And to celebrate the Bachata Festival here are some great Bachata tracks…
Are you signed up for what looks like one of the best season of class offerings of classes at Toronto Dance Salsa? If you’ve got the Winter blues, or you just need an energetic pick-me-up, here’s a sampler of the classes that are being offered:
Need a quick fix of salsa songs? The Salsa addiction centre will be posting a few tracks each week to keep your playlists fresh and spicy!
With the entire team working hard, we’re slowly getting closer and closer to the official first performance! While an official date hasn’t been set, we’re aiming for the end of March or early April. While there’s still much to be done, I’m getting so excited (especially after seeing such amazing performances at the Salsatine Outing last weekend at Acrobat). The Pro Team has set the bar extremely high, and I can only hope that can come close when we finally hit the stage!
Did you see that Toronto Dance Salsa is offering a ‘Student Performance Class’? Trust me, if you’d like to amp up your dancing as well as have a pretty fun time doing so, then sign up. While I was nervous at first, I’m really enjoying the whole process of learning great choreography and am pretty pumped for our first show. If you’re level 3 or higher, then sign up as I’m sure that you won’t want to miss such a fun and great learning experience!
Looking forward to this Saturday’s practice.
Stay Shining Salseros!
While some would say that ‘love’ is the ‘international language’ but I would disagree. When you have an amazing beat and great melody, our bodies naturally match it with movement. Timing are our words and Musicality is our punctuation. Last week the Helpers were treated by Emely to an amazing workshop to enhance our dance vocabulary.
Teaching Timing in music is tough. While one can’t learn to be perfectly on time in an hour, last weekend’s workshop helped us all get that much closer to metronome-like precision. Using time-tested methods and some pretty creative techniques, the Helpers were not only improving their timing but expressing salsa better than they had ever before!
Having been formally educated in music theory and timing, it was impressive to see Emely’s understand of musicality, from physical expression right down to time signatures. This was shown by a fun ‘jam session’ where everyone played instruments to mimic the salsa rhythm. While you can get away with being a bit off when dancing, instruments are not forgiving.
From the jam session we all played with timing, dancing on1, on2 and even on3! I have to admit, that even with pretty solid timing, it took me some time to adjust. I have to say that it felt really cool to be able to dance on3… it’s a completely different feeling.
Speaking of feeling, our next session was all about how to feel the music better. By learning how to make our dancing match the music better (dancing softly or hard), one felt the music channelling through them. To be honest, this is my biggest beef with most dancers is that they just do the moves with the same feeling they do for every song. I’ve seen certain dancers look truly sad when they dance to songs about lost love and others who drip with sex appeal as they dance to the more racy songs.
I mean, if we are not truly expressing how music makes us feel, why are we dancing?
Thankfully for Emely’s workshop, we all learned how to better express ourselves on the dance floor with better timing, rhythm and musicality. Enjoy the workshop? Feel free to comment on your experience or if you’d like to see more of these kinds of workshops!
Stay Shining Salseros!
Last weekend TDS put on a second Dips & Tricks Workshop as the first was so popular! In true Tracie and Daniel fashion, this second workshop featured moves that were both impressive and exciting to execute! From the Tower to Repetitive Dips, everyone left feeling like a pro and had a pretty intense core workout.
Once again the main focus of the class was how to safely preform show-stopping tricks in social settings. Learning how to utilize our core muscles and proper technique, we learned a series of slick moves that not only round out the ones learned in the first session, but stand on their own. It was great to see people trying out their moves at the Sunday Social.
One of my favourite moves was to learn Daniel’s signature move. While I can’t give away the secret, I can say that it’s a very cool move that involves the leader getting down on one knee!
If you weren’t able to attend these workshops you may want to attend any future ones as eventually you’ll find yourself wanting to know how to safely dip yourself and/or your dance partner. If you want to check out the workshop again, be sure to email T.D.S. and request another one… you won’t be disappointed.
Did you take the workshop? Let me know in the comments about how you liked it.
Stay Shining Salseros!
Well the moment that I’ve been told would happen has finally come… I’m absolutely loving this whole performance experience. I must admit that throughout this whole process that I’ve been quite anxious… what if I’m not good enough… what if I can’t lead my partner… what if I forget the routine? It’s taken a while, but I’m finally over the hump and now am really enjoying the whole process.
Today was also a cool day because there was a level 1 condensed class waiting outside the door and it kind of felt like we had an audience. Being that much closer to the reality of being in front of people makes it that much sweeter. Speaking of sweet, we went over the costume situation and I’m so relieved to know that we’re not wearing any skin-tight, glittery outfits… I always think classy trump glitz.
If you are thinking about joining a performance team I highly recommend it. Maybe you’ll love it from the get-go or maybe it’ll take a little longer? Once thing is for sure, give it about 4-5 weeks and I’m sure the performance bug will hit you just like it has with me!
