The city’s best dancers are a husband and wife team that brings down the house each night at Palazzo’s BAZ….
Ask anyone what their must-do Vegas experiences are and you’ll undoubtedly get a list of familiar answers: a romantic stroll by the fountains of Bellagio…people-watching at Mon Ami Gabi…drinks at a favorite cocktail lounge.
For this writer, no trip to Vegas is complete without a seat at the Palazzo Theater for BAZ: A Musical Mash-up. And that experience was recently taken to new heights with the addition of husband-and-wife dance team Sarah Le Clear and Alejandro Domingo.
Stunning to look at (Alejandro was featured as “Best Abs” in my column four years ago) and a revelation to see in action, this power duo exudes every aspect of power, sensuality, sophistication and the sheer stunning artistry of dance. Audiences may recognize them from nearly five years at David Saxe‘s glorious VEGAS! The Show, but BAZ has unleashed their abilities in a way rarely seen on any stage.
I recently spoke with the couple after seeing BAZ for the the 27th time (yes, really) and invited them to participate in a fun Q & A. I’m honored to say that they excitedly agreed. But before we get to that, here’s a little about them and how they came together as a professional team.
Sarah and sister Julianne were born in southern California and grew up in the Bay area of San Francisco. Their parents were college sweethearts who encouraged their daughters’ love of performance arts. So, Sarah began formal dancing classes at age five.
I started intense ballet training at a very young age at Contra Costa Ballet Centre. A very prestigious school that I took very seriously, but I knew I wanted to study all aspects of dance. This is when I started my training at Dance Connection Performing Arts Center in Concord California, under the direction and ownership of Paula Henson.
My years at the studio is when I flourished the most…I became involved in the competition aspect of the studio competing all over California through the competition season. I was so thrilled to be expanding my repertoire of styles.
Years of practice and competitions were rewarded by a Sue Pipo Memorial Dance Scholarship, and Sarah’s future in the world of dance was assured.
After graduation I auditioned to be an NBA Dancer for the Golden State Warriors and became the youngest on the team. From there I moved to LA to continue my training at EDGE Performing Arts Center.
Alejandro is from Buenos Aires. A rare combination of brains, brawn and grace, he played soccer and piano in his youth before pursuing a career in civil engineering. Despite his athletic frame and dashing looks, the Argentinian native enrolled in dance classes at the age of sixteen just to overcome shyness. By eighteen this natural talent was already touring with the salsa-heavy Latin musical Baracatun.
Many entertainers credit their parents and family for setting them on the show-business path. Ale is no exception:
My parents, Jorge and Ana, are just the best parents you could ask for. They always have supported my crazy dreams, and me, even though it meant being away from them for long periods of time. I have also a very smart and sweet little sister called Mariana, four years younger than me. I’m very proud of her and the person she is becoming.
Alejandro received a scholarship to further his dance studies in ballet, jazz, contemporary and partnering at Teatro Colón and the National Institute of Art in Buenos Aires. In 2006 he left Argentina to perform at the Chateau du Versailles in the renowned Fêtes de Nuit. After that he settled for periods in both Paris and Barcelona then continued his training throughout Europe and the United States.
In 2008 the couple met in Hollywood, Florida when both were hired as dancers and aerialists for Royal Caribbean‘s Explorer of the Seas. Rehearsing nine hours a day, six days a week can bring people very close…and so can a first date at the local Martini Bar. That was a decade ago, and the gorgeous couple has never looked back.
You might think that sharing the workplace and being together around the clock might tighten the pressure on a relationship, but for Sarah and Alejandro, their art is what brought them together and keeps them strong.
As Ale tells it:
Sarah and I met working together. Since then we have been blessed with sharing the same stage in many different productions, something quite unusual in our line of work. We have had our share of ups and downs in this crazy performers’ world.
I personally love working with Sarah because I always know that she has my best interest at heart…and I have hers. So any criticism or note we give to each other always comes from a caring and honest place and it’s intended to make the other person better.
The tense moments are very rare for us because we know how lucky we are to still be performing together. More than anything, it’s fun. A lot of hard work goes into it but it’s worth it!
I asked the couple if either of them tends to “take the lead” during their rehearsals….
We have both been “dance captains” so it depends on what we are rehearsing for, honestly. We pay attention to what the other one needs because if we are going to look and feel good on stage we both need to feel comfortable. (Alejandro)
Hahaha…I think we both want to take the lead! That’s the thing when you’re married to your dance partner…you both want to be in charge. But I think we have a very strong communication and respect for the other so we’re able to tell each other our needs as a partner. Ale is a fabulous ballroom teacher and I will say I have learned a lot from him as far as execution goes. (Sarah)
Life in Vegas has definitely agreed with the couple. Along with having a great collection of friends in the community, the two enjoy much that the city has to offer. Alejandro offered these insights:
In my free time I like reading, going to the gym and to the movies. I’m not great at cooking but do enjoy it. I always enjoy trying new restaurants and Vegas is an awesome place for that.
I don’t dance much when I’m not on stage, but I have always enjoyed salsa dancing. It’s the first style I ever learned and it’s so much fun in social settings. I’m not a nightclub kind of guy. I prefer going to a chill bar with friends and having a drink, listen to some music and have a good conversation.
