Allegra Preuss and Sophia Kardonski dreamt of going out to dance, eat, and be themselves: free of small talk and the pressure to look and be “cool”. What followed was the creation of the first-ever supper club that starts with a guided dance party and pops up in unconventional spaces around the world: Sobremesa.
CC: So tell me about what happens when one arrives at a Sobremesa event. It’s the dancing first and then the food?
SM: Right. So, I [Sophia] have never been a person that likes dancing in front of other people, especially those I don’t know. The first time I showed up to one of Allegra’s guided dance parties, before Sobremesa, I was just going to support my friend. I got there and I was like, wait a second, I’ve never felt so good. I had never felt that comfortable around a group of people I didn’t know. You just let loose and then you’re like, Whoa, didn’t know I had this in me. And Allegra holds the space. You feel super safe, it’s a lot of fun. At Sobremesa, you have that dance experience and then you get to eat this food that’s made with the best ingredients, with so much flavor and love, and you feel this 360 degree nourishment from the inside out. You’ve already broken the ice with everyone around you and the interactions that occur are completely transformed.
CC: How does Sobremesa thrive in a world that is driven by virtual interaction?
SM: People are seeking this and yet they don’t know where to go or how to approach it. One of the things this Instagram culture feeds is the need to know everything about a person, place, thing, or event before interacting with it in-person. People want to see videos of how the dance sesh is lead, photos of the kind of food we serve, and they want to know who is going and what to wear. We want to emphasize finding comfort in discomfort and leaning into that place of “I don’t know”, because in that place there is room for personal growth. There’s nothing you need to do or be to enjoy Sobremesa, just show up with an open heart and mind. I think people don’t realize how much they are actually in need of that kind of inhibitionless interaction, and how much fun and honest enjoyment is possible when we allow ourselves to have it.
CC: Tell me about Sobremesa’s approach to food.
SM: Love is the number-one ingredient. It might sound a little cheesy (no pun intended) but we really believe that if you eat anything made with love and consume it from a place of love, you can’t go wrong. The first time I tried Sophia’s cooking was the first time I could literally taste the love in food. Coming from the professional dance world, there is so much tension about what to eat, what not to eat, and how our bodies look. Then I started to realize that it’s not just in the dance world, but everywhere. So much conflict about what is “good” food and what is “bad” food. So we decided to very simply present food in this way of like, okay, we just danced vigorously for an hour. We’re delighting in our body, and now let’s just enjoy this food. We source our ingredients locally, get creative with the recipes, and make sure not to throw away any leftovers. The whole time the food is being made, we’re in the kitchen together singing, dancing, and oozing love.
CC: How do you deal with people who are interested in Sobremesa but are too nervous to show up and let loose?
SM: Everyone’s in the same boat, no one arrives and is totally in their comfort zone. In today’s culture, everyone is so comfortable with being comfortable which makes Sobremesa all the more exciting. It’s a great Icebreaker, even for when we’ve worked with corporate groups, because we’re also acknowledging the discomfort and embracing that. During the guided dance portion, Allegra is always saying “if you feel awkward, get even more awkward”. You get to a place where you can just laugh at yourself and see the similarities amongst all these strangers. It’s also an experience in realizing that it’s not so precious. From the moment you purchase the invitation you’re already stepping into this exploration of yourself and surrendering to it. The space that is created is super safe for being with whatever comes up.
CC: Do you ask people to put their phones away during a Sobremesa?
SM: We don’t force anything. But the phones are such an easy escape. You walk into a party and if you feel awkward you can just enter this virtual world. We want people to notice and accept the tendency to escape. This creates a more conscious connection between people and oneself. Once we’ve danced and eaten, the energy of the event just moves itself. Without the phones, conversation and grooviness just flows naturally out of all of us.
CC: It’s a risk, because most people don’t feel comfortable at social gatherings unless they’re drinking a lot.
We don’t discourage drinking, either. That’s the thing. It’s just not that cool anymore to be the mysterious guy in the corner of the party smoking a cigarette or on the phone. It’s revitalizing to enjoy oneself, to be ourselves. It’s cool to let loose and be vulnerable. The idea is also that dancing and eating delicious foods can be a soulful experience but doesn’t have to be this stereotypical spiritual experience of connecting with our chakras, wearing flowy pants and being vegan. Part of the idea is that this wholesome connection with oneself and the community can be really simple, down-to-earth, accessible, and tasteful. We can dance, we can drink, we can have a really pure experience and still have a great time.
CC: What’s in the future plans for Sobremesa?
We want to keep bringing this connection to ourselves, food and community to everyone. Miami has so many spaces with the potential to host a Sobremesa and so many communities that can bond through these events. We have also done some abroad and would love to pop up wherever we can, all over the world. We also do private events and work really well with kids. Sobremesa can evolve into whatever it’s supposed to be, it’s all about exercising that trust which we’ve really lost with ourselves and other people.
Hungry for more?
Sobremesa is having their next event Saturday November, 30th at 6:30 pm at a secret location in Coconut Grove
Tickets are $50 in advance, $55 day-of, $25 for kids. Purchase them here. And check out their instagram.