Alborada Spanish Dance Theater at the Feria de Negocios Hispanos de Central New Jersey

Join the Alborada Spanish Dance Theater for its 20th Anniversary Concert


Alborada Spanish Dance Theater at the Feria de Negocios Hispanos de Central New Jersey

Alborada Spanish Dance Theater at the Feria de Negocios Hispanos de Central New Jersey

Join the Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre in New Jersey to celebrate its 20th Anniversary with a concert taking place on Friday, September 25 at 7:30 at the Crossroads Theatre, 7 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick.

Eva Lucena, Executive Director (ED) and Artistic Director (AD), is a principal dancer, choreographer, well-known dance historian, and teacher. She has developed and staged many new full-stage dance productions for Alborada, which provides work for NJ-based artists as well as performers in the greater Tri-State area. She choreographs and trains the ensemble, and runs the business side of the company.

Alborada’s ED has led the non-profit organization since its incorporation in 1995. Eva’s personal and artistic career travels the world and across numerous ways of expression including spending her formative years among the Gypsies in the caves of Sacromonte in Granada, being a collaborating choreographer and soloist for The Sebastian Castro Dance Company in New York, and the principal dancer for the Spanish Dance Theatre, formerly The María Alba Spanish Dance Company also in the Big Apple.

“The ‘María Alba Spanish Dance Theatre’ was the predecessor to Alborada and an integral part of the summer concerts at Jacobs Pillow in the 60’s and 70’s. María Alba was known to many aficionados as being the greatest exponent of the seguiriya and many other Spanish dance drama pieces including “Yerma” – a Garcia Lorca drama –, and the “Colombian Suite,” Claudia explains.

In 1979, the company was revitalized under the direction of María and Eva Lucena; the latter brought in a group of extraordinary new dancers and choreographers, including “Victorio” –Eva’s partner for many years. Eva and María – who passed away in 1992 –, strongly believed in bringing a broad perspective of Spanish culture and traditions to the community.

Alborada has a unique niche in that it explores the rich diversity and complexity of Spain’s interactions with other world cultures. Along the history of the Iberian Peninsula, the region has received influences from a number of traditions including Indian, Jewish, Latin American, Arabic, African-American, and Irish cultures. Their group productions include worldwide dancers, performers and musicians.

The concert promises to be an intoxicating tour of passion, art and performance by the talented members of the group. For tickets or more information, visit

Idania Woof Woof outside with dogs

Woof Woof Wouse barking loud at the #HispanicBusinessExpo2015

Idania with Bono on the Woof Woof Wouse Floor

Idania with Bono on the Woof Woof Wouse Floor


My total idol and sexiest Latino on earth –my take! – Marc Anthony –yes, I have a heart! – has been popular for saying “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Idania Escudero took this approach back in 2007 when she decided that caring for dogs and other pets was her call. The result? Woof Woof Wouse, a full-service dog hotel located in Cliffside Park, New Jersey.

“Our company offers day care, overnight and extended stay services for dogs of all breeds and sizes. This is not a typical kennel service because taking care of dogs is what we truly love to do,” said Idania to LIBizus.

With the dog care services they offer, Idania and Dayron Rendon, her Woof Woof partner, assure pet owners their dogs will never have to go into a kennel again.

Idania with Blu at Woof Woof

Idania with Blu at Woof Woof

“What sets us apart from other similar services is that we understand the stress that pets goes thru every time they need to stay in a new place. We minimize that stress by providing our dogs with a home environment. Pets are not kept in cages or restrained from roaming around. We offer lots of love in a big home with a backyard to play in. Because your pooch needs all our attention and care, we have limited capacity so planning your reservation with time is highly encouraged,” Idania said.

Idania, a veterinarian assistant and Dayron, a pet behavioral specialist, offer the most complete array of services for owners who are concerned about the well-being of their beloved creatures.

“Once a pet owner contact us for some type of stay –day care, overnight or extended–, we ‘meet and greet’ the pet to see the type of chemistry she or he has with Idania and I. We receive them in Woof Woof Wouse four-story home and large backyard where they can acclimate and become familiar with other pets,” Dayron explained.

In addition to a cage-free stay, Woof Woof Wouse offers veterinarian services in case the pet needs either emergency care or is on some sort of long term treatment; behavioral rehabilitation for those with separation anxiety or other sort of stressful behavior, and reinforcement of socialization habits among other dogs.

