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Carnaval San Francisco 2005

QueenVanessa Mosqueda

"Everybody in this world has a story. Everybody has a contribution. We have to keep moving forward. I really believe that god is the one who guides me and helps me to go forward. I just want to be a good example to my community, I want to speak for the arts."
Queen Vanessa


Mission Cultural Center

The Mission Cultural Center is very active in planning and growing the Carnaval beyond offering dance and percussion classes. Board member Isabel Barraza, (shown above waving the time flag), executive director Jenny Rodriguez and Queen Vanessa are all active participants on the Carnaval Advisory Committee which meets monthly and as needed for committee work.




For the last 11 years she has been a well know instructor at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts (MCCLA) where she is known as a dynamic fusion latin hiphop dance teacher.

Vanessa’s smiles more easily these days. “I'm open minded. I love all men. No one yet has found me to love me and my nose and all. Have not found love yet. I had a 8 year relationship that ended 5 years ago. The breakup was hard on my spirit. Recently had closure and this has been part of my rebirth as queen and now feel alive with no baggage. I feel like I can really move forward with my life.” she says as the recently crowned Queen beginning her reign as the 2005 Carnaval season builds.

She was born and raised in the Mission, mostly by her grandparents.

“My grandma Margarita has taught me a lot of traditional dance like cha cha cha, mambo, and rumba. We would dance in circles. We did not call it salsa till I got older. I dedicated my Queen performance to her because she inspired me. What I'm doing is a dream of hers'.

"I want to live my life, stop throwing this aura,
 Let the people who want to love me, love me. “

Lola Baltan
as sung by Margarita

 She gave her life to her kids and her husband and she has always pushed me in my dance career.”
Vanessa recalls her grandmother also singing for her audience at the restaurant; “Just watching her dance and sing. She sings this ranchero, a song by Lola Baltan "I want to live my life, stop throwing this aura, Let the people who want to love me, love me. “ Vanessa dedicated her performance to her grandmother and again thanked her emotionally as she addressed the large audience cheering her coronation.

Queen Vanessa began her career as a dancer at the early age of six, dancing for patrons of her grandparent’s restaurant, Las Casulas Restaurant at the top of the hill in Daly City. Her grandpa Jesus Mos, originally from Guanajuto near Mexico City spent gave her a strong sense of the spiritual nature of the Aztec dances he taught her.
After four years of dancing at the restaurant, Vanessa took some gymnastics classes then completely stopped any sort of body work for several years till she was fifteen years old and in high school. In the eighties she did a lot of break dancing by virtue of hanging around the 26th and Army projects where the culture was a lot different with the African American and Samoan girls than in the surrounding Mission district.

The last few years Vanessa has not performed as a dancer but rather focused on her teaching, which she has been doing since 1994. She is incredibly into being the best teacher she can be. Vanessa teaches at George Moscone Elementary twice per week putting on a huge show in the Spring with students who over the course of several years become intermediate or better dancers. She is also developing a similar program Sanchez Elementary. On Saturdays you can go her Rhythm and Motion class in Glen Park. However, it is as an instructor at the Mission Cultural Center where Vanessa does her best work.


Ms Rebecca Weiser dance teacher, Queen Vannessa and Helen Echavarra student for 6 years. Costumes by Mario Chacon (King of Carnaval 1994), who, with this success, must be considered C'SF's most celebrated costume designer. faces-13.jpg

Latino Arts

Vanessa has been teaching at MCC since 1995 which is where her heart is since it reflects so much of the aspirations of the Mission community she closely identifies with.
”The center has connected me more with my indigenous side. It has allowed me to find out who I am. My choreography finds a outlet there. The kids can be so raw.” She takes their courage to want to express themselves and attempts to channel the rebellious attitude into powerful dance. ”Its courageous to want to dance; to show your heart; and show your soul. I believe everyone can dance but when you take it to another level its like WOW.” she reflects.

“So when I get these kids from 24th street its wonderful. That's why my group is called Mixtizo, because its a little bit of everything. I 'll start them on hip hop and then bring in the other elements. Its up to them to take it to the level where they find out more about their roots but I introduce a lot to them.” Queen Vanessa says.

