This summer’s sizzling Salsa Boat Cruise was a hit as always. If you missed the boat in June, be sure to buy tickets early for the next one on July 29th!
It was a hot sunny day on June 26th, perfect weather for a boat cruise. We were pumped and excited about dancing on the water as I had attended the same cruise two summers ago and loved it. So it was no surprise when we got to Pier #29 at 4:30pm, that there was already a huge lineup for tickets and another one just to get onto the boat! Needless to say, tickets were completely sold out and many people either had to buy scalper’s tickets or were sent home.
By 5pm, when the boat cruise was supposed to start, they were still not ready to let people onto the boat. I felt the organizers were a little disorganized in this respect. Luckily, four of us from Toronto Dance Salsa were allowed onto the boat first to prepare for the beginner and intermediate lessons we were assigned to teach. By 5:30pm, a fifth of the people had boarded so we decided to start the lessons. Carolina and Karina gave the beginner lesson, and Alfred and I taught the intermediate lesson.
By 6pm most of the people were on the boat and starting to dance. By 6:30pm we were finally leaving the pier and sailing into the horizon. I must say, there is nothing quite like dancing salsa on the water with good friends, music, and a sunset. The dancefloor may be a little wobbly as the boat goes up and down with the waves, but its definitely still danceable and a lot of fun! But one quick note: Don’t bring your nice suede danceshoes on the boat as the floor is not hardwood. It can be a bit rough on your shoes if you’re spinning so wear something more durable!
Now, a little description of the River Gambler’s layout: The DJ and dancefloor was located on the top deck. Below deck was the dining area and restrooms. There was a bar on both the top and bottom deck. Both of which were doing very well that night as people were buying plenty of drinks. Dinner started around 7pm and a huge lineup began to form. There was a good selection of steak, paella or chicken accompanied with salad and pasta. I chose the paella, which was not bad for paella in Canada. The rice had plenty of flavor. Obviously it can’t compare to paella in spain! But there were lots of mussels and shrimp in it!
At around 8pm, they started the salsa competition. Eight couples came out to compete. The DJ put on a random salsa song for them to dance to and the audience decided who the top 3 couples were. Former Toronto Dance Salsa student and assistant, Alexandra Barakh and her partner Pavlo Farmakidis came in second!
By 9pm, the sun was about to set, creating a beautiful ambiance on the water. It really was a wonderful sight to see the skyline of Toronto across the water as the sunset approached. We danced until night fell and we were back at the pier again.
But the night did not end there! A group of us headed out to El Rancho afterwards for the afterparty and continued dancing the night away.
Do I recommend the Boat Cruise? I most certainly do! Especially since it happens only twice a year.
Plaza Flamingo Boat Cruise
Aboard the RIVER GAMBLER
Now Located at Pier #29
261 Queens Quay East ( East of Sherbourne St.)
Boarding at 5 PM Sails until 10 PM
TICKETS: Advance $28
At the Pier $35
Food: Advance $10
At the Pier $15
All Major Credit Cards accepted.
Fun Factor: 5
Overall: 21 (out of 25)
After the Toronto Dance Salsa Amateur Competition I suspect that the both of us suffered a slight salsa overload. You may ask, “How could that be possible that a salsa addict has had too much salsa?” Well, I guess that’s only part of our excuse, the other is that the summer weather means that our weekends are packed with activities such as heading out of the city for plenty of outdoor activities. Never fear though, as the addiction kicks back in soon enough and before you know it, we’re back into the thick of things.
Tonight we checked out Mambo Thursdays at Remys in Yorkville. Venues like Remys and Babaluu are so close to where we live that it is inexcusable for us not to be regulars. There are lessons from 8-9 and then 9-10 with social dancing starting at 10. We arrived at 9 to check out the lessons as well. The classes were lightly attended; however, Maya Belle does a good job of breaking down steps for those who are new.
Possibly due to the rain, there was not much of a turnout even at 10:30pm. The salsa crowd tends to be on the late side, so luckily we stuck around as things really started going at 11pm. The dancefloor is not the biggest of dancefloors, but very danceable. It’s basically one big wooden square, that’s neither too slippery nor too sticky. Just right for Alfred tonight and he wasn’t even wearing dance shoes. There is a great ambiance to the venue, it’s cozy with a good looking and polished crowd that fits right in with Yorkville.
There was a fantastic mix of mainly intermediate and advanced dancers with a sprinkling of beginners. In speaking to DJ Geronimo, there is a typical showing of salseros and salseras from all of Toronto’s dance schools: iFreeStyle, Mambo Mosaic, Mambo Tribe, and Toronto Dance Salsa. DJ Geronimo spins a great mix of salsa with variety in tempo and style. It would be difficult to sit/stand still when so many great songs are being played.
Maya arranges for a dance performance of varied types, and on this night there was a solo Bollywood performance. Something different but very professional and well done.
The only slight criticism was several instances where the volume was way too loud for such a small space. Other than that we had a very enjoyable time and will definitely be making Remys a regular hangout.
Mambo Thursdays – Remys Yorkville
115 Yorkville Avenue, Toronto, ON
$5 for ladies before 10:30 PM
Thursdays 10 PM (8 PM Beginner Lesson, 9 PM Intermediate Lesson)
Fun Factor: 5
Overall: 24 (out of 25)