Idania Woof Woof outside with dogs

Idania at Woof Woof Wouse backyard with dogs

“Because this is a home environment, we do not have cameras for owners to monitor their loved ones but we do have an open house policy. We encourage them or any of their friends or relatives to visit their dogs at any time of day to see how they are doing and how we care for them. We also text owners pictures of their pet activities during the day so we have a close connections with all our clients,” Dayron continued.

Born in Jovellanos, Matanza, Cuba, Idania came with her parents to the USA in 1968 barely after she had blown her first candle.  She lived in Miami for 12 years but ended coming back to New Jersey to care for her aging parents. At that time, she realized she needed to combine her love for pets and a business idea that would allow her to stay at home.

Daryon holding Duke at Woof Woof

Dayron holding Duke at Woof Woof

Dayron is also of Cuban descend from Corralillo, Villa Clara, but he made it to the USA in 2004 through the visa lottery. His love for animals of all sorts made him the appropriate partner for Idania’s pet idea and Woof Woof Wouse was born.

“This year, we were lucky to meet Luis O De la Hoz, from the Hispanic Business Expo, and decided to participate in the event at the Pines Manor in Edison, NJ. We are proud of our venture and believe we need to show that Hispanos are innovative and proactive at creating businesses. This is a home business that allows us to enjoy what we love most doing and making a living,” Idania said.

The partners are already planning to franchise their business venture, and in the process of completing all legalities. The unique franchise will promote a different approach in many ways such as cage free, restrained free, chemical-free environment for maximum dog safety and happiness.

“We would like to attract a network of clients and their friends and family that not only trust us with their pets but also trust us in business,” Dayron said. “Please stop at our table at the Feria de Negocios Hispanos de Central New Jersey to inquiry about your pet’s stay and we will be happy to include you in our Woof Woof Wouse family,” Idania concluded.


Hair salons small business week

How beauty professionals protect their business investment

The battle to protect their business investment has become a serious concern for small business owners in the present world. From natural disasters to terrorist attacks, and from recessions to epidemics, we live in a world where risk has to be constantly managed.

Ona Diaz-Santin Celebrity Stylist at 5 Hair Salon

Ona Diaz-Santin Celebrity Stylist at 5 Hair Salon

Beauty professionals and salon business owners are not an exception. Even if you think most of these terrible events might not affect your business, as a small business owner –and I know this from my own experience–, you have to be constantly on your feet. If you do not show up, money does not show up!

Protecting their investment as well as their source of income is essential for small businesses whose families depend on them. Although beauty salons and spas are a relatively low risk business, there are always opportunities for something going wrong. A cut in an ear caused an infection or someone tripped in the salon with a hair blower cord? From these small events to major fires, flood or storm damage, they can cause great distress and also interrupt the income their family is counting on.

Ona Diaz-Santin and Luis O De la Hoz at the SHCCNJ event

Ona Diaz-Santin and Luis O De la Hoz at the SHCCNJ event

“Data shows that 92 percent of the businesses in the USA are micro-business. The importance of the beauty salon industry dominated by people from Dominican descend relies in the fact that they have created a space of opportunity for thousands of hires by these salons,” said Luis O De la Hoz, SVP Lending Team at The Intersect Fund at the event Lunch & Learn for Beauty Business Professionals organized by the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (SHCCNJ) and held at Lola’s Latin Bistro in Metuchen NJ.  “If one of every three small businesses in the nation would hire one more employee, the US would face full employment,” he said.

Carlos Medina, President of the SHCCNJ also made opening remarks, “We are more than 70,000 Latino small businesses in the state of New Jersey and we contribute more than 10 billion dollars to the state economy every year in every industry. Beauty salons and spas are just one of these industries. The SHCCNJ recently got a grant to provide technical assistance to small businesses in central New Jersey,” he said. “So keeping this wealth and opportunity coming in is essential to the prosperity of our communities.”

Present at the event was Ona Diaz-Santin, Celebrity Stylist and Creative Director at 5 Salon & Spa in Fort Lee, NJ. “As our industry grows, we have to become more aware that protecting our business is essential. Everybody at the event was eager to listen to the information and although not everybody shared about their own needs or situation, you could tell people found it informative,” she said.

Protection for this type of business is not cost-prohibiting according to Carlos J. Capellan, Agent at State Farm Insurance, the company sponsoring the event. “Dealing with chemicals or hurting someone unintentionally might be part of the picture but other unforeseen events could also happen. We also offer coverage from workers’ compensation to retirement and income replacement plans for the small business owner,” he said.