It does not work for all but then some keep coming back years later. Part of it is they identify with Vanessa’s non-traditional upbringing where their parents are elsewhere than their home as well. It’s an anchor for them that every Friday they can go to the center and know Ms. Vanessa is going to be there and remember their names and encourage them to take it to the next level.

A new day where I could forward with my life no matter what obstacles are in my way. As you see from my movements from the video It was more about a joy of being here in the moment with my community. I have lived in the Mission all my life. I feel like I’m a product of Carnaval because it saved my life. If may sound crazy but its true. Its helped stay focused and given my an opportunity to teach. By teaching I am giving kids another way to look at life. Because not all of us can be good at academics. Some of us are able to articulate best when we talk and express ourselves with our body. The arts have helped me as a girl to channel into something I love.


 Its a blessing, when I started to dance in Carnaval back in '94 with Betho from there I met Rhoda and Low. I just really connected with Rhonda. She is a mentor for me. Something in her eyes made a connection that I have not gotten with too many others.
Alvaro Thukhili was my other important teacher, We connected because he has this energy that he creates that just so harmonious.
There’s also the people who inspired her to compete to be the Queen. In 2002 she had a student, Maria Santiago who competed and got her really involved. This was the year it was held on the dancer’s stage at ODC which is still remembered as one of the great competitions of all time. [more]

Our royal lady and worshipful goddess of the season has also worked on occasion with modern dance and Rhythm and Motion instructor Roger Dillahunty who was King with Milanda Moore in 1997. Their grace and presense as natural regal nature inspiration Roger and he was a King. Former Queen Milanda is now the force behind the Baby Brigade and their decorated strollers

Her students began suggesting she try out for Carnaval Queen in 2001, but she did not feel ready. She said to herself “ If I stop eating bread and discipline myself I will do it.” This year she finally felt like personal issues in her life were settled that she wanted a new challenge.

"Carnaval is a big deal for me. I feel like I am a product. It has same me from the bad spirits of loneliness and boredom. I believe I would be in trouble without Carnaval. I teach my students they too have a choice. They will discover this. It is not something I teach by talk but by my movements. I want to inspire people and I want people to know my story.

"Everybody in this world has a story. Everybody has a contribution. We have to keep moving forward. I really believe that god is the one who guides me and helps me to go forward. I just want to be a good example to my community, I want to speak for the arts.

"The first thing cut is always the arts but I really believe Carnaval could be so big.
There are kids that can't afford a costume. I used to buy the costumes but it has been so hard the last few years..

"I teach Salsa is like family its tradition but I teach it the way it was taught to me. I haven't really thought about taking it to the next level. My following is not ready for it. Teaching it a little and enough to get it under their armor.

"When I got to Patio Espanola, it felt like a made it to another
special day of REBIRTH.

"Paulo treats me like I am his Queen.
I really feel very positive about him."

King Paulo Silva has been in the USA from Brazil for 4 years. He came when he was just 20. 
Paulo Silva, a Goiania, Brazil native, has made his home in the Bay Area a few years ago. He is a member of the Oakland-based dance group, Aquarela Brazilian Dance Ensemble, and also performs with Kiddorama.
"Sporting a deep orange long skirt jarabe tapatío style costume, Aztec style earrings and crowned with long orange feathers, the new queen, Vanessa, grew up and still lives in the Mission District. She is the founder and choreographer of the Mixtiso Latin Hip-Hop Group. She describes her dance style as a mix of “cumbia, ranchera, salsa, hip-hop, samba and reggeaton.” She has studied ballet and modern dance. "
Carnaval San Francisco elects 2005 Royalty
By Pedro Tuyub, Apr 27, 2005
On the evening of March 26, El Patio Español was full of happy faces. The enthusiastic crowd was a mixed of languages and nationalities and colorful costumes. It was at its best a little taste of what this year’s carnaval will offer. Every beat sound stopped the buzzing. We all were waiting for the big moment: Carnaval San Francisco 2005 King and Queen Competition.
Queen of Carnaval 2001, Elizabeth Sobrantes, she who was born in Mexico. As a Chicana Queen Vanessa found her victory inspiring. Click her pic to see one competitor she was up against who won the following year or visit the Queen Elizabeth page
Rhonda Low co-director of Mara Reggae



"I feel so happy. I can cry from happiness"

said our Carnaval Queen Vanessa Mosqueda

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