Stay Shining Salseros!
When asked, almost 99.9% of you would say that you love to dance Salsa because it’s so much fun…but what do you do when it no longer feels as fun? You, my friend are in a Salsa Slump.
What hurts about a slump the most is that it feels like when you get your heart broken by something you truly love. I’ve just been getting out from my first real salsa slump and I did a lot of soul searching and reading. I discovered an excellent blog based in Toronto detailing a Salsa Gigolo’s life, most importantly, his beliefs on why he was in a slump. [ Read it here ] It’s a very interesting blog that combines a Sex and the City vibe with philosophy, personal reflection as well as great humor!
It inspired me to go out and try different methods to get over this slump…
Here are some of the things that I did to get out of the slump:
Get Your Grind On:
Showing my true geeky colors, ‘Grinding’ is a term used in gaming to engage in repetitive and/or non-entertaining gameplay in order to advance your character. I started forcing myself to go out to salsa clubs and socials and dance. While I felt very disconnected and couldn’t produce very many good combos, at least I was getting exercise and at least ‘faking it till I make it’. I find that sometimes when you force yourself through it, you re-discover what you love about salsa.
I know that I just recommended to ‘grind’ your way through it, but perhaps you’re suffering from too much salsa… some would cry blasphemy but I say that burnout can happen so quickly with something as addictive as salsa. I was speaking to a renown salsa leader last night at a social and he said that to get over his slump he goes out and does anything but salsa, whether its see a few movies, go bowling or maybe a good road trip!
I think this may have been the most effective tip for me as I spent a lot of time trying to get inspired. I think I must have watched ‘This Is It’ about ten times as my main inspiration for dancing has always been Michael Jackson. His effortless movements, precision and showmanship are all it took for me to get my practicing my shines again. Other sources of inspiration? Check out Youtube for ‘Dancing With the Stars’, ’So You Think You Can Dance’ and other great dance films!
Want to see my favourite inspirational speech of all time?
If you haven’t seen ‘Any Given Sunday’, go rent it, even if you dislike sports films.
The speech Pacino gives is unreal and easily transferred to salsa (talks about steps and inches)
[ watch it here ]
Here’s another great speech which I watch when I feel like blaming others for my woes…
[ watch it here ]
Go Early to Plaza Flamingo or Babalúu’s on a Saturday Night:
I picked these two clubs because this is where people who are new to salsa go to learn and attempt to dance. Why go? Because you get to see how much fun they are having trying to figure out their basics, right turns and just dancing. Fun is contagious and you may see in these people what you once felt. Not based in Toronto? Every major city has at least one salsa club that touristas and neewbs go.
This goes along with the previous tip. Salsa is all about having fun. It’s just dancing after all. The moment you start thinking of it as a job then you’re going to start losing that loving feeling. To me it’s not the ones who are doing the biggest turn patterns, drip or tricks, but the couples who smile and laugh the most. It sounds cheesy, but honestly, it’s why we’re all here.
The best part of being a dancer is that we can always justify buying a new pair of shoes. Sometimes all it takes is going out and getting some new duds to inspire you back into your usual styling self. Don’t want to spend a bundle? Go out to Puma or American Apparel and get some wicked looking wristbands.
We all plateau from time to time so maybe it’s the right time for you to finally go get a few private lessons? I used to do this when my guitar playing would stagnate and you wouldn’t believe how much I would learn doing a quick session with a teacher who’s been in your shoes! Not sure where to start? Check out TDS’s Private Lesson info.
Happy Salsa Songs:
Here are a few songs that I’m really into right now that keep me smiling during these cold months:
Marc Anthony: Tu Amor Me Hace Bien
Celia Cruz: La Vida Es Un Carnaval
Junior Gonzalez: Lady in Red
Let Go / Feel the Force / Wu Wei:
Sometimes we have to let go of all of the things that we learn and just feel the music. When you’re truly feeling the music you’re timing will be better, you’ll style when your body feels it should and you’ll be smiling. Many of my best moments have been when I was just letting go and having fun.
Sometimes when you’re sad, you’re sad. Sometimes a tan helps, sometimes it’s Ben & Jerry’s but whatever it is, make sure that you’ve got someone there for you for support. I’ve found the Salsa Community to be made up of caring people who will be there for you when you need help.
Winter can be really hard on all of us so make sure that you’re doing what it takes to get you back to good. Hugs are awesome and I’m always down for giving them ( depending on how long I’ve been dancing/sweating, lol ).
I hope these tips help, there are probably many other great tips so feel free to comment about how you’ve dealt with your own Salsa Slumps. While I may feel like the end of the world, trust me, it will end and you’ll fall back into your salsa groove in no time. I can’t wait to see you back on the dance floor once you’re ready!
Stay Shining Salseros!