Carlos Capellan, Luis O De la Hoz, Juan Zaldivar and Carlos Medina at Lola Latin Bistro

Carlos Capellan, Luis O De la Hoz, Juan Zaldivar and Carlos Medina at Lola’s Latin Bistro

Ona was also thrilled about meeting the other 50 or 60 beauty salon owners and professionals in attendance. “This is an unusual opportunity to see them all, and I wanted to announce our beloved project, ‘Pelo! Pelo! The Film’, a documentary about Dominican-owned salons’ stories, their owners and clients,” she said.

“With our wonderful producer and director Tracy Grant, winner of the Harlem International Film Festival Mira Nair Rising Female Filmmaker Award, we are collecting interviews with celebrities and friends regarding Pelo! Pelo! The Film and their personal stories about hair, Latinas in business and Dominican salons,” she explained. “We are producing a film that reflects not only the struggles and origins of this industry but also, the success stories of those who made it with little resources, hard work and a lot of creativity. We also want to become ambassadors of our Latino culture through the world, for it is so exciting and engaging!” she concluded.

Pelo! Pelo! The Film crew conducting interviews (photo courtesy |

Pelo! Pelo! The Film crew conducting interviews (photo courtesy |

About Pelo! Pelo! The Film:

Documentarian Tracy Grant, director of “I Remain” and celebrity hair stylist Ona Diaz-Santin, create a stylish, progressive documentary film that places the spotlight squarely on the Latina female entrepreneur and immigrant.

Dominican hair salons are big business and Pelo! Pelo! (Hair! Hair!) tells the compelling stories of diverse stylists who own, work in or manage lively salons in the United States and the Dominican Republic. Narrowed down from over fifty interviews in NY, DC, MD, GA and FL, the film traces their roots and travels to the colorful, culturally rich Dominican Republic – the backdrop of the film.

La documentalista Tracy Grant, directora de “I Remain” y la estilista de celebridades Ona Diaz-Santin, crean un documental progresista que pone en el foco la mujer empresaria latina e inmigrante.

Los salones de belleza dominicanos son un gran negocio y Pelo! Pelo! narra las increíbles historias de diversos estilistas que poseen, trabajan o administran salones en los Estados Unidos y la República Dominicana. Reducido de más de cincuenta entrevistas en NY, DC, MD, Georgia y Florida, la película traza sus raíces y se desplaza a la colorida y culturalmente rica República Dominicana – el telón de fondo de la película.



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Your credit history can make or break your small business

credit history, credit reportLuis O De la Hoz, Vice President Lending Team at The Intersect Fund, addressed important issues related to access to non-traditional funding for small businesses at the Hispanic Chamber of e-Commerce Google Hangout.

De la Hoz also reminded small business owners that they can save up to $250K in their lifetime by having a good credit score. Where do these saving come from?

… saving up to $150 each month on your car payment.

…saving up to $80 each month in your car insurance.

…avoiding mandatory security deposits when opening an account for a public utility service.

…. up to $2000 in security deposit for the purchase of your cellular phone.

According to De la Hoz, microloan expert and small business advocate, there are three important elements to consider when building or maintaining your credit history:

Open at least three accounts (credit cards, car loan, mortgage, personal or small business loans, or similar) reporting to the credit bureaus that you are paying on time.

  1. Keep your revolving credit account balances below 30 percent (maximum of 50 percent)
  2. Always pay on time.

Not having a good credit record can impact your job search in some industries, complicate or impede your access to a college education, and even qualify for business loans and other small business services that are offered in the marketplace. Vendors will also look at your credit history to see if you are a reliable payer, and other organizations will rate your business credit according to your personal credit until your business is established.

Another issue that is common among Hispanic business owners is the lack of knowledge about their credit history. De la Hoz suggests that entrepreneurs and startups follow carefully their history through the credit bureaus such as Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. You can also receive one free report a year to check possible mistakes or errors.

A small business owner himself, De la Hoz’ journey as an entrepreneur made him passionate about supporting small business owners. “Latino business owners want an advisor who is specifically trained or certified in helping small businesses, speaks their language of preference, and is involved in the community,” De la Hoz said. Approximately 69 percent of Hispanic business owners looks for an advisor who is specifically certified to work with small businesses opposed to just 50 percent of general business owners looking for advice.

Six in 10 Hispanic owners say they want an advisor who can speak in their preferred language. Being involved in the community is more than twice as important (32 percent) to Hispanic owners as it is to the general market (14 percent).