I like taking Sarah out for dinner to a good restaurant and buying her nice things. I love Sinatra at the Wynn…the atmosphere and awesome background music. For a “cheat meal” I’d have to say Vege-Way…some of the most delicious vegan burgers you’ll have.
We also enjoy taking some much needed time off and going on a relaxing vacation. So far my favorite spot has been the Riviera Maya in Mexico.
Sarah enjoyed Mexico as well, but she’s partial to a different vacation destination:
Hawaii!!!!! We make an effort to spoil ourselves with nice vacations. We also love going to the M Resort pool during the summer as well as trying new restaurants on the Strip or downtown. I love cheat meals!!! Mon Ami Gabi is one of our favorites.
At my “seasoned” age I’m not much for the nightclub scene anymore…and because we perform so much we tend to enjoy our nights off with no dancing. Although the occasional line dance night at Stoney’s with my girls is always a blast. And we love catching new shows and supporting fellow performers.
I was a competitive swimmer for eleven years, so swimming is a fun hobby of mine. Fitness is a huge part as well so I enjoy the gym. And of course I have my “guilty pleasure” hobbies which include “The Real Housewives of Orange County” and “The Bachelor”, haha.
It seems that animal rescue is a common thread among cast members of BAZ. Along with Anne Martinez and Ron Remke, the Domingos have a special place in their hearts for the Vegas community’s needy animal population.
Little Milo loves his toys…
“We both love animals and support the work of amazing nonprofits like The Animal Foundation“, Ale stated. Sarah continued “I am a member of the Humane Society and like to donate to any charity that helps and aids animals..this is very important to me! We have one dog named Milo and he is our baby. He is a rescue dog and has become a part of the family!”
Speaking of family, I inquired as to where the Domingos saw themselves twenty years from now. Both hinted at the possibility of little dancers in their future.
Maybe I will go back to school and become an engineer. I’v wanted to finish that career. Hopefully we will have kids by then and we will be choreographing for Broadway, cruise ships, or another Vegas show.
Bob Fosse’s work has always been an inspiration for me. I would love to perform some of his work on stage someday. I absolutely love his style and legacy to the dance world. I would also love to work with choreographers like Jerry Mitchell, Sergio Trujillo and Andy Blankenbuehler.
Maybe we will own our own production company… Who knows? (Alejandro)
Sarah shares her partner’s admiration for the work of Bob Fosse, too:
I would love to work with Broadway choreographers or any master of “Fosse” style like Ann Reinking. Any Broadway show or tour would be a dream of mine, but I also consider myself very lucky and grateful for the career that I’ve had thus far.
The exciting thing about this question is that I just don’t know. We are gypsies and follow the work. Vegas has been incredibly good to us, but the “show” aspect of the city is changing. I do know that we will always be involved in the industry, one way or another.
And by then, maybe we’ll have our own “little performers” in the making.
It’s true that the future of production shows in Las Vegas seems rather uncertain, especially recently. The sometime-abrupt closures of long-running hits combined with many short-term failures reflects a changing landscape for Strip entertainment.
The Domingos left secure positions with VEGAS! The Show after nearly five years to join BAZ. Only a short time later, they learned that the last performance would be on July 29th, 2018.
As they prepare for an emotionally-charged final weekend with this landmark production, neither displayed any regret for coming aboard at Palazzo‘s signature musical. Instead, they’ll look back with fondness and gratitude:
This is a tough one to talk about and not get emotional. I will never forget the very first time I saw BAZ two years ago. I left the theater feeling completely overwhelmed with what I’d just experienced and witnessed. I remember thinking to myself “What an incredible show to be a part of”.
When Alejandro and I received the call with an offer we were absolutely blown away. After our time at VEGAS! The Show I was now being given the opportunity to be a part of a production that I love and admire. Words can’t really describe how I feel about being a part of the magic of BAZ…especially with Alejandro. (Sarah)
“The first time I saw BAZ”. Sarah Le Clear-Domingo
The more I think about it the more I’m convinced this was where we were meant to be at this moment in our lives and careers. It’s a memory I will forever cherish, and will always put a smile on my face.
I absolutely love the movies BAZ is based on, and have been a fan of the production since it first opened at Light in Mandalay Bay. The level of talent is incredible, and I’m fortunate enough to share it with the person I love the most, my beautiful wife.
It also allowed me to go back to my beginnings in ballroom and perform in a style that has always been so close to my heart. It’s a show that I truly believe in and that I am so proud to be a part of. There’s nothing else quite like it in the city, and I think Vegas is losing a true gem.
This show reminds people that love is the only thing really worth living for, no matter what situation life throws at you. Yes, it can cause pain, but only if you were lucky enough to truly love someone.
BAZ has real content and real entertainment. I would love for people to remember its message alongside with the talent that brought it to life: “Love is like … oxygen. Love is a many-splendored thing… Love lifts us up where we belong.” (Alejandro)
BAZ: A Musical Mash-up concludes its two-year run at Palazzo Casino Resort this weekend.
Photos: Alejandro and Sarah Le Clear-Domingo via Facebook, Nicholas Foote, Patrick Rivera, banner photo by David Brenot Photography, video courtesy of Dominick Pepe