favorite groups are Hacha y Machete, Santo Rico, Xibuke (from texas).

Johnny: What can the salsa scene expect from Ike in the next 5 years?

Ike: Promoting bigger events, introducing you to different music as a DJ, and growing as a dancer.

Johnny: Any Additional Comments:

Ike: Thank you very much Johnny for this honor and I want you know that you have always been one of my inspirations as a dancer and an entepreneur. Keep up the good work. I leave everyone with this quote!

Dance is your pulse, your heartbeat, your breathing. It’s the rhythym of your life. Its the expression in time and movement, in happiness, joy, sadness and envy. –Jaques D’Amboise

Dr. Ike Ogbaa